Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
The pirates invade Madeira Beach and classic cars invade Downtown Disney, offering cheap family fun this weekend. And here's more wallet-friendly things to do:
The John Levique Pirate Days festival at John’s Pass in Madeira Beach features a pirate sea battle, live entertainment, a street parade, treasure hunt, adult and children’s costume contests and more. Though admission is free, food, drink and pirate-themed merchandise are extra, with some of the proceeds going to the Fishermen Lost as Sea Memorial Fund. Free parking is available at Madeira Beach Fundamental School, with a free shuttle to John’s Pass Village. The flotilla invasion has moved to Sunday this year, setting sail at 11 a.m. from just north of the Treasure Island Bridge. The festival starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. (There’s also a gala at 7 p.m. Friday at the Hut for adults only, $15.) See the festival's website for a schedule.
Downtown Disney is pulling out the stops to promote the Cars 2 movie, which opens in June. Car Masters Weekend will have a big classic car show, and NASCAR fans can get a peek at Richard Petty’s race car. Visitors also can see the largest life-sized, radio-controlled replica cars ever built. Mater comes to life! It runs Friday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Downtown Disney, 1590 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. Free.
West Marine’s grand opening of its new 28,000-square-foot nautical supply store includes a weekend full of activities and seminars. There will be classes on Kite Fishing with George Poveromo, kids fishing clinics, Bottom Fishing Tactics with Capt. Dave Zalewski, fishing tips by Capt. C.A. Richardson and an autograph session with Mike Fourtner, at right, of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The West Marine store is at 2010 Tyrone Blvd. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-8001 .
This weekend wraps up Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week, with dozens of restaurants on the roster including Island Way Grill, Frenchy’s Cafe locations, Rusty’s Bistro, Jimmy’s Fish House and others. Foodies can explore each restaurant’s special offerings from the chefs with $15-$35 prix fixe menus. To see the complete list go to the Restaurant Week website.
Busch Garden continues its Christian Glory at the Gardens series on Saturday with the hugely popular contemporary Christian group the Sidewalk Prophets with three-time Grammy-award winner Michael W. Smith. See them at 5 p.m., included with daily admission or annual pass. Visit buschgardens.com.
Strap on those heels for a hike. All you need are fabulous pumps or heels, and matching boas and tiaras are must, then join area divas for a 1K High Heel Hike to sashay through the mall. Men have been known to show up in pumps, too. It benefits Easter Seals Florida for Autism and Autism Related Disabilities. There is no minimum, but $100 in donations encouraged. It gets started at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Westshore Plaza Mall, 250 Westshore Plaza, Tampa. (813) 764-8695.
Young athletes ages 13 to 18 can meet with experts in the fields of training, nutrition, mental focus and more at the Ryan Nece Mind and Body Clinic on Saturday. Athletes from all sports are welcome, and its free at H. B. Plant High School, 2415 S Himes Ave., Tampa. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Who cares about your bikini, let’s see what Pookums is wearing to the pooch pool. It’s dog day at the ball park on Wednesday with a pregame yappy hour including a canine beach wear contest, canine and reverse limbos, beach pails and games. Plus, you and your dog can run the bases after the game. Festivities start at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, where the Threshers take on the Charlotte Stone Crabs. $5 dogs, $5-$9 people. (727) 467-4457.
Bring blankets and chairs for a free viewing on an outdoor screen at Largo Central Park. Friday is Fairytale Night, with Disney’s Tangled. Themed activities begin at 7 p.m., screening at dusk. Free. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 586-7415. 7 p.m. Friday.
The Cotee River Seafood Festival in New Port Richey includes grouper, seafood gumbo, shrimp and crab, but also Motown and blues music, river boat tours, a boat show, kayak race and fun paddle, arts and crafts fair, kids fun zone, Corvette and classic car cruise-in and other fair food items. Free admission (food additional) in Sims Park, 6341 Bank St., New Port Richey. (727) 842-8066. 6-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Corey Sunset Celebration is Friday. Having officially been declared the “Sunset Capital of Florida” by former Gov. Charlie Crist, St. Pete Beach has launched this bi-weekly event featuring wine tastings, shopping, dining, arts and crafts and a variety of entertainment. Expect musicians, community drum circles, bucket drummers, fire shows, balloon twisters, jugglers and other types of performing artists. This portion features live blues music by the father/son blues duo Joel and Dakota. 6 p.m., Sunset Celebration Area, 400 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. Free. (727) 322-5217.
It’s hog heaven at the Rotary Pig Fest with more than 1,000 pounds of barbecue pork and chicken, competitive pig roasting, entertainment, games, classic car show, demos, bounce houses and prizes. $20 in advance; $25 at the gate; no charge for children under 12 with paid adult. St. Mark Evangelist Catholic Church, 9724 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa. (813) 295-4663. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Pirates pillage and party next Thursday to welcome back Capt. Jack Sparrrow. Ye Loyal Krewe of Samuel Bellamy invites all scalawags and scurvy dogs to join them for the Where’s the Rum Gone? party and premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It starts at 5 p.m. at Splitsville, 615 Channelside Drive, and there will be prize drawings, photos with “Capt. Jack” and silent auctions, followed by a magic show and 3D viewing of the new film. The party is free; movie $15. Call (813) 971-7732.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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