For 38 years, a ritual of spring
By JANE BOKUN
TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- To long-time parishioner Paul Hunter, Incarnation Catholic Church's annual carnival represents the best in his community.
"For me, it's a time to get together with friends and neighbors," said Hunter, who lives in the Villages of Bayport. "Now I have grandkids that come, and I like to take them for rides."
For this year's 38th annual Incarnation Catholic Church carnival, rides will be key. There will be more than 40 commercial grade rides, including the Himalaya, a tilt-a-whirl and a Ferris wheel. The church has contracted with Southland Amusement, a Tampa-based ride company. The festival, open to the public, offers something for everyone.
"The adults like to eat, mostly," Hunter said. And thanks to the church's ethnic diversity, food booths sell Italian, Greek, American, Philippine and Spanish delicacies, as well as soda, beer and wine.
"For $5 you can eat anything we have," Hunter said. Rides generally cost $1 to $3. Proceeds from the four-day event assist the church's drug and alcohol abuse community programs and the adjoining Incarnation Catholic School.
Last year's carnival drew more than 50,000 people and yielded more than $50,000 for the church. "We have people that come from all over the Tampa Bay area as far as Lutz, Carrollwood and beyond," Hunter said.
The festival will close with a drawing for raffle prizes that include $5,000 for first place, $1,500 for second and a one-carat diamond ring for third. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the festival for $1.
Members and nonmembers can also donate to or purchase items from a thrift shop. Volunteers are needed and welcome. For more information, call Paul Hunter at (813) 854-1171 or the church rectory at (813) 885-7861.
If you go:
Incarnation Catholic Church festival hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Thurs., 6 p.m. to midnight Friday , 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 8 p.m. on April 21.
The thrift store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The store will accept donations throughout the event.
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