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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



easterbasket.jpgFrom a great art show, to a dog's day out to an underwater egg hunt, our baskets are overflowing with free and cheap things to do with the kids this week.

Only in Florida, right? An Underwater Egg Hunt! One of those only-in-Florida ideas, kids will hunt for eggs and prizes in the pool at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Open swimming and water slides open afterward, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. $3. (727) 363-9264. Easter isn’t until April 24, but the Easter Bunny is busy already. For more egg hunts and look here.

Join guest Robert Hesse (Hell’s Kitchen star and chef at Pssghetti’s) and his boxer Mia at this carnival for pets and people of all ages for the Family Fun Fest and Doggie Daze. Pucker up for the doggie kissing booth, Easter bonnet pet parade, free homemade doggie treats, pet photographers and artists and a dog rescue clinic with adoptable pets. There’s also live music, a beer social, free wine tasting and food vendors. Children’s activities include a jump house, dunk tank, mini touch-a-truck and police K-9 demonstrations. Dogs must be kept on a non-retractable leash no more than 6 feet long. Free admission. It will be held on the waterfront lot next to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater. (727) 517-5446. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

wizard.jpg1939 Day at Beach Theatre brings 25 cent movies on Saturday and popcorn for a dime for Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. Later, it's 1975 Night for a $2 Rocky Horror show. The Beach Theatre is located at 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-6697,

The Mainsail Arts Festival will fill Vinoy Park with the work of more than 250 artists this weekend. There’s also kids’ art activities, music and food from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It's free and a great way to spend an afternoons strolling.

grapefruit_logo.jpgThe first grapefruit ever cultivated in Florida was in Safety Harbor in the 1840s by Odet Philippe, whose plantation is now the site of Philippe Park. To commemorate the sweet and sour treat, the city will have a Grapefruit Legacy Festival with live music, food (including a must-try frozen grapefruit margarita) and shopping on Friday night from 6 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, from 9 a.m to 10 p.m. there will be a range of family friendly activities including story time, crafts, an art show and cooking contest. It all takes place on Main Street between Bayshore Boulevard and Eighth Avenue in Safety Harbor.

At the Cook Your Butt Off Barbecue Challenge, you can enter your own pork butt recipe or just taste your way through the entries at the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement adjacent to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. There will also be tractor hayrides through the forest ($1 per ride) and kids games. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 900 31st St. S, St. Petersburg. Free parking and admission, $5 tasting wristband, $25 contest entry fee, other foods, beverages extra. To enter contest, contact Mark: (727) 433-0787.

Only in Florida, right? An Underwater Egg Hunt! One of those only-in-Florida ideas, kids will hunt for eggs and prizes in the pool at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Open swimming and water slides open afterward, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. $3. (727) 363-9264. Easter isn’t until April 24, but the Easter Bunny is busy already. For more egg hunts and look here.

Next week is also the start of Passover on Monday night. There are a number of community Sedars to go to on Monday and Tuesday nights on the first two nights of observation. And since Passover is all about family and a feast, check out this column by our food writer Laura Reiley with some terrific recipes.

For a cheap date night, check out the free standup comedy show at the Hard Rock with Dean Napolitano. As an actor, he’s had parts in Heroes and Las Vegas, but his bread and butter is as a stand-up comedian. He’s too good looking to get away with claiming he’s got love life troubles, but he does have a knack for telling funny stories about his life and growing up in his family. General admission table seating is first come, first served starting at 9 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. Show is 18 and up only.

The Bark in the Park is a day out with the dog and it's free, but if you enter a contest for things like Frisbee toss or best-dressed dog, the proceeds go toward bulletproof vests for active duty K-9 police dogs and the retired police dog medical fund. There will pet adoption agencies on hand, craft and pet vendors. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the England Brothers Bandshell Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Free, $10 per contest.

Spring is in the air and Gulfport is gonna party with live entertainment on two stages, bounce houses, children’s games, a trackless train, face painting and more at the Gulfport Spring Fest. It's free on Saturday from 10 a.m to 8 p.m.

bocce.jpgIf your amore for Italy goes beyond pasta and Gucci, you’ll feel right at home in Ybor City this weekend. The festivities start today (Thursday), leading up to the main event on Sunday:
Wines of Italy: Sample from more than 70 wines from Italy’s diverse growing regions representing varieties from Prosecco to Amarone. There will also be foods including antipasti and desserts from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Italian Club, 1731 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. $50 at door (if available). Benefits Italian Clubs Restoration Fund. (813) 248-3316.
Festa Saturday: Includes a bocce ball tournament, Italian Idol contests for adults and kids, homemade wine competition and tasting and an assortment of Italian foods with the Ybor Fresh Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa.
Festa Italiana: First there’s Sunday morning Catholic Mass at the Italian Club (10:15 a.m.) followed by a procession and walking parade to Centennial Park. Taste fine cuisine from more than 30 Tampa area restaurants and caterers. Day includes live entertainment, grape stomping, cooking demonstrations, contests, Italian costumed characters, children’s activities, amusement rides, magic shows and face painting from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $5. Centennial Park. (813) 342-3630.

Round up the kids ages 5-9 for a Bicycle Rodeo. They can learn the skills to ride safely through bicycle activities and lessons on the rules of the road. There will also be bike and helmet safety inspections. Free. Trek Bicycle Store of St. Petersburg, 3169 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 498-8655. Noon-1 p.m. Saturday.

Bring blankets or chairs to watch Family Movies in the Park in Tampa. This free outdoor movie series on a three-story inflatable screen. Friday features the movie Spy Kids. Baybridge Park, 10020 Bridgeton Drive, Tampa. Saturday features Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Come dressed as your favorite character. Land O’Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd., Land O’Lakes. And Sunday features a replay of Spy Kids at Fawn Ridge Park, 9520 Exposition Drive, Tampa. All films start about 8 p.m. For information on all three events, (813) 610-3219.

The Healthy Kids Day at YMCA is a family event that includes healthy snacks, games, a family obstacle course, healthy living activity demos and other activities at YMCA's of the Suncaost. goo to for a location near you. Free from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies on the beach. Friday features the PG-rated film Bed Time Stories. Saturday features the PG-rated film Tangled. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.

For the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival this year’s  headliner is award-winning storyteller and author Donna Washington. The festival also presents hundreds of school-aged Festival Quality Storytellers, balladeers, puppets and storybook characters. Free. Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave., Tampa. (813) 931-2106. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.



Not cheap, but worth considering

It’s the last weekend to say huzzah to the knights and faire ladies at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. The closing weekend’s festivities include a King’s Birthday celebration, beer tasting, fencing competition and a Harvest Market on the grounds of MOSI, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Price: $14.95 advance, $6.95 ages 5-12 advance; $17.95 at the gate, $14.95 seniors at the gate, $9.95 ages 5-12 at the gate; $10 per pet.

Splash Bash
Splash Bash moves into Explore A Shore bringing a mermaid on wheels, a swashbuckling pirate and a crew of entertainers. $19.95, $16.95 seniors, $14.95 ages 3-12. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000. 1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

World Passport
Kids pick up their World Passport to explore Earth. $10 ages 2-54, $9 ages 55 and older, one and younger free. Great Explorations Children’s Museum, 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 821-8992. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.


[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 4:07pm]


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