Now that the election is over, perhaps you're feeling as if it's time to step up and do something for your community as a proud American citizen. Luckily, this weekend around Tampa Bay offers numerous opportunities to have fun and to help out your favorite cause at the same time. We've found 10 opportunities for you to make a difference with your presence. Now go. — Times staff
Watch and learn
Canon Tennis Challenge of Tampa Bay: This event features two top-ranked tennis pros in a match, plus other exhibitions geared toward tennis. And it's all to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida, Suncoast Region. For $70, attendees can enjoy food, drink, sponsor tents and music. Under-card matches start at 2:30 p.m. Master of ceremonies will be Darek Sharp, a radio show host for WDAE-620. The main event starts at 6 p.m. and features a one-set pro-am involving Mardy Fish and John Isner, followed by a singles match between the two American stars. Fish is currently ranked No. 3 in this country, and Isner is No. 9. The event will take place at the residence of Plant City Mayor Rick Lott, 3200 Polo Place in the Walden Lake community. Hours: Gates open at 2 p.m. Saturday; the main match is scheduled for 6. Find more information at tampabayprotennis.com.
m Discover Egmont Key: Saturday marks the 150th anniversary of the Egmont Key lighthouse, so what better way to celebrate than to explore the tiny island near the mouth of Tampa Bay. This 12-stop self-guided tour with interpretive presentations will introduce the natural, cultural and historical features of the island. The tour leaves from the Bayside Pier at Fort De Soto. You'll find children's pirate games, historians in costume and military re-enactors along the way. A commemoration ceremony for the lighthouse will take place Saturday. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Egmont Key Alliance. Organizers urge you to book online in advance as tickets (which cost $15) will likely sell out. The shuttle boats will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Find information online at egmontkey.org.
Blue & White Party: Sure to be the hottest ticket in town tonight, join Ian Beckles for poolside entertainment from DJ Peoples Marc Vane, a high-energy dance performances by the Youngstas, Enigma Dance Kru, and a Fred Astaire ballroom style performance to benefit the Children's Cancer Center. It's all happening at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa. While your ears are having fun, keep your eyes happy with a fashion show by Reborn Couture, a new clothing company located in South Tampa with a hard-core, rock star vibe. Hours: 8 p.m.-midnight; cost is $150 VIP, $50 general admission and includes food, cash bar and drink specials all night. Info is at theeblueandwhiteparty.com.
Casinova 2008: It's a night for big players at this fundraiser for pancreatic cancer that promises lots of Vegas-style games, a great auction including signed Rays cowbells, local celebs (Matt Geiger, Scott Kazmir, Andy Sonnestine and Dan Wheldon) and free sushi from Hook's. The games begin at 8 p.m. today at the Nova535 art lounge, 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Petersburg. Cost is $20 or $50 for VIP.
Activate and donate
Richard's Run for Life 5K: Why just walk the storied brick streets of Ybor when you can run through them for a good cause? This 3.1-mile run tonight is open to runners and walkers, and benefits the Amandalee Fund for Pediatric Sarcoma Cancer Research at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. This year's run is dedicated to Mark Desmarais, who lost his battle with cancer at age 10. The race begins and ends at the Cuban Club, 2010 N Avenue Republica de Cuba. Be sure to stay after for the post-race party, which includes the Columbia's 1905 salad, paella, black beans and rice, as well as burritos and ribs from other area restaurants. And since it's Ybor City, there will be Michelob Ultra Beer and a DJ. Starts: 7 tonight; be sure to show up early to register, though, and pay your $25 entry fee. Find out more at richardsrunforlife.com.
Tampa Bay Start! Heart Walk: These 3-mile and 1-mile family-friendly fundraiser walks on Saturday benefit the American Heart Association. Get moving and log into the americanheart.org/tampabayheartwalk site, sign up and get your friends and family to support your efforts. Bonus news for football fans: You can win a chance to go to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Raise $500 and be entered once in the drawing; raise $1,000 and be entered three times. The walk is at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry, Tampa. Starts: 8 a.m. Saturday.
Art with heart
m Historic Roser Park Art Festival: Set among the steep hills on the brick streets just south of the Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, this growing art show celebrates its namesake historic district and serves as a benefit for the nearby Ronald McDonald House and neighborhood preservation efforts. This year's two-day event features 70 artists, painters and crafters, plus live music. Playing Saturday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. are Urban Gypsies; and from 2-4 Maxi-Madelyn Wood. On Sunday, listen to Incredible Crisis from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Acho Brother from 2 to 4 p.m. This year there will be a children's art station, staffed by Boy Scout troop 316 of Clearwater and its troop leaders. A balloon artist and face-painting also will entertain the little ones. The event is along Roser Park Drive and 10th Avenue S. Free parking is offered in the medical center parking garage. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, but food and drink will be offered for sale along with the artwork.
Mind the Gap: This small salon-style exhibit and fundraiser is devoted to the promotion and improvement of the Santaella Cigar Factory at Gallery 209, an alternative art venue. Presented by art cooperatives art and three04, suggested donation is $5 at the door for a night of art and camaraderie in the Tampa art community. Proceeds will go to the Ellis-VanPelt family for improvements planned for their Old Santaella Cigar Factory at 1906 N Armenia Ave. Additional information is available at www.five-art.com and www.three04.com. Hours: 6-10 p.m. today.
Eat and fund
Zoofari: Lowry Park Zoo's annual fund-raiser attracts a large and lively crowd every year. No wonder, since this year will feature live music by Night Ranger and the Vodkanauts, culinary treats from some of the area's top restaurants, an open bar and an "Art Safari" wildlife art auction. The zoo is at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Hours: 7-11 p.m. Saturday. You can buy tickets for $75 online up until noon today, then by phone for $80. They're $85 at the door. Find more info at lowryparkzoo.com.
Jazzy Starry Night: This benefit for the Science Center of Pinellas County will feature cuisine from Salt Rock Grill under the stars, desserts by Mike's Pies, jazz by Allon Sams, a cash bar, tours of the center and a silent auction. Admission is $50. The center is at 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Hours: 6-10 p.m. Saturday.