Saturday, April 21, 2018
Events

Music acts help Ruskin Seafood Festival boost popularity

RUSKIN — The emphasis may be on the shrimp, grouper and crabs, but it's the diverse entertainment that encourages guests to linger at the annual Ruskin Seafood Festival, according to Melanie Morrison, executive director of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the annual event.

"I think one of the reasons for the festival's growth over the past 27 years is the effort we've made to take the festival to the next level each year," Morrison said. "What began as a little community event has evolved into a festival that attracts thousands of visitors from around the state."

Ranked among USA Today's top seafood festivals and promoted by Visit Florida, the state's official tourism arm, more than 25,000 seafood lovers are expected to storm the rural south Hillsborough County community Saturday (Nov. 5) and Sunday (Nov. 6) to sample seafood dishes from top Tampa Bay restaurants and food trucks.

"It's amazing," Morrison said. "It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Now we're getting national attention."

Beyond the crab cakes and coconut shrimp, Morrison believes the festival's lure lies in the chamber's efforts to provide activities and entertainment that appeal to all tastes and interests.

"When we began, we had maybe one local band and a DJ for entertainment," she said. "Now we've created a diversity committee that focuses on different musical genres. This year, we'll have nine bands perform throughout the weekend offering reggae, rock, country, oldies and jazz music."

Among this year's musical offerings is a trio of musicians that represents its own circle of diversity.

Pianist John O'Leary from Mexico, bassist Alejandro Arenas of Colombia and drummer Mark Feinman of Clearwater met while majoring in music at the University of South Florida 10 years ago.

"We played music together and became best friends," Feinman said. "Eventually, we decided to form La Lucha, which means 'the fight' or 'the struggle,' because everyone has their own struggle to overcome."

The Tampa Bay trio has won statewide acclaim performing a mix of Latin-inspired rhythms, jazz standards, "twisted arrangements" of pop songs as well as original compositions.

"We do concerts and festivals all around Florida but this is our first time at the Ruskin Seafood Festival," Feinman said. "We're really looking forward to it. We love performing at outdoor festivals and plan to play some high-energy jazz and Latin arrangements for the crowd."

La Lucha will take the stage from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Returning for an encore performance will be the Tampa-based reggae band, Spy vs Spy, led by Jay Roberts of Temple Terrace. Roberts said the band's mix of soca, zouk, reggae and calypso sounds are tailor made for the festival's tropical venue at E.G. Simmons Park on the shores of Tampa Bay.

Spy vs Spy will perform from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 5).

Also included in the musical lineup are Ronnie Davis, performing oldies; Kozmic Pearl offering classic rock and dance music; the 241 Band with more classic rock; Zebron & James playing Southern rock and country; the roots rock music of Sixgun Republic; and the Christian rock sounds of 3 O'Clock Rain.

"Every year we add a new element to the festival, and this year it's a saltwater fishing tournament," Morrison said.

Participating anglers will launch from Simmons Park on Sunday and meet back at the park for a 1 p.m. weigh-in.

Also new at the festival is a 90-foot ninja warrior kids and adults course, sponsored by Jubilee Gymnastics and The Shanobi School in Tampa.

"We've tried to provide a balance of activities for kids and adults," Morrison said. "We want this to be an event everyone will remember."

Contact D'Ann Lawrence White at [email protected]

Comments
Dynasty bids farewell to Tampa with one last show

Dynasty bids farewell to Tampa with one last show

Local hip-hop artist Dynasty is on her way to Hollywood, but before she goes she will grace Tampa with one more performance.Originally from New York, Diana "Dynasty" Hardy came to Tampa in 2004 and quickly became acclimated to the area’s underground ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

American Stage in the Park: The Producers: Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy sees a down-and-out producer and his accountant scheme to produce the most notorious flop in theater history. Through May 13. 8 p.m., Demens Landing, 100 First Ave. SE, St. Pe...
Published: 04/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 21

Kenny Chesney: The tight-jeaned country superstar is making his first return to Tampa in five years and will be joined by country music’s hottest, new act Old Dominion after the release of their sophomore album Happy Endings which debuted No. 1 on Bi...
Published: 04/20/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

If Willis McCall were a fictional character, he’d be too far over the top to be believable. Readers (and editors) would scoff that no one could be such a monster of violent, unabashed racism — and get away with it for so long. But McCall...
Published: 04/20/18
Tampa, Brandon 4-year-olds earn starring roles in Waitress at the Straz

Tampa, Brandon 4-year-olds earn starring roles in Waitress at the Straz

TAMPATwo little girls, strangers to each other just a month ago and now best friends, will become authentic stars this week as they perform in the Broadway musical hit, Waitress, at the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall.Both Lucy Capri, 5, of Tampa and Mad...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 20

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 20

Spyro Gyra: Nine-time Grammy nominated, contemporary jazz icons known for blending soul, Latin, pop, and world beat influences and one of the most famous instrumental ensembles of all time will perform. 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Cle...
Updated: 9 hours ago
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Updated: 9 hours ago
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18