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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



glazer.jpgUPDATE: Because of the weather forecasts for the weekend, the Erase the Hate Festival Saturday has been postponed and the Brandon Skate Park Grand opening is postponed

The deals are rolling in, and not just on wheels like the free admission the rest of this month at t a new skatepark. We've got Earth Day, dogs at the ballpark, an orchestra on the beach and a baby show that wants to break a Guinness world record for diaper changing. Read on for family friendly deals.

At long last, Brandon is rolling! Though Saturday's Brandon Skate Parkis Grand Opening has been canceled Saturday because of inclemente weather, we are told that it will happen sometime in May. In the meantime, if the weather cooperates the park will be open and skating will be FREE all summer. Thisis the long-awaited opening of the 11,000-square-foot “obstacle street and bowl” skate park for the Brandon area. Starting int he fall,  fees will be $4 per day, with an annual skate park pass available for $150. All skaters must wear a helmet. Free. Brandon Skate Park, 5720 Providence Road, Riverview.

It's a dog day Sunday for Bark at the Ball Park. Trade your mitt for your mutt at Sunday’s Bark at the Ball Park gathering at Bright House Field.  The Clearwater Threshers will be hosting the Dunedin Blue Jays, but the real action will be in the stands and the grassy berm in the outfield, where dogs get their day. Adoptable pets will be on hand, and there is the infamous pet/owner look-alike contest. Best of all, when the game’s over, you can run the bases with your best friend. Tickets are $5-$9.50 for humans and $5 for dogs. (Sorry, Fido, there’s no student or puppy discount.) But funds will benefit the Humane Society of Pinellas, so wag your tail appropriately. It’s 1 p.m. Sunday at 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. (727) 467-4457.

POSTPONED (All VIP passes will be honored on future date when it is determined) Brandi Carlile and Miggs will perform at the Erase Hate Festival, from noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa.  Twice since 2010, Brandi Carlile has played the 500-seat Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Both times, the show sold out well in advance. Carlile will trade intimate for sprawling on Saturday, when she headlines the Erase Hate Festival, a public kickoff concert for Erase Hate Tampa Bay, at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa. The nonprofit aims to educate students on  tolerance — bullying, racism, gangs, homophobia — through after-school programs and other activities such as rock climbing, face painting, food by MacDinton’s and adult beverages. Saturday’s concert is free, but donations and VIP ticket sales will benefit the charity. The music begins at 5:30 p.m.; Carlile will go on around 8. Free; VIP tickets $75. For info, see

Earth Day is Sunday and there's lots of Earth Day activities around the Tampa Bay area this weekend, including a parade in Dunedin and a wildlife safari in Tarpon Springs.

Kids Toolbox, the new store in Clearwater that stocks materials for kids with autism, attention-deficit disorder and other special needs, will hold a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 1550 McMullen-Booth Road, Suite F5, Clearwater. There will be promotions and prizes, including a free stay at the TradeWinds, one of the few area hotels with autism-friendly accommodations such as special menus, safety kits for the room and sensory activities. Owners ask that you bring a nonperishable food item for local food pantries.

The annual Beach Goes Pops festival turns the white sand of Pass-a-Grille into a concert hall and dance party. Radio personality Jack Harris will be the master of ceremonies, and things kick off at 4 p.m. Friday with the Beach Goes Pops band, followed by the world beats of Hip Abduction and Big Brother. On Saturday, steel drum music starts things off at 4 p.m., then saxophonist Jeff Zavac and the St. Petersburg Opera Company will provide a special musical program starting at 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or a chair. In addition to free music, there’s an arts and crafts show, food and drinks from numerous area restaurants. Free.

Somehow we think Dalí would have appreciated the surreal Tim Burton comedy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, about the eccentric man-child and his colorful friends. It’s part of the free Dalí and Beyond Film Series at 6 tonight (Thursday), held twice monthly in the museum’s lobby theater. You can also shop or check out the cafe until 8 p.m. If you want to see the gallery, there’s a price break. Admission to the museum is $10 from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday night. Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE). Free.

Have a kid in piano lessons? Take them to see Peter Malinverni. Considered one of New York’s great jazz pianists, Malinverni’s CDs have been chosen for many year-end “best” lists by music writers. While he has played Carnegie Hall and accompanied Elvis Costello, he also serves as minister of music at the Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, a predominantly African-American congregation. Eckerd College is hosting him for a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Roberts Music Center, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free.

