Independence Day: Westfield Brandon celebrates Independence Day with Brandon Blast, a family event from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the restaurant courtyard. The annual event includes bands, family entertainment and dining, leading up to a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Food and bounce house admission available for a fee. Visit westfield.com/brandon.
Free concert: Get in the holiday mood a little early with a free patriotic concert at Bell Shoals Baptist Church Sunday. The church, at 2102 Bell Shoals Road in Brandon, will hold "an old-fashioned July 4th celebration" from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be free popcorn and cotton candy as well as several Tampa Bay area food trucks for those with a bigger appetite.
The performance, Celebrate America — Heal Our Land, will begin at 6 p.m. and feature a 200-voice choir and orchestra. For more information, contact Bell Shoals Baptist Church at (813) 689-4229.
Book signing: Meet Brandon resident and author John V. Cinchett signing copies of his new book, Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Back by Demand Thrift Store, 173 E Bloomingdale Ave. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the SPCA. For more information, call (813) 438-8910.
Candidate forum: Bell Shoals Baptist Church, 2102 Bell Shoals Road, hosts a candidate forum at the church at 5 p.m. July 12. More than 60 candidates are expected to attend and will participate in two sessions. The first will allow candidates and voters to casually interact. Then, all participants will gather in the worship center where candidates will speak about issues and their campaigns. For more information, visit bellshoals.com.
Brandon Hospital prenatal classes: Brandon Regional Hospital offers a Prepared Childbirth class at 9 a.m. July 14 and 21 and a Prenatal Breast Feeding class at 6:30 p.m. Juky 10 at Oakfield Medical Plaza, 119 Oakfield Drive. Seating is limited and reservations are advised. For more information or to register, call (813) 653-1065 or visit brandon regionalhospital.com.
On Broadway: Plant City Entertainment presents The Best of Broadway July 20-21 at 8 p.m. and July 22 at 2 p.m. Led by director Domin Pazo, the show will feature excerpts and songs from a number of musicals including Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Oklahoma, Annie, Cats, Rent, Sound of Music. The cast will include Matt Mello, Tania Enriquez, Maren Fernandez, Kristen Holloway, Mitchell Spencer, Bev Harboard and Sara Demolli.
Additional performances are 8 p.m. July 26-28. All performances will be held at the Plant City Entertainment theater, 101 N Thomas St. Tickets are $10 for members or group advance sales, $12 for senior citizens, nonmembers and K-12 students 12 are $14.
Orchestral salute: The South Shore Symphony Orchestra presents "Salute To American Composers" at 2 p.m. today at the Regent, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview. Conductor Susan Bailey Robinson will lead the orchestra in excerpts from works of Americana by Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, John Philip Sousa and Leonard Bern- stein. Tickets are $10.
Art exhibits: Works by artist Todd Holm will be on display in the community room at the Regent, 6437 Watson Road, through Saturday. A different artist is featured each month. Free. For more information, or if you are an artist interested in using the space for free, call (813) 571-2494.
Car wash: To help the Riverview High School Shark Attack band raise $22,000 to participate in USBands National Marching Band Championships in November, stop by fundraiser car washes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 14 and Aug. 11 at Burger King, 9660 U.S. 301 S. Donations are appreciated. For more information on the band, call (813) 671-5011.
National Dance Day event: Brandon Ballet invites children to celebrate the third annual National Dance Day from 7 to 10 p.m. July 28 at the Regent, 6437 Watson Road. Participants who sign up will be directed to a link to learn a dance posted online. Children ages 8 to 18 can join in the fun but must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $15 per child. Visit shop.brandonballet.org or call (813) 684-4282.
Photography exhibit opening: An opening reception for photographer Rolf Sulzberger of Sun City Center takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 12 at the SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way. Sulzberger is a member of numerous photo clubs in Florida and New England. He also teaches photography and judges photographic contests. The reception is free to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The photography show runs through Aug. 24. For more information, call Laurie Burhop at (813) 273-3652.
sun city center
Victory Celebration: The Sarasota Concert Band presents "Victory Celebration" at 2 p.m. today at Sun City Center's Community Hall. The concert will include songs of American Revolution, John Williams' Liberty Fanfare and Irvin Berlin's Songs for America. Tickets are $18 and come with a CD of the band's performance at Van Wezel Hall. For more information, call (813) 642-2001.
Grief book discussion group: LifePath Hospice hosts a book discussion group for readers who have experienced a significant loss and want to explore grief as a theme in fiction. The five-week group will meet at 2:30 p.m. beginning Mondayat the LifePath Hospice Resource Center, 3010 W Azeele St. The first book selection for discussion is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, which explores loss, love, loyalty and hope in a humorous and uplifting manor.
The group is free and open to anyone in Hillsborough County who has experienced a significant loss. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Diane Schnelly at (813) 877-2200, ext. 10609.
Charles Greacen is an artist working in Hyde Park. To reach him, go to www.towntiles.com.