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5 things to do under $5 Jan. 30-Feb.5

1 Bok Tower Gardens: It's free admission Saturday to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Bok Tower Gardens, the Lake Wales garden with a fascinating history. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham will be on hand as a speaker at a celebratory ceremony. And now some history: Pulitzer Prize-winning author and respected humanitarian Edward W. Bok became enchanted with an elevated plot near his winter retreat in Lake Wales, and he purchased land to transform into gardens featuring a majestic Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon. He used Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. — landscape architect of the White House, Jefferson Memorial, Washington National Cathedral and the National Zoo and the first director of the National Park Service — to create a lush tropical garden and bird sanctuary. He presented the property as a gift to the American people, and the gardens were dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on Feb. 1, 1929. For Saturday's celebration, visitors get a rare closer look past the iron gates that surround the 205-foot bell tower and nearer to the Great Brass Door, which weighs about 1,100 pounds and includes 32 panels showing the biblical story of how the world began. Guests will not be allowed inside the tower, however. Tours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales.

2 Blast Friday — Pure Prairie League: This month the block party in downtown Clearwater brings country-rock legends Pure Prairie League (Amie, Let Me Love You Tonight) for a free show along with a street festival with a variety of vendors, food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. The street fair begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with entertainment outside until 10 in the 400 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. Free.

3 Localtopia: A pet-friendly market of independent businesses will pop up in Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday featuring vendor booths by area businesses, live music, a beer garden, children's activities and live painting. Benefiting the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and Suncoast Center, some heavyweights among local businesses are joining in, with Mazzaro's Italian Market, Hideaway Cafe sponsoring the stage acts such as Rebekah Pulley, Betty Fox and Applebutter Express and beer garden sponsor Brown Distributing. It runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the park at Fourth Street and First Avenue N in St. Petersburg. Free admission.

4 Target Tuesday: With help from Target, the Glazer Children's Museum offers free admission to everyone from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. This month there will be character appearances at 2:30 and 4:30 by Clifford the Big Red Dog as they celebrate the big guy's birthday. The museum is at 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861.

5 St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival: The grounds of North Straub Park will transform into an outdoor gallery for this showcase of more than 100 national and international artists. The range of art will include painting, jewelry, sculpting, photography, woodworking, ceramics, fiber art and mixed media. There will be artists on site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free at the park at Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer

5 things to do under $5 Jan. 30-Feb.5 01/27/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 27, 2014 5:58pm]
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