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Annual Oldsmar Days and Nights festival starts today

OLDSMAR

The 51st Oldsmar Days and Nights celebration is all about having some good "Olds-fashioned" family fun, says Jerry Custin, president of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.

"Classic cars, classic rock and classic Florida. To me, that's what defines Oldsmar," he said.

The setting for the three-day event is the scenic waterfront R. E. Olds Park, named after Ransom Eli Olds, founder of the Oldsmobile. Even though General Motors quit making the brand in 2004, Olds' legacy lives on in Oldsmar, the community he established in 1913, and through this long-lived festival.

Gates open today at 5 p.m. with carnival rides, a food court, arts and crafts vendors and the Budweiser Beer Garden.

Custin said he's particularly proud of this year's lineup of "local bay area bands with good local followings." They're classic rock 'n' roll with a little bit of soul, funk, rockabilly and alternative sound in the mix, he said.

At 5:30 p.m., the Trigger City Trio takes the stage, followed by The Black Honkeys at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, the community parade begins at 11 a.m. in front of the Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Drive E. It proceeds onto State Street, Park Boulevard, Shore Drive and back.

Local dignitaries and others — including a descendant of R. E. Olds — will ride in classic Oldsmobile convertibles from the 1950s and '60s. An Oldsmobile classic car show follows the parade.

Bring your cameras for the 3:15 p.m. pie-eating contest between Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker and Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold. There are likely to be some juicy photo ops as they down triple berry pies.

Later, at 7:30 p.m., eyes will water and noses will run as the Blazin' Wing Challenge determines who can eat the hottest chicken wings.

"The wings are so hot, contestants have to sign a release form," said Custin.

Saturday's musical entertainment begins at 1 p.m. with Cross Eyed Larry and continues on with the Dive Bar Stalkers. The Greg Billings Band headlines at 8 p.m.

The event winds down Sunday with vintage muscle cars and more food and music. Slickside with Joe Lala plays at 1 p.m. and Stormbringer performs at 5:30 p.m.

Buy tasty wings for 50 cents each, then vote for your favorite during Sunday's Wing Wars.

51st annual Oldsmar Days and Nights

When: 5 to 11 p.m. today; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; Sunday noon to 7 p.m.

Where: R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Dr. W.

Admission and parking: Free.

Carnival rides: All-you-can-ride wristbands are $18 a session. All-you-can-ride wristbands good for all three days are $50 each.

Info: Call (813) 855-4233 or visit www.utbchamber.com

Annual Oldsmar Days and Nights festival starts today 03/22/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 22, 2012 5:47pm]
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