Plan your weekend
Florida Strawberry Festival: The hugely popular festival that combines an old-fashioned fair with a sparkling musical lineup opens today through March 11 in Plant City. The midway and classic strawberry shortcake will be enhanced this year by a new berry-red amphitheater that seats some 10,500 fans — better to see Big and Rich and Cowboy Troy on Saturday and Reba McEntire on Sunday. But there will be no free first-come, first-served tickets to headlining shows, a staple of years past. Gates are open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. Most festival parking is $5 per car; prices vary in independent lots around the grounds. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 children 6-12, free for kids 5 and under. For maps and a full schedule of see flstrawberryfestival.com.
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival: The foodie festival returns for its fourth year this weekend through April 29 with free concerts in Gwazi Park and noshable nabs like duck fat truffle fries and a new short rib and Brie grilled cheese. Florida is well-represented in the craft beer stands, and there’s a kiosk just for varieties of the trendy rose wines. It kicks off with ’90s rockers Sister Hazel (All for You) and Edwin McCain (I’ll Be) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and salsa collective Grupo Niche at 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission starts at $89.99 online; kids 5 and younger can get in free if registered online for a Preschool Pass. The food and drink stalls open at noon on weekends. 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. buschgardens.com.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts: Tampa’s prestigious outdoor art festival returns to Curtis Hixon Park Saturday and Sunday, bringing a high-caliber mix of artists working in fine art and fine craft. The festival also spotlights promising artists in its Emerging Artist Showcase, and in the spirit of encouraging the next generation is the Art Collectors in Training program lets kids ages 6 to 14 shop for a piece of art, mostly between $5 and $10, donated by the festival’s participating artists. The festival is free to attend and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 600 N Ashley Drive.
Tampa Pro: In the skateboard scene, the Skatepark of Tampa is a big wheel and this weekend’s Tampa Pro is considered one of the top skateboarding events of the year. Rapper Lil Wayne, a huge skateboarding fan, has been in attendance several times, so be on the lookout for Weezy. In addition to all the skating action, there’s also a late-night party Saturday with an open bar and concrete jams to celebrate the competition’s 25th anniversary. Admission is $10-$15 at Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. (813) 621-6793. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Some days sell out, so check skateparkoftampa.com for tickets.
Body of work
Nude Nite: The three-night, 21-and-older sensual art event returns to Tampa today through Saturday and it takes the art seriously. It arrived in Tampa for the first time in 2009 and regularly had sold-out nights. The popup event in a warehouse in Tampa’s Channelside district brings more than 200 contemporary works that explore nudity and the human form in thoughtful ways. But it also throws in some features not usually found at art shows, including burlesque, aerial performances, body painting and a full bar. $25-$30. 6 p.m.-midnight Thursday through Saturday at 1400 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (321) 229-8110. nudenite.com.
Skyway 10K: More than 7,000 runners will be racing north over the Sunshine Skyway, Florida’s tallest bridge, Sunday morning for the first Sunshine Skyway 10K. While the race is sold out, there will be free family-friendly activities at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, including music and a live feed of the race. Northbound traffic on the bridge will be shut down from 4 to 10 a.m., but southbound traffic will remain open.
Dance Theatre Of Harlem: Since 1969, this company helped shake up the dance world, incorporating classical modes into contemporary storytelling and even redefining ballet. The company has played to sold-out houses ever since, and developed a school and arts education program with a worldwide influence. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall. $25 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
The Florida Orchestra Pops: Hot Latin Nights: Pops conductor and arranger Jeff Tyzik will lead the Mambo Kings this weekend in what promises to be a lively program with the Florida Orchestra. The songlist includes hits by Piazzolla and Tito Puente (Oye Como Va) and many more. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-5798.
Danay Suarez: The last weekend of "Climate Change," the exhibit at the USF Contemporary Art Museum that includes Cuban and American artists reflecting on the change in the relationship between the two countries, brings Danay Suarez, a key figure of Cuba’s underground hip-hop scene, to Tampa. She has collaborated with Stephen Marley and Ben Folds. The showcase from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday features a performance by Suarez with Prodigy youth, and she will discuss her life in Cuba. Free. University Area Community Development Center, 14013 N 22nd St., Tampa. (813) 386-6687.
Tampa Bay Boat Show: With spring approaching, you may want to see what the area’s top boat dealers/manufacturers have to offer and learn about the latest in boating and fishing supplies and accessories at this three-day sales event. Free. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (727) 893-8523.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.