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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week



paddysday.jpgIf your kids like art, this is their week, from the very creative offerings at the Chalk Walk to the live art happening on Central Avenue to the Degas exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art. If art's not their thing, that's OK too. We've got the Garrison Channel turning green today for St. Patrick's day, free Italian ices on Sunday and an illuminated light parade next Thursday.

The first sign that something is a little different around here will be when the Garrison Channel in Tampa turns green today, with the Rough Riders throwing beads to the crowd starting at 6 p.m. in Tampa’s Channelside district. But that’s just one of many St. Patrick’s Day parties today. Check out our Things to Do section's guide here for the whole scene.

chalk.jpgWe are so looking forward to the Chalk Walk Festival in Tampa's Hyde Park. Now in its third year, this festival brings out some amazing creativity making us hope it never rains. Friday through Sunday in Old Hyde Park Village in South Tampa, some 60 sidewalk artists will create their artwork in designated squares. Food and entertainment will be scattered throughout the Hyde Park circle, and kids can get their face painted, play in the bounce house or pluck a duck from the fountain and win a prize. Free; 1622 W Snow Ave., Tampa

It’s free on Fridays to visit the Tampa Museum of Art from 4 to 8 p.m. and now that the new exhibit “Degas: Form, Movement and the Antique” has arrived for a run through June 19, it’s a good time to take them up on the deal. The museum is at 120 Gasparilla Plaza in Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. Phone: (813) 274-8130;

Train fans won't want to miss the World's Greatest Hobby Tour, a 100,000-square-foot show with more than 250 booths of giant operating model railroads. It's Saturday and Sunday at the Tampa Convention Centerm, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. This 100,000-square-foot show with more than 250 booths of giant operating model railroads will have Thomas the Tank Engine train rides, more than 100 Thomas Trains for kids to play with, seminars and workshops by experts.  Price: $10, 14 and younger free. It runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg will kick start Honda Grand Prix weekend with the Progress Energy Illuminated Night Parade and SunTrust Party in the Park at 7 p.m. Thursday (March 24). The parade will feature Grand Prix cars and the Clydesdales. Also on hand will be the 2011 Honda Grand Prix champion, Will Power, along with other racing legends and current INDY drivers. Marching bands will include the Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Band, St. Pete High School Marching Green Devils, Lakewood High School Marching Spartans, Dixie Hollins Marching Rebels and the Mt. Zion Progressive Drum Line. The parade will begin at Central Avenue and Fifth Street, travel east on Central, then head north on Second Street, then east on First Avenue , then north on Beach Drive to the end at Fifth Avenue N. After the parade, a fireworks display and Party in the Park will take place in North Straub Park. All downtown parking garages will be open to the public. Handicap parking is available on the south side of 5th Avenue N, east of Beach Drive in front of the Vinoy Marina.

This is not for little kids but teens and college kids would love this week's Outdoor Movie at Sunset Beach. Take three cool things: the beach, lasers and Pink Floyd, mix them together for a night out at Sunset Beach. Awesome sauce. Bring a chair, park it in the sand and treat yourself to the cult classic, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and a laser light show. Bricks will be sold for $1 each and participants can build a wall and break it at the movie’s conclusion. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Gates open at 8 p.m. Saturday and the show starts at 9 p.m. at Sunset Beach, 214 Shore Drive in Tarpon Springs. It’s $5 for the movie.

Check out Saturday's Live Arts on 600 Block:=. Their first live painting event was such a success last month that the 600 Block of Central Avenue, a haven for artists, has decided to make this a monthly happening. This Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., check out the artists creating art right there on the sidewalk, as well as live music and specials from the shops and galleries. Free.

For 18 years Rita’s, a Philadelphia-based franchise with 14 stores in the Tampa Bay area, has celebrated the first day of spring by giving away a regular-sized Italian ice to anyone who stopped by any of its stores from noon to 9 p.m. On Sunday they are doing it again and expect to give away more than 1 million cups. They have dozens of flavors, including cotton candy and Peeps flavor. See for locations.

Pull up a blanket for free movies at the Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 at dusk. Frida's showing is Stuart Little. Free. Pier 60
10 Pier 60 Drive , Clearwater Beach.

 Saturday at 3 p.m. is Farm Interaction Day for city kids.  Kids ages 2-16 can ride horses and interact with farm animals including rabbits, dogs, chickens, donkeys, cats and other animals. Benefits the Saddle Up Riding program for disabled kids.  Price: $2 donation appreciated; $5 horse rides; $1-$2 games and food. Saddle Up Riding Club in Pinellas Park, 6080 94th Ave., Pinellas Park, 33782. From  3 to 6 p.m.

The 19th annual Mutt Strut includes vendors, pet games, demonstrations, adoptable dogs and hundreds of participants and their pets for the mile-long strut along the Osprey Trail. The first 300 walkers with at least a $25 donation will receive a Wag Bag filled with goodies. Walk for monetary pledges. Honeymoon Island State Park, 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin. (727) 797-7722. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

At Make and Take Days, visitors can make and learn about toys and crafts from rural Florida’s history as they travel through craft areas. $7, $6 ages 6-12/seniors, 5 and younger free. Cracker Country at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. (813) 627-4225. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

For The Stars of Spring, the Planetarium at St. Petersburg College presents a show exploring the spring sky over Tampa Bay and providing views of the majestic rings of Saturn with rooftop telescopes. Children must be 5 or older to attend. Free. St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 7 and 8:15 p.m. Friday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:47pm]


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