Free and cheap things to do with the kids -- Fourth of July edition
We’re feeling pretty patriotic, so when the bank account explodes like cheap fireworks, we have some free and cheap things to do for you, our fellow Americans.
We already told you about all the Fourth of July activities but you can never hear about them too much. So pick your favorite fireworks spot and plan on having a great time getting your red, white and blue on.
Let your kids bring something to the July 4 potluck by making a wooden picnic caddy at the Home Depot’s free kids workshops for ages 5 to 12. They supply all the materials tools and even a work apron you can take home. Just register online. They hold the workshop between 9 a.m. and noon at all Home Depot stores on Saturday.
Get Downtown, the monthly first Friday block party in downtown St. Petersburg gets hopping with killer saxophonist Stacey Knights bringing her pop-jazz sound to Central Avenue between Second and Third streets. The music and fun start at 5:30 p.m.
Not to be outdone by Nathan’s contest in Coney Island, the fifth annual Dairy Inn Hot Dog Eating Contest adds to the festivities in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Dairy Inn, 1201 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg, people will be horking down as many hot dogs as they possibly can in the 10-minute time limit. The event is a fundraiser for Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Petersburg. (They are accepting donations at the event as well as having a puppy-kissing booth.) First-place winners in each of the adult divisions get $100 cash and their name inscribed on Dairy Inn’s famous “Relish Green” belt. And all contestants will get free coupons for ice cream at the Dairy Inn.
Grab your little engineer and jet over to the Largo Central Railroad for free miniature train rides from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The railroad is at 150 Highland Ave. SE, Largo. And when your cuties tire of the train rides, just take them to the adjacent playground for a little run-around time. The train rides are free but donations are accepted for train and track maintenance. Local non-profit groups sell refreshments on site to raise money for worthy causes. Go here for more details.
Who says that fireworks are the only thing to see in the sky this weekend? At the Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Fish in the Sky teaches anyone how to draw the constellation Pisces and find it in the night sky. The course is from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Price is $5 for adults and $4 seniors and students ages 7 and older. Special admission Sundays is $2.50 for all, ages 6 and younger free. Call (727) 895-7437 for info.
After the busy weekend, you may want to chill out. Or you can check out a couple of events to get the next week started.
Here's something fun for you to do on Mondays with your kids when they are tired of being inside. Try Monday Fun Days at the Tampa History Museum. The event feature hands-on activities, crafts, performances and more. The series kicks off July 6 with "Passport 1528: European Exploration Story." Learn more about the European explorers who came to the Tampa Bay area in the 16th century, and their encounters with the first people of Florida. This is free with museum admission: Adults $12; seniors, college students and youths 13-17 $10, kids ages 4-12 $7, 3 and under, free.
Got a young thespian in the house who dreams of being on stage? Take them to the auditions for the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater Company presentation of Willy Wonka Jr., at the TECO Theater at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Auditions begin at 6 p.m. Monday. Positions are available for students grades 2-12. The young actors must prepare a one-minute memorized monologue or poem and 16 bars of a song one minute or less. Dress for movement and bring sheet music or CD accompaniment. Auditions are by appointment only at (813) 222-1002.
On July 9, you can ease some of the post-holiday weekend stress by attending the thank you party hosted by the Holy Mud Company, a St. Pete-based company specializing in mud masks. The party is planned from 6 to 10 p.m. at Get Hip Studio in Tampa and it’s open to the public. They’re giving away free swag bags to the first 10 people to arrive, and free samples all night and product demonstrations. They’re also serving mud slides and light food at the party.
Go out and make it a fun weekend and eat a slice of apple pie for us.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson