Free and cheap family fun
Is the state of your wallet in a deep deficit? Here’s some free and cheap things to do until it bounces back:
The quirky Kumquat Festival has caught the attention of the Travel Channel for its old-fashioned charm. Set in the rolling hills of Dade City, there’s also a farmer’s market, crafts, entertainment, quilt show and kids activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday along Meridian Avenue. And the best part is it's free. Go here for more details. www.dadecitychamber.org.
Dozens of the Tampa Bay area’s premier folk musicians perform traditional folk, gospel, country and bluegrass on stages throughout Heritage Village for the Pinellas Folk Festival . You’ll find music being played on everything from the mandolin to the fiddle to a washboard. Crafters will be on hand and you can see blacksmithing and other demonstrations. A $2 donation is suggested, 11 and younger free. Join the festival beginning at 10 a.m. at 11909 125th St. N in Largo.
It’s $5 per baby to see if he’s got power in those Pampers. At the Baby Diaper Derby, babies will compete at the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Center in Seminole on Saturday, grouped by age in a rattle race and obstacle course. Other contests include cutest smile, parent look-a-like, chubbiest cheeks and perkiest personality. Times are: Newborn- 9 months 9-10:15 a.m.; 10-18 months 10:30-11:45 a.m. at 9100 113th St. N in Seminole.
Even though the weather is supposed to be pretty wet and dreary, krewes are still lining up for the Gasparilla activities planned for this weekend. Now, the kid activities were held last weekend but the city of Tampa and the police are promising that the Tampa events will be much less rowdy. If you feel like you have to take your kids, that's up to you. But it might be a good idea to get a baby sitter and have some fun on your own. The big parade begins at 2 p.m.
The Science Center of Pinellas County has a fun event for star gazers and families at Sci-Fi and Sky Night. It includes planetarium shows from 5:30-8:30 p.m., an astronomy lecture by Professor Darryl Schrader at 7:15 p.m., a screening of the film Star Wars: The Clone Wars at 8 p.m. and telescope viewings 7:45-11:30 p.m. Register to have your name included on a microchip going to Mars in 2011. Beer and wine tastings available for a fee, pizza and beverages available for purchase 5:30-9 p.m. A donation of $3 per person requested at 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg
Touching the stuff is allowed here, kids. At the Touch a Truck and Florida Clown Day on Saturday, the kids know what to do. Little ones who typically don’t get to see the real thing up close will get to climb in all types of trucks, buses, military vehicles, semis, a Bayflite helicopter and even sit atop a motorcycle. For the clown portion of the day, there will be face painting, inflatables and train rides. Admission is free; $3 for unlimited bounce zone wristbands. The action is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. Call (727) 587-6740 or go here for more details.
Shake your booty and burn major calories at Zumba Bash IV to benefit Yele, Haiti. Exercise physiologist Gemma Hughes and guest instructors lead a 90-minute energetic Zumba session at St. Pete Beach Community Center on Saturday starting at 5 p.m., 7701 Boca Ciega Drive in St. Pete Beach. Price is $10 and kids can participate.
Remember when Baby Bird asked the steam shovel the titular question, Are You My Mother? Yeah, we loved that part too. Take the kids to see the little bird’s journey on stage when P.D. Eastman’s classic book for young readers comes to life at Ferguson Hall at David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $8.50.
And here's a head's up for you since we are planning our annual sojourn to the Florida State Fair. The Fair, which runs from Thursday to Feb. 15, will be packed with cute baby animals, rides galore and deep-fried delicacies. Rumor has it that this year the fair chefs are cutting out the middleman and just selling deep-fried butter. Can’t you hear the sound of arties clogging? If you want to go and save a little dough (but not the fried kind), hightail it to a Sweetbay Supermarket or the fair box office by Wednesday to get discount gate admission tickets ($8 ages 12 and older; $4 ages 6-11; free ages 5 and younger). You can also get discount coupon books, ride sheets and ride armbands at the box office only by Wednesday. Too bad we can’t get a discount on the elastic-waist pants we’ll need after eating our way around the fairgrounds. Call (813) 621-7821 for box office hours and more information.
Check out all the great events slated for this weekend. There's something that's bound to make you and your wallet happy.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson