By LOIS KINDLE
If you haven’t been to Hogan’s Place in Gibsonton, you haven’t discovered one of South Shore’s best-kept secrets. Located at 7023 Gibsonton Drive, it’s an event venue, farm and frequent site for all kinds of free community events.
You might call it a hidden treasure for area families, friends and the community.
The three-acre property was once owned by longtime Gibsonton residents Rita and Bernie Hogan, who loved the community and were married for 53 years before they passed away in 2020 after succumbing to COVID-19.
“My parents loved family and kids, so we created a place for weddings, family gatherings, quinceañeras and celebrations of all kinds,” said their son, Chris Hogan, who now owns the site with his family. In addition to its lush garden, open barn with vaulted ceiling, bridal suite, a stage and large dance floor, it also features farm animals and an assortment of community events, like festivals, pop-up markets, Back-to-School Bash, Easter on the Farm and twice-a-week petting zoos during the school year and five times a week during the summer.
The next Hogan’s Place event will be its 2nd Annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29. It will feature a hay maze, pumpkin patch and petting zoo; pony rides, bounce house, face painting; a cash bar and live music by singer/guitarist Ben Meyer. Food trucks and pop-up tent vendors will also be on hand, and Hogan’s wife, Stacy, will be selling her homemade mini-donuts.
Vendors will also be selling T-shirts, handmade soaps, crocheted animals (amigurumi) and more.
Admission and parking are free.
There’s no charge for the petting zoo, which will include emus, goats, sheep, ponies, llamas, a pig, chickens, ducks, tortoises and rabbits. The majority of these animals were adopted by Hogan from people who could no longer care for them.
Food for the kids to feed their favorites can be purchased for $2.
“All of the money goes back to the animals, Hogan said. “It costs $400 per week to feed them all.”
Another annual event, Easter on the Farm, will take place starting at 9 a.m. April 1 and include free Easter egg hunts at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.; Meet the Easter Bunny; face painting; pony rides; farm animals; cotton candy; a bounce house; and family photo sessions. Thousands of eggs will be purchased for the event.
“We do these events because it makes people happy and to honor my parents and what the community meant to them,” said Hogan, who opened Hogan’s Place Jan. 4, 2021. “It was a way to hide from our grief. When you see the children smiling, you know why we do this.”
Hogan’s Place also hosts three goat yoga classes on site. All are free and taught by Shirley Sullivan. Donations are accepted.
“We love the farm,” said Joelle Schmalzle, of Ruskin, as she packed up the car after visiting a recent petting zoo with her daughter, Olivia, 3. “It’s a hidden gem, a great way for families to expose their children to animals and farm life.”
For more information on Hogan’s Place or to book a wedding, dance, birthday party or other event, email firstname.lastname@example.org/, visit https://hogansplacegibsontonflorida.com/ or call 813-300-9640. You can also find Hogan’s Place on Facebook.