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Plan your weekend Jan. 17-

Billy Joel in New York on New Year’s Eve. He’s at Times Forum on Friday.

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Billy Joel in New York on New Year’s Eve. He’s at Times Forum on Friday.

Plan your weekend

MUSIC

Billy Joel Is Friday the last time Billy Joel will play Tampa Bay? Over the past two decades he's been less and less keen to hit the road, though he did recently announce a monthly residency at Madison Square Garden. His show here is 8 p.m. Friday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $39.50-$119.50. (813) 301-2500.

Bond & Beyond with the Florida Orchestra The orchestra's Pops program will have three performances for your ears only, with vocalist Debbie Gravitte: 8 p.m. Friday at Ferguson Hall at Straz 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. A collection of rare Bond-movie memorabilia will also be featured at each show. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337, or toll-free 1-800-662-7286.

PARADE

Gasparilla Children's Parade This is the one where you have to behave. No alcohol. And definitely no wardrobe malfunctions, no matter how much you want those beads. Maybe that's why this one seems to keep growing every year, as people tire of the drunken hijinks of Gasparilla. This parade includes more than 100 units with dance groups, marching bands, krewes, an air invasion and a 23-minute pyrotechnic extravaganza. The parade, which starts at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, also will be broadcast live on Fox 13. It's free (reserved seating $28-$40) from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday. (813) 251-8844.

FOOD

Festival of Chocolate Chocoholics can kiss their resolutions goodbye. The Festival of Chocolate returns to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry for a three-day run starting Saturday to milk our need for all things cocoa, with chef demos, competitions, tastings, wine and chocolate pairings, kids' games, a fashion show and much more. The festival is included with regular MOSI admission ($21.95; senior, 60-up, $19.95; age 2-12, $17.95) and is $10 for museum members. For full details, see festivalofchocolate.com.

Taste of Safety Harbor The event is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, 105 N Bayshore Blvd., Safety Harbor. Participating restaurants include Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, Bar Louie, Copperheads Taphouse, The Sandwich on Main, Southern Fresh and more. $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Call (727) 726-2890 or visit safetyharborchamber.com.

TAKE THE KIDS

Monster Jam Returning to Raymond James Stadium for the first of two very loud stops in Tampa (the next one is Feb. 1), Monster Jam is like the professional wrestling of racing with decked-out monster trucks crushing or leaping over lesser cars and even school buses. Go early for tailgating and photos with the drivers and trucks. Monster Jam is at 7 p.m. Saturday at RayJay; tickets are $15-$100. For details, see monsterjam.com.

Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza The holiday and big parades are Monday, but on Sunday, bands from historically black colleges and universities throughout the South each put on a 10-minute halftime show featuring the trademark high-stepping moves, funky drumbeats, dancing and acrobatics. $10 advance, $12 at the gate, $15 VIP. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. (727) 388-9494. 4 p.m. Sunday.

COMEDY

Ralphie May The supersized comedian, who credits Sam Kinison as an inspiration, is an alum of Last Comic Standing, but doesn't shy away from touchy topics including race, gay weddings and dead celebrities. You'll cringe, but you'll laugh. Because he doesn't take anything seriously — except, maybe, his health after a near-death experience at Tampa General Hospital in 2011, when he was brought down by pneumonia and blood clots during a Mexican cruise. He's a family man now, but that hasn't softened his raunchy ways, or his popularity. He performs at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Tickets are $29.50-$49.50. strazcenter.org.

GET OUTSIDE

Treasure Island Kite Fest Kites of all shapes and sizes take flight behind the Thunderbird Resort on Treasure Island in a weekend-long show of tricks set to music, precision flying, huge themed kites and amateur fliers. Bring your own kite; vendors will also be on site selling kites and supplies. Weather permitting, there may be giant bubbles and a night kite flying session. It's all free from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday behind the Thunderbird Resort, 10700 Gulf Blvd. (727) 320-9463.

Plan your weekend Jan. 17- 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:55pm]
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