Free and cheap things do that don't involve tinsel or Santa
Ho, ho, ho-boy look at that bank balance! Fun things to do don’t have to bust your budget and if you can't quite to look at a boat parade or one of the many holiday happenings this weekend, here’s our look at this week’s cheap reasons to avoid that to-do list:
The hipsters at the St. Pete Shuffle, a group of 20-somethings who play shuffleboard on Friday nights with rock music pumping, have invited more than 20 local artisans to set up shop in the clubhouse Friday night and show off their stuff. So spend some time shopping for unique gifts and then pick up a pole and push a disc or two down the court with the kids. It’s free, and you can bring a cooler. It’s 7 to 10 p.m. at the Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg.
There are several reasonably priced theater options this weekend. Catch a free performance of The Wizard of Oz Puppet Show performed by Jerry Bickel of the Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave. (727) 562-4970, ext. 5236. The children's series at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center continues with The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, the story of a duck who is invited to dinner but doesn’t know she’s to be the main course. THe show is at 1 p.m. Sunday in Ferguson Hall of TPAC, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa, and tickets start at $7.50. (813) 229-7827. tbpac.org. And Ruth Eckerd Hall is offering Mooseltoe: A New Moosical about a young moose has dreams of pulling Santa’s sleigh. The show is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $8. (727) 791-7400.
If you have horse fans in your house, it's free to watch the Central Florida Hunter Jumper Association Horse Show this weekend. The hunter and jumper competitions for children and adults run through Sunday at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at Florida State Fairgrounds, Interstate 4 at U.S. 301 N, Tampa. Free. Parking free via the Orient Road entrance. See the groups web site for more.
Take advantage of the nice weather and take in some art at the Palm Harbor Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, a juried show with music, food, and a children’s area. Sales benefit the Bill and Louise Hoskins Visual Arts Scholarship Program and the St. Petersburg College Scholarship Fund. Bring unwrapped toys or non-perishable food items to be donated to Palm Harbor Food Pantry. It runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Along Florida Avenue, downtown Palm Harbor. Free. (727) 784-4287.
Tickets start at $8 for Tampa Bay Lightning games and there are two coming up. They play the Boston Bruins at 7:30 tonight (Thursday) at the St. Pete Times Forum, and the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa. Get tickets at (813) 301-6600 or here.
And here's a couple for you Mommas who need a break:
Catch a free concert on Saturday as Charlie Daniels and his friends, Confederate Railroad, Marshall Tucker Band and Bo Bice, rock the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s back lot as part of Charliepalooza. The free show is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (the back lot opens at 10 a.m.) but there are a limited number of VIP passes available for $100 that include a meet and greet with Daniels and free food and drinks in the VIP tent. Call (727) 243-8293. See www.charliepalooza.com.
This is the time of year to seek out stress relief. Take advantage of several free hatha yoga classes that will be offered each week at the Lotus Room, 1101 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. The free bending times are Mondays, 7 to 8:15 p.m. and Thursdays at 10 to 11:15 a.m. and at 7-8:15 p.m. until the end of the month. Call (813) 254-6777 or visit their web site.
It’s the first Friday, and that thin excuse is the reason there are a number of free parties to choose from. St. Pete is always hopping on the first of the month for Get Downtown and Gulfport’s First Friday Art Walk will have arts and craft vendors and live entertainment on Beach Boulevard. And in Tampa, the monthly First Friday Latin ConneXions business networking party will be a Christmas party and toy drive from 5:45 to 8:45 at the Mirage Restaurant and Lounge in Tampa, sponsored by Latin Times Magazine. There will be a free buffet and exhibit and partygoers are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy. The lounge is at 3605 W. Hillsborough Ave.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne