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4 great alternatives to Final Four basketball this weekend

Not a college basketball fan? Not a problem. We've got our own Final Four right here in North Pinellas this weekend. Here's the lineup:

In Dunedin, it's the Fairies with a pixie-laden cirque-style show.

In Palm Harbor, the citrus queens and others get down to their roots with a pageant, carnival, dancers and bakers.

Take note of the Tarpon Springs gypsies, a band of English singers who will make camp on the stage this weekend.

And last but not least, the Tarpon Springs artists will be down on the bayou, where festers can feast on food, fine art and some mighty fine music.

TARPON SPRINGS

The adventures of Carmen, the fiery gypsy

Carmen, by Georges Bizet, presented by the New Century Opera (sung in English).

When: Today and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. Opening night party at 6:30 p.m. today at SunTrust Bank, 203 E Tarpon Ave.

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Tickets: $22; $18 for members and students. Call (727) 942-5605 or order online at www.tarponarts.org.

Better and more humane than a bullfight, Carmen is a much-loved French opera that tells the tragic tale of soldiers, smugglers, cigarette factory girls and gypsies within a Spanish setting.

Azure Rae Bond plays the title role of Carmen, a flirtatious gypsy girl whose carefree attitudes about love lead to disaster. Tom Workman is Don Jose, a naive soldier who dumps his fiance for the steamy Carmen. Direction by Constantine Grame; choreography by Jane Russell Geddings and Dusanka Ivanova. The large cast is complemented by a children's chorus and dancers from the Florida Dance Center.

TARPON SPRINGS

Drawn to the beauty of art at Spring Bayou

The 38th annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; concert featuring Ron and the Classics is 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Spring Bayou at Craig Park (west end of Tarpon Avenue).

Tickets: $3; free for children under 12 and active duty in military uniform.

Parking: Free throughout the city. Paid parking lots staffed by youth groups.

Info: (727) 937-6109. No pets or coolers allowed.

Spring Bayou overflows with about 230 artisans from around the country — photographers, painters, sculptors and potters. Enjoy art, food, wine and beer, entertainment (and maybe some manatee sightings). On Saturday after the festival's 5 p.m. closing, stick around from 6 to 9 p.m. as Ron and the Classics play music from the '50s and '60s. "The concert is new this year and a nice way to expand the festival," said Sue Thomas, president of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.

DUNEDIN

A magical show for Make-a-Wish dreams

Fairies Inc., a cirque-style performance by the Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Conmy Center at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 750 San Salvador Drive, Dunedin.

Tickets: $30 adults, $20 children 12 and under. Available online at www.brownpapertickets.com or call (727) 461-0098.

Beth Brier, owner of Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, said this year's show will be a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, "so the fairies are going to help make a wish come true." The fairies are her advanced students and some professionals: lithe creatures who will twist, tumble and float in the air. The story line revolves around the "Star Maker," a stilt walker who creates magical stars to fulfill wishes. Five dollars from the sale of every ticket goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

PALM HARBOR

Savoring and recalling those sweet slices of life

The fourth-annual Palm Harbor Citrus Festival

When: Carnival is 4 to 11 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Where: historic downtown Palm Harbor on Florida and Georgia avenues.

Info: For complete schedule of events in addition to the carnival, visit palmharborcitrusfestival.com; (727) 784-4287, (727) 787-4700.

Citrus lovers, this is the place to be this weekend as Palm Harbor celebrates the days when citrus groves, farms and livestock blanketed the land. Along with a carnival, enjoy founder-style music and activities along with Saturday's Battle of the Bands and an 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday 5K Run/1M Family Fun Walk. And Some juicy questions will be answered: Who will be crowned the new Miss Palm Harbor Citrus Festival Queen? (Finals begin at noon Saturday.) Who will triumph in the "Dancing With the Palm Harbor Stars" competition? (Finals start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.) And who can win the judges' hearts during the "Palmsbury" Bake-off? (Drop off citrus-flavored baked goods from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday to be judged at 1 p.m.)

4 great alternatives to Final Four basketball this weekend 03/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:44pm]

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