WORK IT: LABOR DAY WEEKEND
It's Labor Day weekend, and once again funky Gulfport will be all decked out for its annual GeckoFest, right. And Shephard's Beach Resort, below, on Clearwater Beach brings an EDM dance party to its Labor Day Beach Weekend.
In Gulfport, the whimsical family street festival and "Zyde-Geck-O" second line parade this year has a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea theme, so expect a lot of old-timey dive helmets and giant squids to join the party. You'll find jugglers, magicians, acrobats, face painters, dancers and aerialists throughout the festival area. Free shuttles will be running for off-site parking. See geckofest.com for a map. GeckoFest runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, ending on a high note with high-energy street dances at both stages along Beach Boulevard starting at 8 p.m.
For a beach party scene, EDM fans get a treat on Clearwater Beach when Shephard's brings DJ and electronic dance music producer 3LAU (pronounced "Blau") to headline, along with Bright Lights, Prince Fox, Paris and Simo, Two Friends and Lodato. Tickets start at $20 at eventbrite.com. It runs from 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday at 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach.
HALLOWEEN ALREADY? DISNEY SPOOKINESS
Sure, Halloween may seem nearly two months off, but Walt Disney World is bringing out its spooks and villains already. This is opening weekend for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. The popular party is a separate ticket event, running $72 to $105 with prices rising in October. It's the one time of year you can wear a costume in the Magic Kingdom. You'll see special fireworks with spooky Disney songs like Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid on the soundtrack, as well as a special parade and treat stations. And for the adults who like to play at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the open bar and buffet of Club Villain also gets started Friday, running select nights through Oct. 31. At Hollywood Studios, adults get to socialize with Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil and other villains. It's $129 per person for an open bar and buffet on Friday and Saturday nights through Halloween. (407) 934-7639. disneyworld.disney.go.com.
DOG DAYS: TAMPA BAY RAYS
Sunday is Family Fun Day, and kids get to run the bases at a postgame DJ Kitty dance party with mascot appearances. Plus, they get free superhero cape socks. But it's also Dog Day at the Rays, where you can bring your pooch along for the 1:10 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The $30 special ticket gets a seat for you and your best pal in the tbt* Party Deck, and a Rays Dog Day themed item. Buy tickets by midnight Thursday at raysbaseball.com/specialevents. If you already have a ticket you can upgrade it at (727) 825-3209.
On the same day, the Rays Wives will be hosting a pet food drive to benefit the Pet Pal Animal Shelter. Bring dog and cat food (preferably Science Diet brand) to Gate 1 or 6. During the game, the Rays Wives will also hold a silent auction with items from Rays players and other All-Stars around the league on the tbt* Party Deck. Other Rays ticket deals this week: Saturday's giveaway is a Logan Forsythe bobblehead and Monday is Military Monday. Active and retired veterans and dependents can get two free tickets to the game. On Tuesday home games, tickets for kids 14 and younger are $2 with the purchase of a full-price paid adult ticket. A maximum of two $2 kids tickets can be purchased for each full-price paid adult. Ticket prices vary by game. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-888-326-7297.