Novemberfest wrapped up in Brandon with early reports showing a strong showing for a carnival that has been a deeply rooted town tradition for 43 years.
"Over 100,000 people came to these grounds over a five-day period," said Bill Ulbricht, the raffle chair, in an announcement under the big tent Nov. 12.
He noted that the event is an undertaking that is "almost year-round for a lot of people," which was attested to in a calendar marking spotted at a table in front, and to the side, of the stage. In red letters, for Nov. 13, the calendar post read: "360 days until Novemberfest 2013!"
The last day of the five-day, 2012 carnival featured a noon salute to veterans, followed by the "NovemberQue" barbecue cook-off benefiting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full-scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions. The foundation also offers immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.
Ride and food discounts were given to military men and women and their families and the salute featured students from area schools. Brandon High School's Aquilla 13 choir sang the National Anthem and later performed a selection of songs for the carnival attendees, followed by the Music Showcase Elite singers.
A full lineup of local talent was scheduled throughout the carnival, highlighted with the Novemberfest Idol contest that crowned Savanna Cummings the winner and Abby Bailey the runner-up.
- See Who Won the Novemberfest 2012 Idol Contest?
"Novemberfest is so popular people come to us and say, 'Please let us come on the stage,' " said Kathy Robinson, who with Lisa Ginaitt are the entertainment chairs. "It makes our job easy."
Robinson noted that over the course of the five-day carnival "more than 400 dancers came across the stage" and that "more than 100 singers, easily" performed as well.
Included among them were Ginaitt's three daughters.
"It's been very enjoyable [to see the Novemberfest talent]," Ginaitt said. "A lot of singers return and it's great to see how much their voices have improved. And it's the same with the dancers."
As for Novemberfest Idol, "We were blown away by the talent," Robinson said. "It's only our third year doing it and it's growing. More and more people auditioned and the level of talent is higher every year."
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Brandon Patch throughout the five-day carnival posted featuring the entertainment acts, midway views and rides and main events. One post included a video of Freak Out, a new, and popular, ride at Novemberfest this year.
Were you at Novemberfest this year? Post your reviews in the comment box below and upload your pictures as well.