Plan your weekend
Next Big Thing After a six-year excursion to Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, the annual 97X Next Big Thing returns to its more festival-like roots on Saturday at its new home, Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with Fun., Rise Against, Bush and more. Permitted items include blankets and one unopened water bottle; no-nos include lawn chairs, umbrellas and food. Through Friday, tickets are $45 at all Floridacentral Credit Union locations and $45 plus service fees via Ticketmaster; on Saturday, it's $60 at the gate. Doors open at 10 a.m. For details, see 97xonline.com.
Tampa Christmas fun The closer we get to Christmas, the more holiday events and parties there are around Tampa Bay. On Saturday, the Downtown Tampa Holiday Parade and Santa Fest step off at Morgan Street and Kennedy Boulevard with floats, marching bands, dance troops and Santa Claus. In nearby Curtis Hixon Park, there will be visits with Santa Claus, entertainment, hands-on games and make-and-take holiday-themed crafts. Both events are free and start at 11 a.m. Saturday. Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday will have Mayor Bob Buckhorn light the tree, followed by a performance from American Idol contestant Michael Lynche and a screening of 2001's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Free. 6 p.m. Friday. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.
Take the kids
Christmas Town Busch Gardens unwraps a new tradition this weekend with Christmas Town, a series of holiday-themed evening attractions that dress up the tropical park in 80 miles of lights, with special shows and tons of blown-in snow. It runs 6 to 11 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23. General admission is $39.99, $14.99 for children — but advance online tickets are $24.99, $9.99 for children.
Repeal Day The Left Coast Bartenders' Guild celebrates the repeal of Prohibition with classic and modern drinks representing great cocktail cities, burlesque performers, local food and theatrically themed rooms representing eras and noteworthy locations. 8 p.m. Sunday. $75. Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn, 1915 N Ave. Republica De Cuba, Tampa. leftcoastbarguild.com.
Alan Jackson The honky-tonk traditionalist with a whopping 35 Billboard country No. 1's plays with Rodney Atkins, David Nail, Jana Kramer Sunday at 3 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25-$80. (813) 740-2446. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne [email protected]