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10 picks for Labor Day weekend

Blake Shelton

The 6-foot-5 megastar looms large over country music and he comes to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on Friday armed with hits that include feel-good cuts Honey Bee and God Gave Me You. A pair of the genre's brightest stars, Easton Corbin and actor-turned-ACM Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Jana Kramer, round out the bill. The show is 7:30 p.m. Friday at 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25-$54.75. (813) 740-2446.

Old Skool Labor Day Weekend

Sure, we've got a lot more summer swelter ahead of us, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the end of summer. One place to start is the annual four-day party at Shephard's on Clearwater Beach. Friday features a Tiki happy hour with drink specials from 4 to 7 p.m., All the Answers with DJ Chad Fox on the Tiki stage from 8 p.m. to close and DJ Ray's video-mix show in the Wave from 9 p.m. to close. Saturday's headliners include Black Sheep and the Ying Yang Twins and features All the Answers from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Tiki, Sweet Spot from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Tiki and Kidd Leow in the Wave from 9 p.m. to close. Sunday features an all-day and all- night party with entertainment by DJ Skribble, Run DMC's Rev Run and DJ Ruckus. Monday winds down, but doesn't stop with music by DJ Nova, Arock, DJ Deville, DJ Ku, DJ Ray and DJ Jamie Ferreira. The party continues until 3 a.m. most days. $10 (Fri.); $5-$15 (Sat.); $10-$20 (Sun.); $10 (Mon.) Shephard's Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. (727) 441-6875.

The World's Largest Food Truck Rally

Don't worry sports fans, Verizon has equipped the fairgrounds with TVs to broadcast sporting events so that Tampa can break Miami's record. The goal is more than 100 food trucks from across the Southeast at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa to break the Guinness World Record for the largest rally (62 in Miami). It's free admission Saturday; $6 parking. There will be 15 bands when it kicks off at 11 a.m. Feeding America also will be accepting non-perishable food donations until windows close at 8 p.m. For information, visit

End of Summer Boat Parade and Fireworks

Send summer off with a bang on Sunday — and maybe even pick up some cash. Decorated boats will cruise by the Tampa Riverwalk in a competition of light and bling for a grand prize of $2,500. There's free public viewing spots from the Sail Pavilion, 333 S Franklin St. in Tampa, and the Channelside Bay Plaza. Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m., boats launch at 7:30 and the fireworks start at 8:30 p.m. Entry is free for boats, kayaks, paddleboards and more. Register online at Another option is the discounted $15 entry to the Florida Aquarium after 5 p.m., where they will have extended hours until 8:45 p.m. and a good view of the boat parade and fireworks.

Gecko Fest

We're not sure what makes Gecko Fest so endearing. Maybe it's the way people wear arty versions of geckos on their heads for the Walking Parade. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is — a funky family festival with street performers ranging from magicians to this year's live mermaid display (trendy!). Also watch for face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, drummers and more than 200 vendors. The two big moments are the colorful, wacky, noisy Walking Parade at 6 p.m. (feel free to join anywhere along the route) and the infamous Street Dance at 8 p.m., along with live music on two stages. It's all free along Beach Boulevard in Gulfport from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Matt & Ben

Before she was crowned one of the coolest and most creative queens of young Hollywood, Mindy Kaling and her best friend Brenda Withers penned the wicked satire Matt & Ben, which imagines the story behind Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's rise from Boston nobodies to Hollywood golden boys thanks to Good Will Hunting. As in the off-Broadway production of 2003, which starred Withers and Kaling, Matt and Ben are played by women. This time Tampa actors Molly Leigh Healy and Lydia Marie Ferry take over the roles at Creative Loafing's CL Space in Ybor City through Saturday, with performances at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 and $10 for students, seniors and the military at 1911 N 13th St., Tampa. The producers promise free beer or wine with valid ID.

D.L. Hughley

The star of the sitcom The Hughleys and one of the four comedians featured in the Spike Lee film The Original Kings of Comedy, Hughley has had a wide-ranging career in acting, writing and political commentary. He's famous for his politically savvy satire that is often counter to conventional wisdom. You can see his standup act 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday at the Improv in Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $30. (813) 864-4000.

Tampa Home and Garden Show

You can meet Alison Victoria, the interior designer who has turned demolition into an art form on DIY Network's Kitchen Crashers, at this home show of more than 900 exhibits at the Tampa Convention Center. There will be builders, garden displays, security systems and more. It runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; $4 for seniors at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa.

Sea Monsters Revealed

This weekend is your last chance to see an 18-foot whale shark up close — inside and out — as Sea Monsters Revealed wraps up its visit to MOSI. The exhibit of the world's largest collection of "plastinated sea creatures" has more than 18 full-body sea creatures on display, along with more than 150 individual organs and smaller specimens. The exhibit's last day is Monday at MOSI, 4801 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa. Admission is $18.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and $12.95 for ages 2-12. For $5 more, you get admission to all MOSI exhibits. (813) 987-6000 or visit

Tail Waggin' Family Pet Walk and 5K Race for the Hounds

The event has a wide range of activities through out the evening with food vendors and games (4-9 p.m.), a pub crawl (7 p.m.) and a race (8 p.m.). Benefits the Humane Society of Pinellas. $30 family/petwalk, $30 5K run, $10 pub/restaurant crawl. Safety Harbor City Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor. (727) 726-2890. It all starts at 4 p.m. Saturday.

10 picks for Labor Day weekend 08/28/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 10:48am]
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