Plan your weekend
Bay Area Renaissance Festival This annual festival brings together wizards, warriors and commoners to populate a replica of a 16th century village brimming with entertainment and street theater. It's not just the actors who dress up; Ren-Fest regulars show up in full medieval costumes. This opening weekend indulges the sins of wine, chocolate and romance with activities including grape stomping, a chocolate festival, wine tasting, cupcake wars, fudge fling, and a couple's chocolate pie eating contest. Admission is $16.95, $8.95 ages 5-12 (advance); $19.95, $15.95 seniors/students, $11.95 ages 5-12 (at the gate); $10 dogs. It's held next to the Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Toll-free 1-800-601-4848. It runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 6.
Rays Fan Fest If only the Rays could draw the crowds during games that they'll likely see Saturday at Rays Fan Fest. Once again, preseason is a time for hope. Why is this event so popular? Easy. One, its admission price: free. Two: It's a really fun day for both baseball nerds and casual fans. Rays Fan Fest is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Parking is also free. Here's a tip: Kids get the best access. Adults seeking autographs must go online to raysbaseball.com/fanfest and purchase a ticket scheduling a time slot with a specific player. (There will be no sales during Fan Fest.
Take the kids
$6 Day at the Zoo Load all the kids into the car and get ready to visit all your favorite animals. Everyone gets into the zoo for $6 Sunday, but get there early because it gets crowded for this deal (Admission is normally $24.95 for adults). Extra parking is available next to the Tampa Greyhound Track with free shuttles running to the zoo. Park in indicated areas. $6. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Runway Fashion Funds the Cure
Carson Kressley (How to Look Good Naked, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) hosts the annual fashion fundraiser, featuring a runway fashion show with young models who are currently battling, or have battled, cancer. $100. Tampa International Jet Center, 4751 Jim Walter Blvd., Tampa. (813) 269-0955. 6-8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Gasparilla Distance Classic This road race attracts elite runners and first-timers alike. The chief attraction is the 15K on Saturday, which takes runners along an out-and-back course from downtown Tampa. The 5K and 15K is Saturday, and Sunday features an 8K and a half marathon. Friday features packet pick-up and the Health and Fitness Expo. A post-race celebration takes place in Cotanchobee Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. $5-$85 depending on race. For details, see tampabayrun.com.
Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Festival Grab your sampling glass and get ready for a day of beer, bourbon, music, cigars and barbecue. The festival features 60 beers, 40 bourbons, barbecue experts from around the country, and much more. It's noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa; tickets are $35 advance, $40 day of, $25 designated driver, $75 VIP. See beerandbourbon.com.
Jim Breuer When Breuer returns to Tampa Bay this weekend, it'll mark something of a homecoming. The Saturday Night Live veteran lived in Pinellas County when he was starting out, working with touring Florida comics like Larry the Cable Guy, Darrell Hammond and Brian Regan. "It was such an amazing time and I learned so much about everything — about life, about the road, about becoming a comedian," Breuer told tbt* last year. Breuer will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. Tickets are $29-$49 at theclubti.com. Then he'll be at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35. For details, see spcollege.edu/palladium.
Fiesta Day This annual street festival celebrates the cuisine, culture and heritage of the Latin immigrants who settled in Ybor City at the turn of the 20th century. Dance in the streets Saturday to Latin music, sample ethnic cuisine, and shop for gifts among the vendors. Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Fiesta Day will be centered at the Italian Club, 1731 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free (food and drink additional).