Upper Tampa Bay Chamber hosts Christmas in July benefit
OLDSMAR - On July 6, the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce is holding a Christmas in July event to benefit underprivileged children through its Oldsmar Holiday Sharing Fund. The event, which starts at 4 p.m., is the fourth annual Christmas in July charity softball game at Bright House Field in Clearwater. The game pits sheriff's deputies against chamber and Oldsmar city employees. The Clearwater Threshers will take on the Lakeland Flying Tigers at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and the $17.50 cost includes tickets for the softball game and the game featuring the Threshers and the Tigers. Tickets also include all you can eat from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hot Corner Café, as well as 16-ounce beers for $2. After the Threshers game, there will be a fireworks celebration. Children under 4 are free. From each ticket sold, $5 goes to the Holiday Sharing Fund. The Oldsmar fund's annual mission is to make Christmas a happy time for kids who might not otherwise have a happy holiday. The chamber has a long history of providing bikes and other gifts, funded through several events, including the Oldsmar mayor's breakfast, led by the Oldsmar and East Lake Rotary clubs as well as the chamber.The program started when the Oldsmar community deputies decided to purchase bikes for area at-risk children for Christmas and received support from local businesses. Soon, thanks to a partnership between Full Throttle Magazine and the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber, the program was born in 2009 when 20 bikes were given away. By 2011, 34 bikes were provided. For this year, Jerry Custin, president and CEO of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, said he wants an even bigger contribution. For tickets, call the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce at (813) 855-4233 or check the chamber website at www.utbchamber.com.