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Plan your weekend: Cuban Sandwich Festival, Rays opening day, new food event at the zoo

Plan your weekend


Cuban Sandwich Festival: The sixth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival gets pressing at the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College this weekend. A team of Cuban sandwich professionals will attempt to break the record for the world's largest Cuban sandwich at noon Saturday. There's also a kids Cuban sandwich smackdown and a Cuban sandwich eating contest. But at 11 a.m. Sunday, the grown-up smackdown features restaurants from around the world including London and Seoul, South Korea, competing for the title of world's best Cuban sandwich. Organizers are expecting 45,000 people to attend. Expect many an argument that day about what constitutes the perfect Cuban (We're on Team Mustard and Genoa salami!). There are celebrity judges and the crowd will name its own Cuban sandwich king or queen. 1320 E Palm Ave., Tampa. Free admission.


Rays opening day: On Saturday there will be a Rays Pep Rally at Tropicana Field where kids ages 14 and younger can run the bases after taking a turn at batting practice and getting photos with DJ Kitty and Raymond. Free. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Then on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays play the New York Yankees at 1:10 p.m. in the Rays home opener. It's a sold-out game, but you can sometimes pick up tickets in the parking lot. All fans get a free schedule magnet. It's also Family Fun Day with free parking for all cars with four or more people. Also, post game activities include kids running the bases and a DJ Kitty dance party. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-888-326-7297.

Date night

Feast With the Beasts: The Lowry Park Zoo's new dine-around event opens Saturday and Sunday. "Feasters" 21 and older will have reserved access to the zoo's private party yard and can indulge in unlimited samplings from some of Tampa Bay's top restaurants, accented with an open bar of wine, specialty brews and craft cocktails. And it won't be strong drinks that make you see life-size dinosaurs at the zoo. There's a special exhibit there right now of outdoor displays of towering dinosaurs that move, blink and roar. 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. $59.95; $39.95 zoo members. Proceeds support animal care, education programs and wildlife conservation efforts. (813) 935-8552.


Street rods and luxury cars: This weekend is a great one for car enthusiasts. The Southeast Street Rod Nationals at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa will have gleaming vintage autos from the '40s and souped-up muscle cars from the '50s and '60s, manufacturer and dealer displays, a swap meet, model car show and "Women's World" vendors. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $15, $6 ages 6-12, 5 and younger free. (901) 452-4030. In Vinoy Park, the Festivals of Speed on Sunday will have a collection of more than 300 exotic cars, motorcycles and luxury brands at the waterfront park 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $20; $70 Supercar Lounge; $100 VIP. (353) 385-9450.


Gasp! Gasparilla Fringe Festival: The one-night-only Gasp! Gasparilla Fringe Festival returns Friday, showcasing multiple edgy, innovative performances from theater, dance, spoken word, improv, comedy and carnival. You'll likely run across cheerleaders, belly dancers and a flash mob or two around the Tampa Museum of Art. You can also catch the museum's current shows — Alex Katz: Black and White and Who Shot Sports — as well as its permanent collection. 6-10 p.m. 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. $25 advance, $30 at the door; $50-$60 VIP. (813) 739-4879.


Art in Bloom: Spring is officially here, and with it comes a local tradition, Art in Bloom at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. The event fills the museum with approximately 40 floral designs by professional florists, talented hobbyists and members of the Stuart Society. The floral designs go on view today and continue through Monday, with extended hours to allow for maximum viewing potential. For more info, call (727) 896-2667 or visit


Soulful Tenor: Tampa Bay jazz legend Ernie Calhoun is the subject of Soulful Tenor, a documentary getting its world premiere Sunday at Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City. Directed by Arielle Stevenson, Soulful Tenor traces Calhoun's musical career that began on Tampa's Central Avenue and went on the road in 1938, crossing paths with greats like Ray Charles. The movie will be followed by a concert featuring local jazz all-stars. Calhoun's tribute is presented by Tampa Jazz Club and Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association with a portion of the proceeds going to their scholarship programs. $15 advance, $20 day of. Free for HCC-Ybor students with ID.


Florida Orchestra: Badly reviewed and unenthusiastically received, Sergei Rachmaninoff's first symphony was nearly his last. The Russian composer went into a three-year depression. Symphony No. 1 stayed dormant for half a century before someone took a chance on it again. This weekend, the Florida Orchestra will play Symphony No. 1, as well as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso. The versatile Ignat Solzhenitsyn will conduct this Masterworks concert and play the piano concerto. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa; 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) 892-3337.

Rock stars

The Wilson Van: Patrick Wilson, the Emmy-, Tony- and Golden Globe-nominated actor who grew up in St. Petersburg, is reuniting the family band for a charity concert Friday. The Wilson Van features Patrick on vocals, drums and guitar; his older brother, WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor Mark Wilson, on lead guitar; and eldest brother Paul Wilson, an ad executive, on vocals. They play one or two charity concerts a year, always with a heavy dose of Van Halen and other classic rock covers. 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35 and up, with meet-and-greets available, benefitting the Wilson Family Foundation. (727) 794-7100.

Plan your weekend: Cuban Sandwich Festival, Rays opening day, new food event at the zoo 03/29/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:57pm]
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