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Briefs: Gambling and gators are a South Florida diversion

Associated Press (2007)

Associated Press (2007)

If you've got time to kill in Fort Lauderdale, here are some suggestions. Head for Hollywood, about 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, and visit the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. You'll find more than 2,500 slots and games, music memorabilia, dining, shopping and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, which tells the story of the Seminole tribe with a film and a living village ($6). For information, call (954) 327-7625 or go to

West of Hollywood, about 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, there's Sawgrass Recreation Park, home of Cannibal, the 1,000-pound gator. (Hey, he sounds worth the trip!) Everglades airboat rides too. Admission is $19.50. For information, call toll-free 1-888-424-7262 or go to

Longboat Key in tasty company

The Stone Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival on Longboat Key is one of the top seafood and wine festivals in the nation, Coastal Living magazine declares.

The festival, Nov. 13-16 at the Colony Resort, includes cooking demonstrations, wine offerings, beachfront tasting, a gala with wines and a seven-course meal.

Some other top food fests:

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Maui, Hawaii, which ends today, at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Tastings and pairings, with chefs, winemakers, foodies and food critics among those attending.

Harvest on the Harbor, Portland, Maine, Oct. 23-25. Tastings, seminars, dinners.

Clayoquot Oyster Festival, British Columbia, usually held the weekend before (U.S.) Thanksgiving. Celebrates the harvest of shellfish farms on Vancouver Island's west coast with oyster-and-wine restaurant dinners, farm tours and seminars from oystermen and scientists.

Crab & Wine Days and Taste of Mendocino, Mendocino, Calif., a winter festival held over several weekends in late January/early February celebrating Dungeness crab season. Cooking classes, crab tours, fishing excursions, dinners and crab cake cookoff and tasting.

Cayman Cookout, Grand Cayman Island, Jan. 16-19. Wine-pairing demos, tastings and seminars hosted by noted chef Eric Ripert from the local Ritz-Carlton restaurant, Blue.

Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, Oregon, Feb. 20-22. Local oyster, crab and other seafood with wines.

Taste of the Beach, Outer Banks, N.C., March 5-9. More than 40 events, including wine-pairing demonstrations and dinners, cooking classes, chowder cookoff, tapas crawl tour of local restaurants and Champagne lounge.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Pebble Beach, Calif., April 16-19. Demonstrations by celebrity chefs, rare-wine auction and tastings.

Hemingway Days are here again

Start growing those beards, guys. The annual Hemingway Days celebration in Key West is July 15-20 and, as always, it will include the Papa Hemingway Lookalike Contest.

The festival's biggest literary event is a Hemingway short story competition. Winners will be announced July 18 by Lorian Hemingway, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and Ernest's granddaughter, at Casa Antigua, 314 Simonton St., where Ernest Hemingway once stayed. The contest is in its 28th year.

Hemingway lived on the island throughout the 1930s.

Details are at

Tips to avoid new luggage fees

Now that the airlines are charging for checked bags and charging even more for additional bags and heavy bags, how can you beat the fees? Try these ideas, and find more at

Pack lighter. Take a carry-on only, or a carry-on and one checked bag.

Pack appropriately. Know what temperatures to expect at your destination and what your activities will be. "It's a suitcase, not a closet," packing expert Susan Foster says. "The more you know, the less you pack."

Do a dry run. Pack the day before and weigh your bags on the bathroom scale. Before you return, weigh in on the scale at your hotel gym.

Pack small containers of toiletries and cosmetics.

Use a lightweight suitcase.

Compiled from Times wires

Briefs: Gambling and gators are a South Florida diversion 06/28/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 28, 2008 6:43pm]
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