Free and cheap family fun
In this first weekend of October, the Halloween activities are already in full swing. But even if you aren't ready for that, there are other events to keep you busy.
For some Halloween fun, the Pumpkin Palooza features kids' games and crafts, food, treats, live performances, a pumpkin patch, a Safety Zone and more. The event, which is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, is a fundraiser for the St. Petersburg Junior Woman's Club to support the group's charitable projects. While the event is free, tickets must be purchased for food and games. This one is great for little ones who like to play beanbag toss games, get their faces painted or do crafts. And you can't beat an autumn photo in the small pumpkin patch. Find it at the club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE, St. Petersburg.
Bats may be one of the scary symbols of Halloween but the folks at the Florida Bat Conservancy want us to know that bats are our friend. They aren't the True Blood variety but they do eat mosquitos. Conservancy members will be at the Temple Terrace Public Library, 202 Bullard Parkway, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for A Batty Children's Event to teach all about the nocturnal mammals. Registration is required so call (813) 506-6770. If you can't make it Saturday, there will be another presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Tarpon Springs Public Library, 138 E Lemon St., Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 943-4922 for more details.
Maybe we’ve watched too much Glee lately, but the former band geeks among us are excited about the Seminole Sound Spectacular, where some 25 top area and out-of-state high school marching bands will strut their stuff. It’s at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Seminole High School, 8410 131st St. N, Seminole. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 students, 5 and younger free. Call (727) 224-4974.
Billed as a “mom’s night out,” a clothing swap party aims to save families money. There will be food and drinks and goodie bags provided by local businesses. The clothes will be displayed along the studio’s ballet bars. There is no limit on how many items a participant can take home. The clothes will be displayed along the ballet bars of the Dawson Dance & Theater Academy. The children’s clothing swap takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the academy, 12615 Race Track Road. Admission is a gently used baby or child’s outfit. For more information, call (813) 814-7500.
Get your family pet out for a blessing and who knows, maybe that litter box or back yard will start cleaning itself. This weekend, there are several events around town in remembrance of the patron saint of all creatures, St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is Sunday:
• University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus: Blessing by a Franciscan friar. Entertainment includes pet contests for best dressed, best trick, and pet/owner look-alike, live music, refreshments, and more. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. 140 Seventh Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 420-8763.
• Davis Islands Dog Park: Blessing, plus pet items available for purchase. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. 1002 Severn Ave., Tampa. (813) 948-0539.
• Clam Bayou Nature Park: All creatures large and small can get blessed. Animals also get a treat and owners get a holy card and medal. 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday. South of 29th Avenue South, on Miriam Street, Gulfport. Free. (727) 323-5857.
• St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church: Service includes guitar music, individual prayer blessings and a gift for each animal. Pets must be leashed or caged. A “tail” gate pot luck picnic party follows. 5 p.m. Sunday. 502 Druid Hills Road, Temple Terrace. Donation appreciated. (813) 988-6483.
Saturday the whole family can hang out at MOSI in the morning for the Too Good for Drugs Walk & Kidfest from 8 a.m. to noon, then come back at 6 p.m. for the Hogwarts Night School Camp-In. Kids can sleep among the exhibits as the magical world of Harry Potter is brought to life with a banquet in the Great Hall, classes on potions and magic wand making. There also will be a special viewing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the IMAX Dome theater. Cost for the sleep-in is $79 parent/child team; $45 additional child; $59 parent/child member team; $35 additional member child. The camp-in ends at 9 a.m. Sunday. Both events are at MOSI, 4801 E Fowler Ave. mosi.org.
The movie titles, snacks and even the ticket prices at the Beach Theatre 1980s Weekend will flash back to the 1980s Friday through Sunday. Set out your finest ac id-washed jeans for screenings of Robocop, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rocky III, Caddyshack, Red Dawn and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There will also be a cartoon festival at 10 a.m. Saturday. See ’80s music videos between films. It’s $3 for each feature at Beach Theatre, 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. Call (727) 360-6697 or see beachtheatre.com for movie times.
Look! Up in the sky! The Triple Creek Radio Control Club, an airplane club in Riverview, is hosting a mini air show this weekend. The Triple Creek 3-D Fly-In will have planes that are 40 percent the size of an actual plane and run on gasoline, and the pilots are going to be some of the best in the Southeast. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, with $1 parking donation at 12705 Balm Boyette Road, Riverview.
With cries of “Eat my wake,” the giant boats at the Super Boat National Championship Festival can reach speeds of 200-plus mph off Clearwater Beach this weekend. Two of the tops in the business, Miss Geico and Aqua-Mania, square off in an offshore powerboat race Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. Get close enough to touch some of the boats in dry pits from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Coachman Park. There will be related events at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach including practice runs Saturday starting at noon, Coast Guard Rescue demos, live music and fireworks Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The grand finale race is slated to be broadcast this fall on the CBS Sports Spectacular TV series. There will be a trolley ($6 adults, $3 kids) running continuously from Coachman Park to Pier 60 on Saturday and Sunday. Free.
TASCO Teen Community Event features a community yard sale with more than 60 vendors, family fun activities, arts and crafts, live music and a teen barbecue cook-off. This benefits TASCO Teen Programs. Join in the fun at Crescent Lake Park, 1630 Crescent Lake Drive, St. Petersburg, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (727) 893-7813 for details.
The annual Sharktoberfest at Mote Aquarium is planned for the entire month but there are weekend specials. Children who wear their Halloween costumes to Mote on weekends throughout the month receive a free treat bag and get free admission (with a paying adult, of course). The special free admission offer is valid for one child ages 4-12 with each paying adult on Saturdays and Sundays in October. Tickets are $17 adults and $12 ages 4-12; free for Mote members and ages 3 and under. And each Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., Mote mascot Gilly the Shark will be lurking about in costume. Mote is at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. Call (941) 388-4441 for details.
And Mommas, here's an event where you can do some good and get a little something in return. This weekend at Stein Mart's Give & Receive event, you can take in gently used clothing to receive up to four coupons good for 20 percent off any one item at the store. The event runs through Sunday. Find a store near you.
There's plenty to do this weekend as the busy events season heats up. Get up, go out and play.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson