Valentine's Day: Don't forget your sweetie on Friday. Who knows romance better than Nicholas Sparks? The author of The Notebook and Dear John speaks Thursday night at the University of South Florida in Tampa; a book signing follows the free lecture. Or turn loose your animal instincts at Lowry Park Zoo's Wild at Heart, with cocktails, dinner and tales of love in the animal kingdom. Friday is sold out, but some tickets remained for Saturday; $75; reservations required: (813) 935-8552. At the Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, stroll hand-in-hand Thursday among art, jewelry, chocolate and champagne at an Evening with Venus: Ancient Roman Erotica; $25; 21 and up only; (727) 896-2667.
Kids and FAmily
Florida State Fair: The 110th annual fair continues with deals each day. Today is Taste of the Fair, with smaller portions of fried, gooey goodness available at a reduced price. Also today, seniors get in for $9 at the gate. Regular gate admission is $11-$13 adults, $6-$7 ages 6-11, 5 and younger free. Food and rides can add up, so don't forget the free stuff, such as the Xtreme Sports Show and racing pigs. All at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 621-7821.
Once: The Tony-winning Broadway show tells the tale of a Dublin street musician about to give up on his dream when a woman takes an interest in his love songs. The tour opens Tuesday, with shows through Sunday at the Straz Center in Tampa. $46.50-$92. (813) 229-7827.
Tony Bennett: At 87, the crooner from Queens stays current by belting out standards, Christmas carols and the occasional obscurity with jazzy grace. See him Wednesday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $65-$120. (727) 892-5767.
Superstars DanceSport Championships: The huge ballroom competition draws dancers from all over the world, this year including Louis van Amstel from Dancing with the Stars. It runs Thursday through Saturday at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg. Friday includes a Valentine's Day masquerade dinner. $25-$110. flsuperstars.com; (863) 668-9668.
Clearwater Sea Blues Festival: The two-day festival combines seafood and blues music in lovely Coachman Park in Clearwater. It runs Saturday and Sunday, with headliners Vintage Trouble, the Robert Cray Band and Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds. Free general admission; $25-$45 reserved seating; $120-$130 VIP. (727) 562-4700.
MORE TO DO
Reservations for Valentine's Day? Try one of our top 50 restaurants: tampabay.com/things-to-do.