Novemberfest is back in Brandon this weekend. The annual carnival, now in its 46th year, will be held on the grounds of Nativity Catholic Church.
R.J. Brauneker, the chairman of Novemberfest, has been involved with the event for the past 42 years. Brauneker attended the event when he was a student at Nativity Catholic School. His parents were on the committee when he was a child.
“It just seemed right to pay it forward,” said Brauneker. “I’ve enjoyed it just as much as they have.”
Novemberfest has become one of the more popular carnivals in the Tampa Bay area. Thousands of visitors funnel in for the food, countless rides and musical and dance acts.
Some of the rides featured this year are the Ferris wheel, the Moon Raker and the Ring of Fire.
Eighth-graders from Nativity Catholic School enjoy hosting the event.
“Kiddie rides are the best rides,” said one of the students.
“From the top of the Ferris wheel, you can see Tampa,” said another student. “It’s really nice.”
“I’m coming back every year until I pass away,” said another one.
The event is also the church’s largest fundraiser. Kim Rice-Spencer, a volunteer at the event, said that it is about more than raising money for the church.
“For every 50 people that are not a part of parish that come out, if they don’t have a parish or a church home – maybe one will – but even if they don’t, then it’s something we’ve done not just for our parish but for our community,” she said.
Novemberfest is made possible by hundreds of volunteers, like Brauneker and Rice-Spencer, who dedicate many hours of their time to making it a reality.
For more news about the event, follow Nativity Catholic Church’s new Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Novemberfest runs from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22.