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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

We've got Memorial Day weekend to relax, rock and remember. We've also got a pop sensation giving a free show after the Rays game Saturday, the return of the free water ski shows in Oldsmar and more wallet-friendly ways to pass the time until school finally gets out.

avril.jpgOn one hand, Canadian Avril Lavigne has played the pop-punk princess role with panache, giving young folks a catchy, marginally rebellious soundtrack for mall loitering and boyfriend dissing (Sk8er Boi, Girlfriend, What the Hell). On the other, she’s proven herself a skilled songwriter, penning pensive ballads (Complicated, I’m With You) that even moms digs. So pop on that tank top and necktie and go together, why don’t you? All in all, the decade-long chart topper Lavigne is a big score for the Rays concert series. See her Saturday after the 4:10 p.m. game against the Cleveland Indians. Included with game ticket: or toll-free 1-888-326-7297.

There's a variety of Memorial Day events to choose from this weekend, from patriotic concerts, to veterans ceremonies to rock concerts and beach parties. Here's a complete list.

The free Water Ski Shows from the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team are back with more than 100 skiers ages 6 to 60 performing theatrical water shows like the ones we saw back in the day at Cypress Gardens (or in Go-Go’s videos). The eight-time Southern Regional championship winners are preparing for a tournament in mid-June, so come out and see what they can do at 6 p.m. Saturday at Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road in Oldsmar. See

If you'd like to expose your kids to a classic salon, check out the Our Town Conversation at the Dalí Museum tonight. Host Carol Mickett, philosopher and artist, tonight will talke with Peter Meinke, poet laureate of St. Petersburg, and celebrated illustrator Jeanne Meinke. It’s free, but call (727) 823-3767 for reservations. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served at Café Gala. The museum is at 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg.

Don’t call it a cheap date, call it enjoying the great outdoors by seeing free movies. There are several nice options this week, too. Pull up a blanket tonight at St. Petersburg’s Straub Park for the 1959 Hitchcock thriller North By Northwest starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, with music starting at 7 p.m. On Friday, Largo Central Park will have themed activities at 7 p.m. for a Doggie Date Night and the movie Alpha and Omega. Other choices are the Land O’Lakes Community Center on Saturday night (Night at the Museum) and Clearwater Beach’s Pier 60 (Lilo and Stitch on Friday and Little Fockers on Saturday). All movies start at dusk.

The Corey Sunset Celebration offers up a classic sunset on the beach on Friday, a perfect reason to play. St. Pete Beach has launched this biweekly event featuring wine tastings, shopping, dining, arts and crafts, and entertainment. Expect musicians, community drum circles, bucket drummers, fire shows, balloon twisters, jugglers and other types of performing artists. Free. 400 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. (727) 322-5217. 6-10 p.m. Friday.

Saturday’s Storytime at the Saturday Morning Market, which will be the last one of the season.  In addition to the books the Cheeky Monkey book store will be reading (More Bears! and Cloudette), there will be music provided by You and Me & Music Together and the NoiseMakers.  Gabe from the NoiseMakers will be bringing musical instruments for the children to play and a great yarn-spinner will be there with her mini loom so the children can make their own yarn. In addition you can and paint a swing to be hung in various locations around Tampa Bay. Numerous swings will be hanging around the market for kids to swing on and you can take home a swing for a donation. The market is at Progress Energy Park, 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. (727) 455-4921. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Get blissfully lost in a Sunflower Maze. A 5-acre patch of 8- to 10-foot-tall sunflowers at Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. You’ll also find hayrides, tree house explorations, veggie cannon firings, petting farm, crafts and a picnic area. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Call to check condition of field. $8.50, $4.50 age 3-11, 2 and younger free (cash only). Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. (352) 279-0977. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Watch the Tampa Bay Sentinels take on the St. Petersburg Police Department’s Green Machine in a benefit flag football game to help the families of slain officers Yaslowitz, Crawford and Baitinger. Also entertainment and a K-9 demonstration. $5, 5 and younger free. Progress Energy Park , 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7063. 1-4 p.m. Saturday.

Festivals this week

  • Brooksville Blazin’ Butts-n-Brisket Fourth Annual BBQ Competition: Featuring professional barbecue cook teams from throughout the Southeast. Also, “backyard” teams (nonprofessional) will compete for ribbons and bragging rights. Country music artist Brian Chytka will entertain. Free admission. Tom Varn Park, 306 Darby Lane, Brooksville. (352) 540-3830. 9 a.m. Saturday.
  • May-Hem: Horror fans unite at this three-day festival. Dress as your favorite horror film character and come out for meet and greets with film stars, the Screamin’ Ink Tattoo Room, a Mad Monster Party with celebrities, horror collectibles vendor area, autograph sessions, karaoke, DJ dancing, a zombie costume contest and question and answer sessions with celebrity guests. Celebrities expected to attend include Anthony Michael Hall (Edward Scissorhands/Weird Science), Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead/Army of Darkness), Greg Nicotero (Evil Dead 2/Scream), Ted Raimi (Evil Dead 2/Drag Me to Hell), the Ladies of the Evil Dead, Alex Winter (Freaked/Lost Boys), Sean Patrick Flanery (Saw 3D/Dead Zone) and many more. $30-$35 daily; $50 weekend pass; $199 VIP. If you want to spend the weekend onsite, call (407) 351-2420 and mention “Spooky Empire” or “May-Hem” for a special room rate. Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Drive, Orlando. (954) 258-7852. 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

The admission to MOSI isn't cheap, but if you do go, you get a price break Saturday with a  $5 MOSI Ride Pass
Enjoy one ride on the simulator and use of the Astronaut Training Adventure and EVAC Slide all day for $5 in addition to regular admission. $20.95 adults (13-59), $16.95 child (2-12), $18.95 seniors (60+). Member discounts available. Separate pricing for IMAX-only admission. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

The monthly family-friendly street celebration Blast Friday features entertainment, vendors, foods, family activities and contests. This portion features a concert by the Atlanta Rhythm Section on the stage outside the Historic Capitol Theatre. Free. Cleveland Street District, 433 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Toll-free 1-888-532-5278. 5:30 p.m. Friday.

As the heat takes hold, it puts a damper on the lovely weekend ritual of meandering through the outdoor community markets. But there are still some options. Here’s an update:
.     Downtown Saturday Morning Market: This is its last Saturday in Progress Energy Park in St. Petersburg before moving and condensing for the summer. Starting June 4, the market will set up under the trees in Williams Park from 8 a.m. to noon (subject to change). Expect produce (sorry, no Worden Farm organic), knishes, popsicles and jewelry.
.     Tampa Downtown Market: Last day is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in Lykes Gaslight Square Park.
.     Sweetwater Sunday Market: This organic market closes Sunday at 6942 W Comanche Ave., Tampa. Open noon to 4 p.m.
.     Tarpon Springs Farmers Market: Last day is 9 a.m. to
2 p.m. Sunday at corner of Tarpon Avenue and Alt. U.S. 19 (Pinellas Avenue).
.     Cross Roads Farmers Market: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through June 26 at Curlew Road and Belcher Road, Palm Harbor.
.     Dunedin Green Market: From 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through July 30 at Pioneer Park.
.     Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays) and Ybor City Saturday Market (9 a.m. to
1 p.m. Saturdays) are open year-round.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:47pm]


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