Plan your weekend
Boat parade and fireworks The Channelside district in Tampa is making Labor Day festive with a lighted boat parade followed by fireworks starting at 5 p.m. Sunday. The Florida Aquarium is getting into the act with extended hours until 9 p.m., and admission (regularly $23.95 for adults) is only $15 after 5 p.m. Then at 8:30 p.m., head to the Channelside waterway to view the boat parade and fireworks. The epicenter will be the Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive.
Shephard's Old School weekend The beach is a natural setting for a Labor Day party, and Shephard's on Clearwater Beach is going old school for their weekend-spanning soiree. Saturday's itinerary includes Tampa's link to the Digital Undergound, Shock G, and super-posi rap collective Arrested Development will be there, too. American trance pioneer BT heads a Sunday docket loaded with DJs, so come back for one more round with Dutch production duo Vicetone, who appeared on DJ Mag's Top 100 list in 2013 en route to earning props from big names David Guetta, Avicii and Tiesto. Admission is $12 Saturday; free with ticket Sunday and Monday. Shephard's Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. (727) 441-6875.
Tampa Bay Theatre Festival This fledgling project hopes to challenge the area's actors and expose audiences to things they might not otherwise see. All events are open to the public for different fees. They include workshops; acting, playwriting, auditioning, improv and selected plays will be performed at Stageworks Theatre or the Straz Center. The festival runs Friday through Sunday in Tampa. Check tampabaytheatrefestival.com for dates, times, locations and prices for each event.
Gecko Fest This whimsical family street festival and walking parade celebrates Labor Day weekend and the end of summer with mermaids, fire performers, acrobats, street performers and more than 200 vendors, plus live music on two stages. Free. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Gulfport, Beach Boulevard, Gulfport. (727) 322-5217.
Bobcat Goldthwait Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait no longer does the manic, scratchy-voiced character that made him one of the most popular standups of the '80s. And these days he's been building a solid reputation as a successful, Sundance-favorite film director. His shows at the Tampa Improv Friday and Saturday are some of his first back on the stage after the death of his best friend of nearly 30 years, Robin Williams. Goldthwait's own comedy has evolved over time with riffs on politics, divorce, going broke and his career as a director of film and TV. He will perform at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday at the Improv in Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $20. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.
Summer Jam 10 One of Ybor's most beloved music festivals is calling it quits, and curators are going out with a bang. Its specialty has been booking artists before they break. The trend continues when a pair of Georgia acts, Reptar and New Madrid, provide dance-ready hyphy-pop and raging rock 'n' roll while 11 of Florida's best make the Sunshine State proud. DeLand psych-folkers Roadkill Ghost Choir just played Lollapalooza, for example, and Gainesville art-rock outfit Dear + Glorious Physician are in the midst of a spirited reunion. Fans of quirky alt-folk should definitely catch DieAlps! or Good Graeff. Don't overlook Have Gun, Will Travel; Beach Day; Sunbears!; Gwan Massive; and Millionyoung, though, because they'll be peppering the eclectic bill with everything from Americana to electronica, making this final lineup one of strongest the fest has ever seen. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., and Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $20-$25. thxmgmtlive.com.
Take the dog
Dogs with Dogs In celebration of National Dog Day, the boutique pet store Royal Pets Market and Resort in Tampa will host a festival for dogs and their humans that will include free hot dogs for owners, pet photos, paw painting, pet caricatures and adoptable dogs on site. It's free but they will be taking donations to benefit the Humane Society from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Royal Pets Market and Resort, 16010 Mapledale Drive, Tampa. (321) 960-0474.
Tampa Bay Rays At the Rays home stand this weekend there are some fun keepsakes you can score if you buy special tickets. Friday's Ticket Tandem ticket, which starts at $20, gets you a Raymond figurine as a garden gnome they are calling a Rally Gnome. And on Saturday, the Rays have a special Star Wars ticket when they take on the dark lords of the Boston Red Sex. The Star Wars tickets start at $45 and you get special Rebel Pilot Wil Myers Bobblehead. You don't need a special ticket for Sunday's "Family Fun Day" with free parking for cars with four or more passengers and a DJ Kitty Dance Party after the game for kids where they can run the bases. The concourse will have free activities as well as face painters and balloon artists. Kids also get a giveaway of a free Matt Moore Plate and Cup Set. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-888-326-7297. Games are 7:10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1:10 p.m. Sunday.
Home shows We have two home shows this weekend. The Florida's Largest Labor Day Home Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds Friday through Monday has more than 900 exhibits and a home artisan collection featuring works of area artists and crafters. $8, $7 seniors, 11 and younger free. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. The Tampa Home and Garden Show at the Tampa Convention Center will have a celebrity visit by John Godwin, the dim employee who is one of two non-Robertson family regulars on Duck Dynasty There will also be builders, garden displays, security systems and more. Free. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. Toll-free 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.