Plan your weekend
Strawberry Festival: The annual Plant City blast runs today through March 13 and it's hard to imagine a more perfect act for the Florida Strawberry Festival than Donny and Marie Osmond. The squeaky-clean sibs are the highest-priced act at this year's festival, with reserved seats at $55 for the show 7:30 p.m. Sunday. And their "little bit country, little bit rock 'n' roll" philosophy sounds a lot like the fest itself. Among the acts booked: Big & Rich (Friday 7:30, $25-$30); Martina McBride (7:30 p.m. March 9, $20-$25); rapper Lecrae (3:30 p.m. Saturday, $25); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick (7:30 p.m. Saturday, $20-$25). Admission $10, $5 ages 6-12, 5 and younger free. Parking is $5, $10-$15 RVs and buses. flstrawberryfestival.com/strawberry-central.
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival: Returning for a second helping, the festival brings eight weekends of culinary creations and a concert series on weekends starting Saturday through April 24. There will be 11 different culinary cabins set up along Gwazi Park with small plates of gourmet goods and more than 120 wines, beers and cocktails. A concert series kicks off with Gary Allan and Huey Lewis and the News this weekend and will include Andy Grammer, Lynyrd Skynrd, Meatloaf, the All-American Rejects and O.A.R. It runs noon to 9 p.m., with concerts at 6 p.m. included with admission. Food samples start at $4 and drinks start at $7.50. The park has sampler tickets of $24.99-$44.99 that get you five to 10 smaller-sized samples of drinks and food; online at buschgardens.com.
Gasparilla Festival Of The Arts: The big, bountiful art show now in its 46th year takes over downtown Tampa Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 250 artists will fill their white display tents with jewelry, painting and mixed media, as well as photography, wood sculptures and glass objects. The level of quality is high because of Gasparilla's reputation and its $74,500 in prize money, one of the largest prizes in the southeastern U.S. The festival inhabits Curtis Hixon Park, next to the Tampa Museum of Art off Ashley Drive overlooking the Hillsborough River. Take the kids to the Art Collectors in Training, a kids-only shopping zone where everything is priced between $5 and $10. With a purchase comes the artist's name and booth number so the young collector can meet the creator. Suggested ages are 6 to 14. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also for kids is a free hands-on area operated by the Tampa Museum. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. gasparillaarts.com.
Tampa Pro: The Skatepark of Tampa's premier event has always been a big deal in the skateboarding world. Today through Sunday, there will skating action with top professional skateboarders, but the surrounding parties are just as interesting. They will include a show by rapper Yelawolf, at Saturday's after-party (included with admission or $16 for the concert only). On Friday, you can head to the Bricks, 1327 E Seventh Ave. in Ybor City, after the skatepark closes and see selected works by Spike Jonze, director of Being John Malkovich and Her, who got his start filming street skateboarders. The skatepark opens at 9 a.m. today through Sunday where you can watch tricks and see qualifying and semi-final rounds. Admission is $15, $30 weekend pass at Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. (813) 621-6793.
Tampa Bay Beer Week: The annual celebration of Tampa Bay's craft and specialty beer culture, Tampa Bay Beer Week starts Friday with 7venth Sun brews at the free official kickoff party at 10 p.m. at the Pour House at Grand Central, 1208 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. But Beer Week, which runs through March 15, features multiple events, ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings and beer dinners. The Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival on Saturday in Tampa's Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park lets you sample your way through more than 200 beers crafted by more than 50 Florida breweries. Tickets are $48.50-$69.50 at floridabrewersguild.org, and it runs 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Or head to Dunedin's Edgewater Park starting at noon Saturday for Dunedin House of Beer's sixth annual Craft Beer Fest, with live music all day, local food, arts and crafts and vendors. Free admission. Find the complete Beer Week lineup at tampabaybeerweek.com.
Wild Splash: The festival put on by WLLD 94.1-FM has a big-name headliner in Lil Wayne, 18-year-old Florida phenom Kodak Black — who just scored a hot feature on French Montana's new mixtape Wave Gods — along with Dougie F, JR Castro and a few possible surprises. This year's Wild Splash once again sold out in advance; the only way to win tickets is through the station. If you can't get in to see the concert, there are always parties on the side. Club Skye (1509 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City) will host an official pre-party with Dougie F and Castro on Friday night, and an after-party with Lil Dicky on Saturday. Whiskey North (11921 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) is slated to host an after-party with Yo Gotti, while AJA Channelside (290 S Meridien Ave., Tampa) will bring in Fabolous. Wild Splash opens at 1 p.m. Saturday at Coachman Park; the show should wrap up by 7:30 p.m. For details on ticket giveaways and a list of what is and isn't allowed at Wild Splash, see wild941.com.
Dunedin Fine Art Center: Trashy Treasures and Contain It: These popular annual events return Friday and Saturday with high-level "trash," with people donating unwanted art and art supplies that are put up for sale for new owners. A silent auction is held Friday and anything remaining is part of a sale Saturday. Contain It provides artists with PODS (those storage containers) that they decorate. Visitors get a look-see inside them along with photo-ops. The center is at 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin, and the fun begins at 6 p.m. Friday at a party with cash bar, live music and free hot dogs. Admission is $10. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is free. dfac.org or (727) 298-3322 .
Bobcat Goldthwait: He's of most recognizable comedians in the biz, and his stand-up show riffs on politics, going broke, and his career as a writer and director of film. His film Call Me Lucky, a documentary about funnyman Barry Crimmin, won Best Documentary at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. He performs Friday and Saturday at Tampa's Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. improvtampa.com.
Il Volvo: Up-and-coming "popera" stars Il Volo, a trio of young Italian singers who won last year's Sanremo Music Festival, come to Tampa on Sunday. Baritone Gianluca Ginoble and tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto were discovered as kids during a televised singing competition. A producer decided to put them together, modeled after the Three Tenors (Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti). The result was worldwide fame, including appearances on The Tonight Show, American Idol and the final episode of HBO's Entourage. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $49.50-$110.(813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
SunLit Festival: Now in its second year, this St. Petersburg celebration promises an eclectic 10-day festival for bookworms with a literary pub crawl, musical performances, a Shakespeare play, a mural creation, poetry readings, discussions, workshops and events for kids at local libraries. It kicks off Friday with eight writers in a "live literary combat" and winds down on March 13 with a Studio@620 showing of a documentary in progress about Beat novelist Jack Kerouac, who spent his last years here. Most events are free, though the Kerouac screening is $5. Friday's Lucha Libro literary combat is free, 7-10 p.m., at Bloom Art Center, 910 Fifth Ave. N. Pairs of writers get a prompt and five minutes for spontaneous creation, and the audience picks the winner. For a complete events list and updates, go to sunlitfestival.org.
Take the family
Picnic in the Park: Grab some chairs and umbrellas for an old-fashioned picnic on Sunday. The annual picnic in the park at the Henry B. Plant Museum aims to look like a scene out of Sunday in the Park With George, with games like croquet and badminton and table games including dominoes, checkers, jacks or tiddlywinks. There will be strolling models in vintage clothing, art activities and entertainment including a barber shop quartet and a theatrical performance. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but you need to get there early to stake out a good shady spot. Pack your lunch or plan on hitting one of the food trucks on site. Admission is free, and $1 museum admission will be offered. 401 W Kennedy Blvd., on the campus of the University of Tampa.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne, email@example.com. Follow @SharonKWn