Northdale Family Fun fest offers free games, food, music
NORTHDALE - Residents of this North Tampa neighborhood are urged to arrive early on April 13 and stay for lunch — and more. That’s the Saturday of the Northdale Family Fun Festival & Parade, an annual event providing something few festivals do: free everything, including lunch. A parade led by the Gaither High School Marching Band kicks off the festival. “It’s always fun, and it’s a short parade — 15, 20 minutes — but its neat,” said Ann Frisbie, president of the Northdale Civic Association, sponsor of the event with Hillsborough County’s parks department. Parade units include civic groups, the YMCA and more.Frisbie urges residents to line Northdale Boulevard along the route of the parade, which starts just before 10 a.m. on Mapledale Drive and ends at the festival in Northdale Park, 15550 Spring Pine Drive. “All the games, entertainment, food and parking, there’s no charge to the public; it’s a free lunch.” Frisbie said. Sponsors are accepted until April 12, but the 50 lined up include many that will supply food, such as Publix and Northdale’s new Whole Foods Market. Other sponsors providing edibles include McDonald’s, Sam’s Club, Smoothie King, Tanya & Matt’s Ice Cream, Beef O’Brady’s, O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill and Alex’s Southern Style Barbecue. Hillsborough County firefighters, assisted by Northdale Civic Association members, will cook 2,400 hot dogs. “Nobody should go hungry,” Frisbie said. Local musical talent will perform, and popular characters such as Plato the Dinosaur will greet children. New this year: Mobile Gaming Revolution, a large self-contained unit outfitted with the latest electronic games. “We’re excited to have them,” Frisbie said. Organizers say they hope for excellent weather and a large crowd. “It’s amazing for a four-hour festival, how many people we bring in,” Frisbie said.