Saturday, February 24, 2018
Events

St. Petersburg's Localtopia festival aims to spotlight local businesses

Independent business alliance and advocacy group Keep Saint Petersburg Local is having a two-year anniversary, and it's celebrating the only way it knows how: by promoting local businesses and the city.

"Localtopia is a celebration of all things local," KSPL founder Olga Bof said of the free event Saturday. "We're trying to change how downtown is perceived."

The much-disparaged Williams Park will be the site for the event, which is expected to draw more than 100 local vendors and 3,000 to 5,000 people.

"We would like for people to look at Williams Park in a completely different light," Bof said. "It was our city's first park. It's in the heart of the community, and it's where people used to gather in the '30s and '40s to hear the bandstand."

The event is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the hours purposefully extended into the evening so guests can experience the park with its twinkling tree lights and downtown backdrop.

A beer garden will feature new St. Pete breweries, Cycle Brewing, Green Bench Brewing and St. Petersburg Brewing Company. Antique and vintage stores like Paper Street Market will have seating areas that can be booked by the hour for $60 as a VIP lounge. A children's corner will feature hands-on crafts and activities, and the bandstand will feature performances by members Bay Street Music Studio and acts such as the Betty Fox Band.

Vendors booths will range from arts and culture to health and wellness, as well as food and services. The organizers are hoping that will expose businesses to new customers.

"Anything we can do to help St. Pete is definitely how we want to do things," says Kurt Cuccaro, owner of Mazzaro's Italian Market, which is sponsoring the event. "We have a lot of out-of-state guests but we also have a lot of local customers and we'd like to give back to them."

The local celebration comes on the heels of a major endorsement for the city. This month, the New York Times mentioned St. Petersburg as one of 52 places to visit in 2014, citing local businesses such as the Hollander Hotel as must-sees. At the same time, KSPL has seen its businesses and customers rally in favor of independently owned enterprises. The organization started with 50 members and now has more than 400 listed under its newly published Members Directory & Guide to St. Petersburg, which the organization hopes will serve as an index for tourists and locals alike.

Comments
Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

TAMPA — Could your 4-year-old be the next Lulu? A touring Broadway show wants to find out. Waitress, which runs April 24-29 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is looking for a local 4- to 5-year old to play a small but c...
Published: 02/23/18
Top things to do on Friday, Feb. 23

Top things to do on Friday, Feb. 23

Blast Friday: The Romantics: The family-friendly food and craft vendor festival featuring a free live concert and a beer garden. 5:30 p.m., 400 Block of Cleveland Street, Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, Clearwater. Free. (727) 464-7200. Pasco C...
Published: 02/23/18
The Florida Orchestra taps composer Michael Ippolito to capture the state’s sound

The Florida Orchestra taps composer Michael Ippolito to capture the state’s sound

ST. PETERSBURG — The composer sat in semi-darkness, his hand drifting like a slow pendulum at his side. On the Mahaffey Theater stage, the violins led a creaking and mysterious journey through a cypress swamp, the inspiration for the first movement.T...
Published: 02/23/18
Cooking Channel’s ‘Carnival Eats’ to feature Florida Strawberry Festival

Cooking Channel’s ‘Carnival Eats’ to feature Florida Strawberry Festival

PLANT CITY — It’s official. The Florida Strawberry Festival is a destination festival for foodies of all kinds, from patrons to vendors and now, national television.Carnival Eats, one of the Cooking Channel’s most popular shows, will stop by the Stra...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 24

Bay Area Renaissance Festival: Pirates and Pets: A time-travel village of kings, queens, jousting, jugglers, mimes, madrigals, archery contests and a human chess match. 10 a.m., Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $21.95...
Updated: 2 hours ago
‘Annihilation’ is strange, beautiful biological mystery

‘Annihilation’ is strange, beautiful biological mystery

Alex Garland’s Annihilation is a bracing blend of cerebral sci-fi and grindhouse terror, a genre movie that’s more, maybe too much for some viewers.Based on Tallahassee author Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, Annihilation on the surface is a dead-ducks missi...
Published: 02/22/18
Review: John Dufresne gives an entertaining short course in ‘Flash! Writing the Very Short Story’

Review: John Dufresne gives an entertaining short course in ‘Flash! Writing the Very Short Story’

Don’t tell John Dufresne you don’t have time to read.In fact, don’t tell him you don’t have time to write. Instead, spend a little time with his new book, Flash! Writing the Very Short Story. You’ll find a treasure trove of stories you can read in th...
Published: 02/22/18
Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Extreme Monster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and 20 laps around t...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Published: 02/21/18
An original clarinet and bassoon composition highlights Tampa Bay Symphony concert

An original clarinet and bassoon composition highlights Tampa Bay Symphony concert

ST. PETERSBURG — After the National Anthem and some introductory remarks by the maestro, a teacher from Chattanooga, Tenn., addressed a crowd at the Palladium Tuesday about the short work they were about to hear from the Tampa Bay Symphony."This piec...
Published: 02/21/18