Gift of Hope: Brandon's Gift of Hope Tent, a partnership of local churches and ECHO, the Emergency Care Help Organization, is working to reach out to more than 600 families in the Greater Brandon area by providing them with toys for their children to enjoy at Christmas. To help, drop off a new, unwrapped toy at the tent, 216 N Parsons Ave. Visit brandongiftofhope.com.
Suicide grief support: LifePath Hospice will offer a seven-week suicide loss grief support group, which is geared to the needs of those who have experienced the suicide of a loved one, beginning Jan. 7. The group will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 121 Carver Ave. The group is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register or get more information, call Diane Schnelly at (813) 877-2200.
Art classes: Carol Karow, a Ringling College of Art and Design graduate, will teach beginner charcoal drawing and oil painting classes starting in January at the Brandon Recreation Center at 510 E Sadie St. The one-hour charcoal class will take place at 10 a.m. Mondays and cost $5 per class. Students must bring their own charcoal supplies. The oil painting class will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Thursdays and cost $7 per class. Students will need to bring their own painting supplies. Classes start the week of Jan. 10. For more information, call (813) 681-7324 or (813) 744-5617.
Wild Dame Night: Tickets for the Center Place's 22nd annual Wild Dame Night go on sale Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. The event will be held Feb. 16 and begins at 6 p.m. with social time, wine, catered dinner and the traditional "decadent desserts." Participants are encouraged to wear "comfy PJs." The evening will feature Stages Production performing Sleeping Beauty's Wild Slumber Party.
Tickets, which must be purchased in advance and are nonrefundable, are $50 per person and its $800 to sponsor a table of nine. Call Center Place at (813) 685-8888.
Christmas Lane: Grab some hot chocolate — or a cold soda — and stroll through a winter wonderland at Christmas Lane. The light display at 2091 Wooten Road is open nightly, from 6 to 10, through Dec. 28, weather permitting. It includes musical entertainment and Santa visits through today. Entrance is free but donations are accepted. For more information, go to christmaslane.org.
Nights of Shimmering Lights: Head to the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds and bask in the glow of nearly a million holiday lights. Visitors take a 30- to 40-minute drive through the Nights of Shimmering Lights, which features more than 850 creations. There are 11 themed areas with many animated elements. End the night with Santa photos, outdoor holiday movies and sweet treats. The fairgrounds are at 215 Sydney Washer Road. Gates open at dark and close at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The display is open nightly through Dec. 30. Cost is $20 per vehicle. Go to nosl-tb.com for more information. See photos on Page 10.
Country gospel live: Come enjoy live country gospel music at a sing a long at 7 p.m. Friday at the Farm, 7818 Lithia Pinecrest Road. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served at 6:30 p.m. Arrive early and bring your own chairs. Admission is free. For more information, call (813) 967-3046.
Al Anon meetings: A group meets from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays at Hull House, 201 N Thomas St. For more information, visit tampabayalanon.org.
Yappy Hour: Bring your dog to Yappy Hour from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Joia Martini Bar, 10475 Gibsonton Drive. Proceeds will benefit Wheaten Terrier Rescue. Enjoy free pizza and martini samples, listen to live music and pamper your pup with complimentary treats. For more information, call (813) 677-7171.
CARE'S Tree of Lights: Donors can honor past or present pets by having a bulb or personalized ornament placed on the Tree of Lights at the Critter Adoption & Rescue Effort Shelter at 1528 27th St. SE. For information, call (813) 645-2273 or go to careshelter.org.
Manatee Festival T-shirt contest: The deadline for artists to enter a competition for its 21st annual Manatee Festival of the Arts Logo and T-shirt contest is Jan. 4. Amateur or professional artists of any age are invited to submit their original designs to the chamber. The winner will be notified by Jan. 12 and receive a $100 cash prize, public recognition and complimentary booth space at the festival. There are no guidelines for the subject matter of the image, which must be two dimensional and an original work of art created by the artist within the last three years. For more information, call (813) 645-1366 or (813) 645-3808 or email [email protected]
SUN CITY CENTER
Apartment 14G: This musical comedy debuts at the Rollins Theater in Sun City Center on Jan. 10. Tickets are available at the Sun City Center kiosk from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday or by calling (813) 642-0606. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10-12 and 17-19 and 2:30 p.m. matinees will be presented on Jan. 12 and 19.
Hearing Loss Association meeting: The Sun City Center Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLA-SCC) will meet at 9 a.m. Jan. 2 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1239 Del Webb Blvd. W. Steve Gaskins, public affairs officer for the Florida Highway Patrol, will speak about interaction between law enforcement and people who have hearing impairment. Come early for coffee and doughnuts. Contact Richard Herring at [email protected] or Barbara Riley at (813) 634-1706.