Here comes Santa Claus … already
We still have uneaten Halloween candy, yet today, Nov. 4, we log in our first Christmas events of the season:
Holiday Boutique Opening Reception: Florida Craftsmen transforms its gallery into a holiday shopping spot, opening at 5:30 p.m. Friday and running through Dec. 31 at 501 Central Ave., St. Pete. Upstairs at Artlofts@Florida Craftsmen Galleries is the yearly sale of artist-made holiday decorations for just $5 each, to benefit Suncoast Hospice. It also starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday. (727) 418-8887.
Holiday Gift Market: More than 140 merchants offer clothing, jewelry, art and children's items at the hugely popular sale put on by the Junior League of Tampa. It runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. $8 admission. (813) 254-1734.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: The after-hours celebration with Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, the Holiday Wishes fireworks extravaganza and "snow" on Main Street opens at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. See disneyworld.disney.go.com for best ticket prices.
Look! Up in the sky!
Do some stargazing in a lush park at Astronomy Night at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. The St. Pete Astronomy Club will bring its high-powered lenses along for a night of star gazing starting at 7:30 p.m., Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Pete. $3, $1.50 children.
Give records a spin
Tons of 45s, LPs, CDs and record/CD supplies will be available at the Record and CD Show. Browse the vintage tunes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holiday Inn Express, 4732 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Admission is $7 from 8 to 9:45 a.m. and $4 after 10 a.m. Call (727) 251-9458.
Favorite squirrel returns
Never mind the Wiener Dog races, "Smooch a Pooch" kissing booth, Pug Parade and Fur Ball Fashion Show at the Family and Pet Extravaganza. That's just normal outrageous dog stuff. You want Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel! It all began in 1978 with the original Twiggy, who was rescued after a hurricane and taught to water-ski as a joke. Now a succession of little Twiggys has traveled the world, turned up in movies and appeared on TV shows like Animal Planet's Amazing Animals and Late Show with David Letterman. You can also bring your pet for a kids vs. dogs soccer game, a doggie fun zone and a mutt march, starting at 9 a.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. $5, 10 and younger free.
Send your kid up a tree
Climbers 6 and older can ascend into the heights of a live oak in the Canopy Tree Climbing using harnesses and a rope pulley system similar to those used in the Amazon rain forests. Organized by Pathfinder Outdoor Education, it starts at 10 a.m. at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1310 22nd Ave. S, St. Pete. $10.
Old Northeast celebrates
The Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Pete is holding a 100th Anniversary Picnic in the Park. Residents are invited to join in an afternoon of old-fashioned picnic fun including lunch on the grass, three-legged races, a bean bag toss, an egg toss, face painting, croquet and badminton games, an antique car display and opening remarks by Mayor Bill Foster. Free (box lunch $10 additional). It starts at noon at North Shore Park, 901 North Shore Drive NE, St. Pete.
Gangs that flash jazz hands
This year marks the West Side Story 50th Anniversary, the 10-time Academy Award-winning romantic tragedy starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, and Rita Moreno. Sure, we don't see too many gangs breaking out into song but, When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dyin' day. The movie will be shown in a limited nationwide screening. $12.50. Participating theaters include the Regency 20, 2496 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon; Hyde Park Cinebistro in Tampa; Citrus Stadium 20 in Tampa and Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel. Show times vary by theater. The film also is being shown as part of the Conga Caliente festival at 6 p.m. Saturday at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa. (813) 353-8151. For more on Conga Caliente, see Page 40.