The 2012 summer Olympic games will kick off with pomp and pageantry on July 27 in London. But you can get a taste of the international competition on March 24-25 at a new seafood festival in downtown Tampa that will feature an exhibit called the Road to London Fan Zone.
The Tampa Bay Seafood Festival is a free event in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. It will feature food from restaurants such as Spain, Miguel's Mexican Cafe and Seafood and Shrimp & Co., plus live music, exhibitors and the Fan Zone. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.
The zone will be an interactive sports environment with a focus on Olympics skills: shooting, rowing, cycling, field hockey, wheelchair basketball (for the Paralympics games beginning Aug. 29), table tennis and weight lifting. It will include athlete meet-and-greet autograph sessions, fan sport experiences, interactive elements and Team USA giveaways. It's one of only a handful of stops scheduled across the United States, and the only one scheduled so far in the Southeast, according to Bill Sharpe, a spokesman for the festival.
The event, staged by the Davis Islands Chamber of Commerce, will also feature music by Les Dudek, who has played with Boz Scaggs, the Allman Brothers and the Steve Miller Band. Also appearing will be Bill "The Sauce Boss" Wharton, a touring favorite who cooks a pot of gumbo during his blues-driven show.
Special VIP tickets for an area called the Crab Shack are available for $60 per day, or $100 for both days. Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. March 24 and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 25.
A share of the proceeds from the Tampa Bay Seafood Festival will go to the Friends of Tampa Recreation to benefit aquatics programs.