Firestone Grand Prix: It kicks off at a much slower pace with the Illuminated Night Parade through downtown St. Petersburg on Thursday followed by fireworks. That all changes Friday as race cars start whipping through the 1.8-mile course along the waterfront. Sunday is the big race, the season opener for the IndyCar Series. Don't forget the earplugs. There's also an IndyCar Fan Village, giant Ferris wheel and other activities. $30-$55 general, $70-$135 reserved. Toll-free 1-877-283-5385.
Gasparilla Criterium and Cycling Festival: Cyclists will blur by on a 1K course that starts and ends at Tampa and Madison streets in downtown Tampa. Daylong festival in Lykes Gaslight Park has a health expo and beer and food tents. Amateur and family rides precede the professional riders. Free admission.
Kids and Family
World's Largest Food Truck Festival: About 200 food trucks will try to break the record again this year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Saturday and Sunday. Last year brought 100 trucks and 18,000 attendees. There also will be bands, a kids play zone and rides. Admission free; parking $6; rides/games extra.
Tall ship: The Nao Victoria, a replica of the Spanish ship that was the first to circumnavigate the world between 1519 and 1522, is docked at the Tampa Convention Center and open for visitors through March 30. $8, $5.50 children (advance); $10, $7 children at dock. tallshipevent.com.
Ten Percent of Marta Solano: This new Stageworks play is for anyone who has been pushed to the edge at the DMV. The dark comedy opens Friday in Tampa, with a $10 preview Thursday. $26-$35. (813) 374-2416.
David Garrett: The German violin virtuoso and former model performs everything from Mozart to Metallica with ease and, in some cases, lightning speed. See him Friday at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. $30-$40. (727) 822-3590.
Gasp! Combines theater, dance, poetry and improv with artists performing in and around the Tampa Museum of Art on Friday. The museum's current exhibition, Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice at USF, will also be open. $10 advance, $15 day of; $50 advance, $60 day of (VIP). (813) 274-8130
The Avett Brothers: North Carolina folk-rockers — combining everything from punk to bluegrass — will be at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Saturday. $35-$45. (813) 974-3004.
more to explore
Get Grand Prix tips from Michelle and Sarah in their Play Tampa Bay video. Look for it this week. tampabay.com/things-to-do.