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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 [email protected] 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 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.

5 under $5

FREE Bicycle Bash, promoting bicycling as a healthy lifestyle and a good mode of transportation, has snagged Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to lead the Buckhorn Bash Ride on the Flatwoods Wilderness Park's 7-mile loop. Other activities include a swap meet, bike gear giveaway and legal advice on bicycle issues. It starts at 10 a.m. Sunday at the park at 14302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa. Free. See

FREE Put down the iPod and appreciate the little four-stringed instrument that spiked in popularity during the Great Depression at the Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway. The Lake Tarpon Resort is uke central this weekend with artists, jam sessions, luaus and workshops. There is no charge for the Friday session, which begins at 7 p.m. with a screening of the film The Mighty Uke, followed by a "Ukulele for Beginners" workshop with The Barnkickers at 7:30 p.m. Live music starts at 8 p.m. The rest of weekend costs $35-$75 at Lake Tarpon Resort, 37611 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor. (727) 943-9812.

DONATIONS Walkers of all ages will stroll through Al Lopez Park in Tampa and end up in Raymond James Stadium for the Tampa Bay Start! Heart Walk. It's a 3-mile hike that goes down the sideline of the playing field. A 1-mile course is also available. It's all to raise money to fight heart disease and strokes. It starts and ends on Tampa Bay Boulevard between the Yankees complex and Raymond James Stadium. 8 a.m. Saturday.

$5 The Sake Bomb lounge in downtown St. Pete is throwing a block party, Scorpio Art and Vintage Rides Show, with a vintage motorcycle and hot-rod show. There are free motorcycle lessons starting at noon, free samples from local restaurants from 4 to 6 p.m., live music, free Pabst Blue Ribbon from 9 to midnight. Early admission is free, with a $5 cover starting at 6 p.m. at 548 Central Ave.

$5 Brandon's Rolling Pin Kitchen has rounded up a baker's dozen of celebrity chefs for All-Star Chef Charity Weekend. The chefs will each create a signature dish to sample and see what to expect when taking one of their classes. A $5 registration fee per chef goes directly to support Nativity's Outreach Food Pantry and Food Bank. It's from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday with a different chef up just about every hour at Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium, 2080 Badlands Drive, Brandon. See a complete list at

Planner (things to do) 11/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:21pm]
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