Moms of girls, make some time to check out the free talk by Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, and a contributing editor to the New Yorker, offers a powerful critique of the “raunch culture” and the commercialization of women’s bodies and sexuality in American society. She is giving a free talk at Eckerd College at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Fox Hall, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

The Tampa Bay Baby Show features 45 vendors selling baby related products, a diaper derby, stroller wash and hourly prizes. The highlight of the day is the promotion of cloth diaper use and an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for simultaneous cloth diaper changes (noon). Currently 262 locations around the globe have 6,550 babies signed up. The number to beat is 5,026. $10 ages 2-54, $9 ages 55 and older, one and younger free (Baby Show); Free (diaper change participants). Great Explorations Children’s Museum, 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 631-7014. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Nickelodeon’s popular preschool music group The Fresh Beat Band will perform hits from seasons one, two and three of their live-action music series that teaches preschoolers about music appreciation. $29-$46. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. 7 p.m. today (Thursday).

Other family event this week include:

Ultimate Frisbee Clinic
Kids ages 11-18 are invited to learn about the sport of Ultimate Frisbee.  Clinic participants receive a free disc, hands on instruction on throwing a disc and watch an exhibition game. Free (registration required). Puryear Park, 5701 Lee St NE
St. Petersburg. 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
BrushBot Building Workshop
Kids in grades 2-6 explore robotic motion, electronics and how robots can make their lives easier. $25, $20 members. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.
CO2 Dragster Racing Workshop
Kids in grades 5-8 can design, build and race their own mini dragster powered with high-pressure CO2. $40, $30 members. Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 1-5 p.m. Saturday.
Family Art Night
Families can get together for pizza, art and a movie about the “Artist of the Night.” This month features painter and sculpture Dorothy Gillespie. $40 (two kids and two adults); $5 additional child. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 6-8:30 p.m. Friday.
Graff-Street Art
As an individual and in a group, kids ages 10-16 will explore the elements of graffiti style, sketching walls, bricks to pixels, tape art, history and use of tools. Sessions focus on the early hip-hop culture. $25. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 1-4 p.m. Saturday.
Hooked on Fishing
A kid’s fishing tournament with prizes for fun categories including biggest fish, smallest fish and ugliest fish. Light refreshments and first round of bait provided. $5. Merry Pier, 801 Pass a Grille Way, St. Petersburg. (727) 363-9245. 9-11 a.m. Saturday.
Keith Munslow
Munslow looks at real-life experiences of kids and families with humor in this interactive show featuring fun, funky music and stories. $8. Ruth Eckerd Hall Murray Studio Theater, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Kid Crafternoons
Kids ages 6-12 will learn basic design principles and hands on art methods while receiving some teacher direction for crafty creativity in this “design it” yourself activity. $25. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 1-4 p.m. Friday.
Northdale Family Fun Festival and Parade
The Gaither High School marching band leads the parade from the school into the park where a festival takes place including food samples, railroad displays, live entertainment, games and face painting. Free. Northdale Park, 15550 Spring Pine Drive, Tampa. (813) 968-8460. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Once Upon a Mattress
Comedians and musicians from the Patel Conservatory Youth Theatre put their own spin on the classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. $15. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. 7 p.m. today-Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Prom Dress Distribution
Needy young women can get a prom dress for $1 at the Belle of the Ball Project dress distribution. $1 donation appreciated. Seminole Mall, 11201 Park Blvd., Seminole. (727) 386-4502. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Rock 'n Roll Railroad
Climb aboard the train for a ride from Parrish to historic Willow for an outdoor concert by Delusions of Grandeur. During the concert, engine 8330 will be open for tours. Make a $25 donation and you can actually drive it on one-mile of open track. $16. Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E, Parrish. (877) 869-0800. 5 p.m. Saturday.
Rosita’s Fiesta
Dance along with Rosita and her Sesame Street friends as they celebrate her Hispanic culture and enjoy delicious food served buffet-style. This event is part of the Viva la Musica celebration. $22, $15 children. Park admission also required. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Dunedin Highland Games
Annual event with competitions in Scottish bag piping and drumming, pipe bands and Highland dancing. Also, live bands, a clan gathering, Celtic music, kid’s activities, Scottish wares, food and drink. Benefits Scottish bands of Dunedin. $10, 12 and younger free. Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. (727) 733-3197. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Friday Night Movies in Pioneer Park
Dress up as your favorite character or thing from each week’s film. This week features the classic film West Side Story. Free. Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. (727) 812-4530. 7 p.m. Friday.
Movies in the Park
Grab your blankets and chairs for a free screening of Happy Feet, the animated tale of emperor penguins who find their soul mates through song. Refreshments will be sold. Themed activities begin at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at dark. Free. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 586-7415. 7 p.m. Friday.
Spring and Fall Free For All
Bring lawn chairs, blankets, snacks or a complete dinner for an outdoor viewing of Battle for Terra. Free. Sims Park, 6341 Bank St., New Port Richey. (727) 967-6726. 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60
Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features ANTZ, rated PG, and Saturday features Moneyball, rated PG-13. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 6:01pm]


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