The 50th Celebration weekend was a spectacular event that will be talked about for years to come! The three-day extravaganza attracted over 3,000 people from Original Carrollwood. The diverse activities were enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. The weekend got off on the right ‘’note’’ as throngs of residents made their way down to White Sands Beach for a night of “Jazz under the Stars” organized by Barbara Koehler.

OC families and friends assembled their chairs on the beach amid the tiki torches and were captivated by melodic sounds of the USF Jazz Ensemble. Local OC resident and former Jazz professional singer Joanne Dix provided additional enchantment to the evening by joining in with the band for a few numbers.

The great music was accompanied by mouth-watering pasta and chicken compliments of Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Carrabba’s freshly prepared the entrees on site, and many of the residents went through the line numerous times to enjoy the Italian delicacies adding a special touch to an unforgettable ‘’evening under the stars.’’

Saturday morning was dedicated to the neighborhood’s greatest asset, the children of Original Carrollwood. Barbara Blanco did a phenomenal job organizing a free carnival for the kids in OC Park. The park was filled with smiling faces of kids who jumped on massive blow-ups, climbed rock walls, rode oversized tricycles, and played a variety of games. There was a face painting booth and clowns whose antics brought a bit of laughter to everyone. The event also provided free popcorn for the children and over six hours of good old-fashioned fun.

The Art Festival, wonderfully organized by Glenn Gullo, was a big hit. The various displays of art, ranging from paintings to photography, were beautifully shown in the OC Recreation Center. The Art Show was a great testimony of the amazing talent of the OC community, and it was accentuated by the smooth acoustic music provided by OC’s legendary singer/songwriter Jim Mason, who even wrote and performed a song entitled ‘’A Peaceful Paradise” to capture the essence of Original Carrollwood. Resident Tom Scallon organized a tennis tournament, and Penny Gallagly and Scott Ogle took the honor of Doubles Champions!

While the kids were having fun in the park, the adults were treated to a street festival. In the afternoon, the Rhinocubes ( provided great music from their portable DJ units. The Rhinocubes also had video games for the kids and showcased all the college football games. Neighbors and friends sat at picnic tables and socialized while sampling the great food available from a variety of vendors, which included: Ritas Italian Ice, Mr. Empanadas, Ginja Jamaican Café, The Italian Way, The youth group of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, The Country Café, Port-a-Pit BBQ, and Gino’s Italian Restaurant.

Saturday evening was another beautiful night and featured the southern rock/country sounds of Crossfire Band, arranged by Sandra Beekmann. Candlelit tables and great food and music provided the setting for a spectacular evening of fun to celebrate 50 years of a “Great American Community.”

Sunday’s 50th Anniversary reception was definitely the featured event of the weekend, as chairperson Jennifer Gregory put on a great display of OC hospitality with delightful desserts, refreshments, and the relaxing sound of the USF String Quartet. It was an afternoon filled with conversation and memories of the neighborhood that were highlighted by the OC timeline organized and created by Susie LaRoe. The timeline displayed the 50-year history of Original Carrollwood through pictures, news articles, and artifacts.

Muriel Haviland and Ruth Tallant were honored as the first residents of OC, and Matt Jetton, who had the vision to build OC and constructed most of our homes, was on hand as well. Keynote speaker Betty Castor shared her memories of our Great American Community to an appreciative audience. Upon the conclusion of the Mrs. Castor’s remarks, Mark Snellgrove and Nick Bompignano unveiled the time capsule. Jim Mason concluded the afternoon by performing his song “A Peaceful Paradise” to the delight of everyone. A special thank you to Jim Mason for writing a song that truly captured the neighborhood.

This special weekend of memories, friends, and fun was made possible by the hard work of Tracy Pimpo and her dedicated committee: Jennifer Gregory, Barbara Blanco, Nick Bompignano, Tom Scallon, Glenn Gullo, Susie LaRoe, Kathy Bompignano, Dru Albano, Keen O’Sullivan, Betsey Hapner, Sandra Beekmann, Linda Clark, Roger Beekmann, Bill Clark, Barbara Koehler, Jim Blanco, Jim Gregory, Mark Pimpo, Doug Morgan, Frank Perella, Ileana Giordano, Jennifer Berroth, Sam Difranco, and Carol Salmon. Other help came from Rich and Judy Gray as well as community leaders Mark Snellgrove and Nick Bompignano.