Now that the long Labor Day weekend is over and summer has made its symbolic exit, we turn our attention to Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater, where a trio of events will take place. A farmers market, a box car rally, and a book and wine festival are on the eclectic agenda, ensuring that the end of summer doesn't mean the end of good times.
1. Summertime Marketplace
Artisan bread, Greek fare and local honey, oh, my! Don't miss this chance to grab some fresh produce and specialty merchandise. It's the last of the summertime markets on Cleveland Street until the weekly Wednesday markets resume Oct. 20.
"Come on down," said Pat Fernandez, who operates the market. "With the Box Car Rally and book and wine festival, it'll be fun times three."
When: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cleveland Street from Fort Harrison to Garden Avenue, including Station Square Park
Information: clearwaterfarmersmarket.com or (727) 461-7674.
2. Cleveland Street Book and Wine Festival
Nibble on finger foods, take in some Florida Roadkill and wash it all down with some chardonnay.
It's the inaugural Cleveland Street Book and Wine Festival, which revolves around a large used-book sale. The fundraiser for the Friends of the Clearwater Library is sponsored by the Clearwater Downtown Development Board.
"We'll have about 12 tables of books that are in good shape," said Anne Fogarty France, the city's downtown program coordinator.
Tim Dorsey, author of wild and wacky Florida crime novels like Gator A-Go-Go, Hurricane Punch and Florida Roadkill, will discuss his works from 8 to 8:30 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet and book signing. Copies of his books will be for sale.
Also appearing: Kathy Carmichael (Hot Flash), Kim Llewellyn (The Quest for the Holy Veil) and photographer and author Robert La Follette.
Poets, singers and musicians will perform. Vendors will sell cheese, nuts, Belgian waffles, breads, homemade soap and such.
The wine list includes chardonnay, cabernet and white zinfandel. Organic wines will be available for tasting.
Cleveland Street restaurants and shops will offer coupons redeemable the day of the event and hold drawings for gift certificates good for future visits.
Should inclement weather prevail, the Book and Wine Festival will move into the lobby of the SunTrust building at 601 Cleveland St., across from Station Square Park.
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: 600 block of Cleveland and in Station Square Park
Information: myclearwater.com/downtown for the lineup of authors, poets and entertainers.
3. Achieva Credit Union's first Box Car Rally
Saturday is a race back in time as gravity-powered, homemade cars tool downhill on Cleveland Street near the Harborview Center.
"We wanted to do something unique where dads and moms could get involved with their kids," said Linda Mignone, spokeswoman for Achieva Credit Union.
Four racing classes — pee wee, teen, adult and corporate — will compete. Proceeds from the event will go to the Pinellas Education Foundation's grant program to benefit Pinellas County classrooms.
The event includes food, drinks, music, balloons, children's activities, the Rays Street Team, and merchant tents and tables.
Pee wee races start at 9:30 a.m. Teen, adult and corporate groups follow hourly.
Don't miss Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen and deputy superintendent Jim Madden as they brave the dunk tank. Janssen will say a few words at 9:30 a.m., and then the crowd will take shots.
For $1, buy three balls to drop the school bosses into the drink — and help classrooms.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: 300 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater; follow Drew past Coachman Park to the event parking lot. Free admission and parking.
Information: achievacu.com or Linda Mignone at (727) 431-7362