Plan your weekend March 9-11: Gasparilla Music Fest, Grand Prix, Valspar PGA golf, Adventure Island opens, Margaret Cho

Published March 9 2018
Updated March 9 2018


Gasparilla Music Festival: The Tampa music fest returns Saturday and Sunday with one of its best lineups ever, including Tonight Show house band the Roots, provocative singer-songwriter Father John, electric dance-rockers Spoon and moody indie-pop band Warpaint. Besides the music, bringing local foodie favorites like Indie Grilled Cheese and Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe’s Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. There’s even acts for the kids, such as Sunday’s performances by Imagination Movers at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Glazer Children’s Museum. The fest runs 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Advance tickets are $40 Saturday ($150 VIP), $30 Sunday ($100 VIP), or $60 for both days ($200 VIP). For a map, details on parking and full schedule, see



Firestone Grand Prix: Hear that buzz? The opening race for the Verizon IndyCar series is once again on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg this weekend. Tthe 1.8-mile waterfront course also brings side activities such as the Speed Zone, IndyCar Series Fan Village, beer gardens, driver autograph sessions, interactive games and exhibits. Three-time Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Helio Castroneves serves as this year’s grand marshal. Parking available at Tropicana Field for $10 with a free shuttle to select locations along the track. $20-$100 single day. The race track area is next Albert Whitted Airport and First Street SE, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-877-725-8849. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday.



Valspar Championship: The most-watched figure at this weekend’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor will be Tiger Woods, making his local PGA tournament debut. And then there’s Jake Owen, the country hunk behind the Barefoot Blue Jean Night. He and fellow country star Dustin Lynch will headline the tournament’s annual Saturday night concert. This year also brings an expanded food truck rally, spirits emporium and an exhibition of tiny homes that’s free to explore. Tournament passes start at $39 per day, $125 for the weekend at Gates open at 6 a.m. today and Friday, 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, 36750 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor.


Take the kids

Adventure Island Opening Day: Tampa’s water park opens for the season Friday and debuts its new Vanish Point drop slide attraction. Riders will step into one of two capsules on a 70-foot tower and wait for the floor to drop below them. Those too chicken for the drop floor have the option of getting horizontal on a 455-foot-long slide that ends with a high-speed finish. The water park remains open through Oct. 14. $59.99 online ages 3 and older. Adventure Island, 10001 McKinley Drive, Tampa. (888) 800-5447.


On the Cheap

5 things under $5: Cheap things happening this week



Margaret Cho: The comedian has been nominated for multiple Emmys and Grammys, and won an LA Pride lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the LGBT community. Cho described her second comedy music album, American Myth, as a "glamorous and glittering tribute to family, comedy, anger, fame, gayness, grief, fat pride, love and hate." She performs this weekend at the Improv at Centro Ybor at 8 10:30 p.m. Friday , and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 864-4000.


Berry good

Florida Strawberry Festival: The final weekend of theFlorida Strawberry Festival brings a music lineup of pop, funk, soul and even hip-hop. Today ’90s throwbacks Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa and Tone Loc (7:30 p.m., $35). Friday brings country trailblazer Charley Pride (3:30 p.m., $20) and funk-pop heroes Earth, Wind and Fire (7:30 p.m., $40). Saturday kicks off with ’90s country group Sawyer Brown (3:30 p.m., $20), but closes with soul and R&B studs Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Anthony Hamilton (7:30 p.m., $35). Finally, country reclaims the throne Sunday with Chase Bryant (3:30 p.m., $20) and A-list closer Brad Paisley (7:30 p.m., $50). Concert tickets are on top of regular festival admission, which is $10 adults 13 and up, $5 children ages 6-12, free (with parent) for kids 5 and under. 303 N Lemon St., Plant City.


Theme park

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival: For week two of the festival you can take in concerts by concerts by The Fray (Saturday) and country lineup of the Southern Uprising Tour bring Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws starting at 3 p.m. Sunday. More than a dozen food cabins will be serving gourmet food, wine and cocktails. Included with admission $104, 2 and younger free. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386. Noon Saturday-Sunday.


Play time

The Big Bounce America: A 20,000-square-foot inflatable attraction that’s touring the nation billed as the "world’s largest bounce house" will arrive this weekend in Odessa. The Big Bounce America stops at Keystone Park with slides and inflatable attractions including a Ninja Run, Monster Ball Pit, Lil’ Bouncer and yard games. The family-friendly event isn’t just for kids. There will be separate bounce sessions for toddlers (3 and under), juniors (7 and under), bigger kids (8 to 15) and adults, limited to ages 16 and up. The massive bounce house will be surrounded by a "bounce village" with food vendors, more inflatable attractions and restrooms. Admission is $9-$25 (varies by day and time). 888-718-4253. 1 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Keystone Recreation Center, 17928 Gunn Highway, Odessa.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.


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