Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
From Grand Prix events, to bicycles racing through downtown Tampa to Twig, the skateboarding dog, there's lots of free and cheap fun to be had this week.
Did you check out the night parade and fireworks Thursday to kick off Grand Prix race weekend? If you missed it, you can still catch the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, right, at their stalls behind the grandstands, but you'll need a race ticket to see them. You won't need a ticket to check out the air shows, however. Look up for stunt aircraft, a skydiving team and a military flyover. There are three shows a day, Friday through Sunday. Also on Sunday, the T-28 Warbird Aerobatic Formation Demonstration Team will take to the sky during the national anthem, about 12:30 p.m.
We get a lot of pet festivals around here, but they had us at Twig, the skateboarding Sheltie. On Saturday, the Clearwater Pet Festival in downtown Clearwater's Cleveland Street district at East Avenue is getting taken over by the critters, with puppy races, a pet parade, demonstrations by K-9 teams and animal trainers, pet supply vendors and prizes. But you won’t want to miss the special appearance by Sandy Clark and Twig shredding it on his skateboard at 10:30 a.m. The festival runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.
The 11-day Chasco Fiesta kicks off today in and around Sims Park in New Port Richey opens at 5 p.m. today through April 3. It includes live entertainment nightly, a carnival, athletic contests, a flea market, arts and crafts village, special children’s activities, barbecues, food vendors and a huge street parade Saturday at 1 p.m.— all to raise money for 30 local nonprofit organizations. Free, fee for food and rides.
Have spring fever yet? At GreenFest you can find out what’s new for your garden and good for the environment at this nature and plant festival, now in its 14th year at Henry B. Plant Park, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Master gardeners and plant experts will give talks throughout both days, along with gardening demonstrations and exhibits, numerous vendors with plants, supplies and art to spruce up your garden or outdoor space. There will also be tool sharpening, kids’ activities and foodd for sale. Admission is $3, free for kids 12 and under. It runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Plant Park.
Bikes will loop around the streets of downtown Tampa for the Cigar City Criterium and Festival. The bike race, affectionately known as the “Crit,” is held on a short course over closed city streets. In this case, it starts and ends on Tampa Street in front of Lykes Gaslight Park and covers 0.8 miles with tight corners. Bikers go around and around as fast as they can for either a set time or number of laps. Some 600 bikers will compete in races all day, with the men’s pro-level race starting about 6:50 p.m. Regular folks can also experience the course themselves if they BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) and participate in the free family fun ride at 12:45 p.m. or the Urban Roll at 5:30 p.m. There’s also a festival with kids area, food and beer garden. Spectators free. Riders $10-$43. Lykes Gaslight Square Park, 410 Franklin St. (407) 256-7660. 10:30 a.m.-6:50 p.m. Saturday.
Show your kids what had you gushing at the Grease: the Sing-Along movie on Friday. Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? Come sing along with your favorite Grease tunes. $8. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. 10 p.m. Friday.
Feed the Bay is a block party with free food, crazy games, balloon animals, bounce houses, a magician and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny. Donations of non-perishable food items benefits Feed the Bay. Donation of a non-perishable food item. South Shore United Methodist Church, 11525 Big Bend Road, Riverview. (813) 677-9482. 6-9 p.m. Friday.
Celebrate Seuss and pick up your World Passport and visit Who-ville. $10, ages 2-54, $9 ages 55 and older, 1 and younger free. Great Explorations Children’s Museum, 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 821-8992. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Next week is spring break for Pinellas students, and at Spring Break Aboard the AmVic they can play on the American Victory ship during for free with the purchase of one full price adult ticket. They’ll receive a fun worksheet of items to be found on the ship. Kids are encouraged to walk the planks and other fun activities on this scavenger hunt. $10, $8 seniors/veterans, $5 12 and younger., SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 228-8766. Noon-5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday.
Welcome spring time with bike tours of trails and back woods areas at Spring Fling and A Bike Thing of the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement property. There's also a bicycle obstacle course, free safety inspections and a BMX bike ramp show. Hayrides depart every half-hour. Free. $1 hay rides. Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 2900 31st St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Trucks of all sizes and shapes will be at Touch-A-Truck in Tampa on Saturday, including the Tampa Fire Rescue engine display, “Bess” the Book Bus, city utility vehicles, Monster Trucks and a K-9 unit will be on site for everyone to touch and climb on. Benefits the Freedom Playground Foundation. $3 (suggested donation). MacFarlane Park, 1700 N MacDill Ave., Tampa. (813) 837-1878. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
See beauty on the sidewalk as well as the ground at the Bloom N Garden N Chalk Festival this weekend. Stroll Main Street as artists create sidewalk chalk masterpieces, find array of plants, flowers, herbs, garden art, birdhouses and more for sale from the Safety Harbor Garden Club at Bloom N’ Garden Festival, with workshops on identifying critters in the yard, organic composting, orchid growing; live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Safety Harbor Regional Museum and local art projects and scholarships. Free admission. Safety Harbor, Main Street between Bayshore Boulevard and Eighth Avenue. (727) 724-1572. The Bloom N Garden sale is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday only. The chalk festival is 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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