Free, cheap family fun
Could it be that the year is half over? Here we are right at the beginning of July and we know that we've got about seven or eight more weeks of summer camps for the kids. And we need to squeeze in a family vacation if we haven't already done so. But this weekend is all about red, white and blue. And maybe an event or two that isn't star-spangled. Let's get to it.
If you are looking for fireworks and more Fourth of July fun, check out this lengthy list of things to do. There are family ideas but also date night fun for just you and your honey. And if you really just want to see where you can watch fireworks, here's that list. And make sure you leave the fireworks to the pros.
Inside the Fourth of July list, there are some super groovy events you should know about. One is the July Fourth Celebration and World Record Attempt at 6 p.m. Sunday at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. And what record are they breaking? They will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of people doing The Twist at the same time. It's $3 to participate and your get a commemorative hat. Registration will take place on-site. Fireworks viewing and other activities follow at 9 p.m.
And if you like to play golf and the kids love glow-in-the-dark fun, then the Glow Golf Benefit Tournament is just right for you and your family. This is a golfing challenge that costs $45 in advance and $60 on the day of the tourney but it's free to watch. And there are children's activities, a poolside cookout, swimming, a family putting contest, fireworks and free driving range balls. It all benefits Dogma, a no-kill pet rescue group. The tourney is at the Eagles Golf Club, 16101 Nine Eagles Drive, Odessa.
Finally at North Straub Park in St. Petersburg, Team Sandtastic will construct a Patriotic Sand Sculpture beginning Friday. The team must complete the sculpture by Sunday. There also will be a tabletop sand sculpture contest on Saturday with judging on Sunday. It's free to watch at Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg.
For some live music to get the weekend off to a grand start check out the free Rock the Park concert at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 Ashley Drive, Tampa, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Watch the weather, though, since showers have been pounding the bay area.
With the Rays out of town (you can catch them when they take on the Boston Red Sox beginning Monday at the Trop), this might be a good weekend to take in some minor league baseball and see the stars of tomorrow. Plus these teams have some pretty sweet promotions to get fans into the stands. Beginning Thursday, the Clearwater Threshers are taking on the Lakeland Flying Tigers with tickets starting as low as $5. And there'll be fireworks on Friday and Saturday. The Dunedin Blue Jays will play the Brevard County Manatees for a three-game set beginning Thursday. On Saturday, kids can run the bases and the team will be giving away kids' jerseys. And the Tampa Yankees will begin a three-game swing with the Daytona Cubs. On Saturday, you can see fireworks at Steinbrenner Field. There's also be face painting, a bounce house and carnival games for the kids. We'll see you there.
Fins for Limbs is a cool benefit at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium -- home of Winter, the dolphin with no tail -- to show support for veterans who have suffered combat-related injuries resulting in an amputation or other life-changing disabilities. Includes displays of military artifacts, military vehicles, static displays, prosthetics display, informational booths to provide support to veterans and much more. Included with daily admission. Donations at the door benefit the Wounded Warrior Project supporting Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The displays are included with regular aquarium admission.
Explore the mysteries of the Brooker Creek Preserve at the Trail Mystery Scavenger Hunt on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Find clues along the trails, and solve the mysteries to win a prize. All ages welcome. Call (727) 453-6800 to reserve your spot. The preserve is at 940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs .
Don’t worry if you’re not Mr. Super Speedy in bicycle shorts. Every week the Thursday Night Group Bicycle Ride is a guided fun bike ride that breaks into groups for slow and fast riders and safely follows the streets of Tampa. The best part? It ends at a select bar or restaurant to quench your thirst. Lights required. Helmets suggested. It’s free, at 7 p.m. Thursdays. City Bike Tampa, 212 E Cass St., Tampa. (813) 225-1777.
Wheels up, dude. The first Saturday of each month is Extreme Jams, free for bikers and skaters at Largo Skate Park. Helmets required. Bikes only from noon-3 p.m. and skate only from 3-6 p.m. 12 p.m., Largo Skate Park, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. Free. (727) 518-3016; www.largo.com.
Pedal and protest at the Independence from Oil Bike Ride on Sunday. Rise, shine and ride on Independence Day and maybe even thumb your nose at the gas stations you pass by. Pick one of two rides, 11 or 24 miles. Rides are fun and leisurely at 12 to 14 mph along the waterfront. Riders should gather between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. 8 a.m., Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Free.
Go out and make it the best Fourth of July holiday ever.
~ Sherry Robinson
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