With seven children and 20 grandchildren, Gretchen Robens of Valrico is always looking for safe family activities that will entertain her family.
Robens, the communications coordinator for St. Stephen Catholic Church, 10424 St. Stephen Circle, Riverview, said many of her grandchildren will join the more than 40,000 people expected to turn out for the church’s 12th annual Spring Jubilee. The event is slated for April 11-14.
“It’s going to be fun,” Robens said. “Everybody comes to this. It’s great.”
Highlights of the Spring Jubilee include food, midway carnival rides, and entertainment including talent shows. Parking and admission are free with handicap parking available. The daily entertainment of music, dance, and martial arts will be staged under the big top starting at 4 p.m. April 11 and 12 and noon April 13 and 14.
She said the nightly entertainment features local bands and artists from 8 to 11 p.m. Luna Blue is performing the nights of April 11 and 12, and Ryan Hughes and the “To be Determined Band” performs April 14.
For the grandchildren, however, Robens said it is all about the rides.
“There is such a range,” she said. “The youngest children can enjoy the smallest rides. They enjoy being together with their friends. It’s a safe environment for the whole family.”
She said the event started as a way to get the people from the parish together. As they added events through the years, it grew.
“Our primarily focus is to have fun as a community,” she said. “It’s a great open door time for us to celebrate being part of our local Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, FishHawk area. We can let people come in and enjoy it with us.”
The money raised will go to St. Stephen School and the youth programs and charities it supports.
Some of the food that will be available for purchase includes barbecue, pizza, lemonade, beer, ice cream and traditional carnival foods.
She said the event is timed every year so that it doesn’t conflict with other popular community events.
“After this cold weather it’s going to be really great,” she said. “It’s a great time before snowbirds go up north. We have always found this to be a fruitful time to have this event in the spring.”
The 9:30 a.m. Mass April 14 will be conducted under the big top. Breakfast follows, but tickets for the meal need to be bought in advance. Tickets are available at the school or parish office. Raffle tickets are also available with prizes including $2,500 cash and a 50-inch flat screen television.
For information about becoming a corporate business sponsor, call (813) 380-9310. To volunteer, register online at springjubilee.com.