Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Free Museum Day draws crowds

A group of people including J.C. Milan, second from right, and Erin Albertson, far right, enjoy the colorful glass forms of Dale Chihuly’s Mille Fiori at the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg on Saturday during Free Museum Day.

LARA CERRI | Times

A group of people including J.C. Milan, second from right, and Erin Albertson, far right, enjoy the colorful glass forms of Dale Chihuly’s Mille Fiori at the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg on Saturday during Free Museum Day.

ST. PETERSBURG — For hundreds of feet it stretched, the line of mustachioed men, women and children.

Some of them, mostly the men, smoked cigarettes and stole glances at their watches. Others, mostly the children, sat on the pavement and played hand-held video games. They had not come to town Saturday afternoon as members of a bearded circus team or to attend a convention of facial hair aficionados.

The lengthy line, in fact, was thanks to Pinellas County's annual Free Museum Day. And the mustaches, made from black chenille stems, were thanks to a woman passing them out in front of the Dali Museum.

Crowds like that one formed around buildings all over the area Saturday. From Creative Clay to the Pier Aquarium to the Museum of Fine Arts, admission was free.

Officials at the Dali expected about 3,000 visitors. By 1 p.m., the wait was an hour long.

Memphis Essmyer, who is 5, stood with his parents near the middle of the line. Beneath a mop of curly brown hair, he wore flip-flops, shorts and a blue shirt labeled: "LONDON." Memphis didn't care for mustaches, so he turned his into a snake.

"Only my mom wanted to," he explained of why they were there. And why, specifically, were they there? "The weird museum."

He and his parents, Kirk and J.R., had driven down from Oldsmar.

They moved to the area eight months ago, but had never visited the Dali. J.R. didn't mind the crowd. Her husband, though, had lightly suggested coming back another time.

"There's bigger stresses in the world," she said, "than waiting in line."

Longtime St. Petersburg residents Cindi Para and Linda Villinger decided to skip it. They began their day perusing the Chihuly Collection museum, where more than 100 people had lined up before the doors opened at 10 a.m. The two had hoped to visit the Dali, but decided against the wait. They instead opted for the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

"I'm already getting tired," Para said. "And it's warm."

Thermometers in St. Pete crept near 90 degrees, but that didn't hamper the gathering throng outside the Florida Holocaust Museum, which offered little shade.

Mark and Marylee Owens, equipped with an umbrella, had been waiting in the slow-moving line with their 11-year-old son J.P. for about 15 minutes.

The family attends at least one location every year on Free Museum Day. They had previously seen the Dali, the Museum of History and the Museum of Fine Arts.

"We've never done this one before," said Mark. "We're really excited."

Free Museum Day draws crowds 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season

    College

    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  2. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium

    Blogs

    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32 (left), was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with boss Larry McCabe when he saw three men …

  3. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH

    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  4. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company

    College

    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.
  5. Lightning prospects mantra: You never know when NHL chance will appear

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Brett Howden said he watched closely last season as former junior teammate Brayden Point made an remarkable rise to a Lightning regular in his first year pro.

    Lightning prospect Mikhail Sergachev skates during the Lightning Development Camp Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]