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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with kids this week



kitefest.jpgFrom stilt walkers and magicians at an art walk to 10-cent trolly rides to the sky full of kites, we've got lots of wallet-friendly diversions to choose from this week. Read on for this week's picks of the best free and cheap things to do with your kids:

Now with stilt walkers! The monthly Gulfport Art Walk now includes lively street entertainment to engage the strolling audience. Keep an eye out for stilt walkers, jugglers, costumed strolling characters, magicians and more as you browse the arts and crafts along Gulfport’s main drag along Beach Boulevard. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Kite fliers from all over the world will color the sky over Treasure Island Beach for KiteOberFest, with hundreds of kites up to 100 feet long this weekend. Demonstrations include aerial acrobatics set to music, kite boarding and more. There will also be family activities, food, a kite auction, raffles and kite supply vendors. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday behind the Thunderbird Resort, 10700 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the streetcar line being revived as a tourist attraction to connect downtown Tampa and Channelside to Ybor City, you can take the kids for a fun and cheap day of riding during Streetcar Fest. Jump on Tampa’s historic streetcars for just 10 cents on Saturday until 2 a.m. The day includes live music and entertainment, plus special offers from businesses along the streetcar line. Catch it at Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City;

The family friendly Party in the Park on Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park will benefit Voices for Children, an advocacy group for the abused, abandoned and neglected children of Hillsborough County. From 3 to 9 p.m. there will be food, fun, music and entertainment, with no admission charge. The party aims to create awareness, raise funds and recruit volunteers. There will be lots of live music, including Vodkanauts and the Hip Abduction. The downtown Tampa park is at 600 N Ashley Drive.

carkgrimes.jpgTampa Bay Comic Con is back and they've brought the child start of the much-buzzed about zombie hit The Walking Dead.  Our lil’ Carl Grimes is all grown up and slayin’ zombies! The new season of the AMC hit is back and the sheriff’s trouble-prone kid, played by 13-year-old Chandler Riggs, has turned into a full-fledged gun-toting bad boy.  Heck, Carl is even bird-dogging an older woman. So keep an eye on your date when Riggs appears Saturday and Sunday at this annual convention, with 100 tables of comics, videos, toys, action figures, anime, Star Wars memorabilia, artwork, trading cards and more. Other guests include C. Martin Croker, the actor who has voiced numerous cartoon characters, including Zorak and Moltar from the cartoon series Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Also artists Jim Fern (Crossing Midnight/Spider-Man), S.L. Gallant (G.I. Joe/Marvel Adventures Avengers), actor Marilyn Ghigliotti (Clerks), Joe Murray (Rocko’s Modern Life), Herb Trimpe (Incredible Hulk) and Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night/Welcome to Hoxford). It runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Tampa Airport, 4500 W Cypress St., Tampa. $10, 12 and younger free. (407) 619-2128.

The new weekly Lunch on the Lawn features live entertainment and express lunches from nearby restaurants at Lykes Gaslight Square Park, 410 Franklin St., Tampa. Get out of the office starting at 11 a.m. Friday.

The dead come alive in Dunedin on Friday. Stroll through downtown and see the traditional “Ofrendas’’ altars honoring loved ones (some tongue-in-cheek) at the Dia de Los Muertos Fiesta. Pick up a map at Pan y Vino, visit all participating businesses and sample five fine tequilas. Dress in a Dia de Los Muertos costume and earn a free tequila for an extra toast. 6-9 p.m. Friday. $15 tastings. Casa Tina Gourmet Mexican & Vegetarian, 365 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-9226.

Greasy food galore and nothing but spinning rides and flashing lights in sight: It’s time for the Hillsborough County Fair. Noon-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Friday is student day with $20 unlimited ride wristbands. Saturday features two $20 wristband sessions good from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 5 p.m. to close. $7, $5 students age 6 through high school, five and younger free. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, Corner of Sydney Washer Road and Hwy 60, Brandon. (813) 737-3247.

The food truck trend just got even bigger with Food Truck Wars, which gathers 40 gourmet trucks from across the state — though mainly Central Florida — at 4 p.m. Saturday at Channelside Bay Plaza in Tampa. Local entries such as Gone Bananas and Hot Mess Truck will face off against competitors such as Central Florida’s Honey Dripper and Taco Slapper. Categories include Peoples Choice, Awesome Dessert, Largest Single Food Item and Culinary Chef Taste Off. If a similar event in Oviedo drew an estimated 30,000 earlier this year, imagine how many people could be here Saturday? (813) 223-4250.

Everything at Repticon will slither or crawl. Vendors will be on hand with reptile pets and everything related to reptiles, amphibians and other exotic animals, as well as raffles, seminars and children’s activities. $10, $5 ages 5-12, 4 and younger free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (863) 268-4273.

The 82nd annual Fish Broil and Mullet Festival, now at Hurley Park, features fish dinner of fresh marinated mullet, grilled on mattress coils over hot coals as has been done since the 1930s, a kids carnival area with bounce house, giant slide, dunk machine, fish printing, games, silent auction, live entertainment and vendors. Proceeds benefit the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, Support Our Troops, St. Pete Beach Public Library and Save Our Seabirds. Free admission. $8 fish dinner, nominal fee for kids area wristbands. Frank T. Hurley Park, 1500 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach. (727) 798-5941. 3-8 p.m. Saturday.

Dogs can take their owners for a 3K walk through Curtis Hixon Park during Stride for Strays. Then enjoy pet contests and pet related activities, live music and food trucks. Benefits Animal Coalition of Tampa. $25 adults with $100 fundraising minimum, 12 and younger free (without T-shirt) and $15 (with T-shirt). Noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 250-1234.

Speaking of dogs...

Dress your doggie
Make your pooch cute as a bug. Unleash Lady Dogga. Or dress your mutt like Mitt, your bulldog like Barack and embark on a (friendly) debate, all for the 22nd annual SPCA Pet Walk along the waterfront in Straub Park in St. Petersburg. There will be a best dressed pet contest, an adoptable pet parade, doggie fun zone, performances by Twig and Chili the skateboarding Shelties, food trucks, music and vendors. Proceeds benefit the SPCA Tampa Bay. Starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. $25 (additional donations through sponsorship appreciated). (727) 586-3591. This is prime pet costume season, with:
Happy Dal-Loween! Costume contest, nail clippings, doggie games and treats for all breeds, though it benefits Dalmation Rescue of Tampa Bay, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. $2 per car up to 8 people. Lake Park , 17302 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz. (727) 787-1760.
Pet Masquerade Contest: Costume contest with doggie trick-or-treating afterward at Hyde Park Village, Tampa. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and the contest starts at 10. $5. (813) 876-4150.
Dog-O-Ween: Costume contest for the pooches and extended yappy hour for humans at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Jonny Reno’s at The Pier in St. Petersburg. (727) 896-7366. No cover.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 5:30pm]


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