SEND IN THE CLOWNS: CIRCUS TIME
You can see a free parade of the animals of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus marching through downtown Tampa on Tuesday, one of the final trips from the train station to Amalie Arena for the circus elephants who will soon be retired from the show. Earlier this year, Feld Entertainment, the entertainment company based in Ellenton that produces the circus, announced that after 145 years of featuring elephants in its circus acts, the 13 Asian elephants still traveling with the circus would be moved to the company's conservation center in Polk County by 2018. The animal walk will unload from the circus train at 10:30 a.m. and begin walking at 11 a.m. at the railroad tracks near Nuccio Parkway and N Nebraska Avenue. Ringling's "Legends" show will have eight performances at the arena Jan. 6-10. This year's circus, a company news release said, will offer a chance to "experience and learn about the special relationship between trainers and treasured Ringling Bros. Asian elephants as each trainer shows off individual elephants' natural skills and abilities." The show will also feature Alexander Lacey, trainer of lions, leopards and tigers; the Solar Hawks acrobats; and the Riders of the Wind trick-riders on thoroughbred horses. Tickets for the circus are $16-$70 at ringling.com. It's free to watch the animal parade Tuesday and note that the time and date of the walk are subject to change.
CROSS DIVERS: Epiphany Celebration
Tarpon Springs is the site of the largest Epiphany event in the Western Hemisphere, a celebration of the baptism of Christ. There will be a blessing of the fleet at the Sponge Docks on Tuesday at noon. And on Wednesday, a procession of children in traditional costumes, choir members and Greek folk dancers will be on hand during the tossing of the Holy Cross in Tarpon Springs Bayou by Archbishop Demetrios, the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. The church service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral starts at 8 a.m., then at 12:30 p.m. the procession heads to the waterfront where teenage boys dive into the water in an attempt to be the first to find the sunken cross. The annual Glendi (festival) with food, drink, live music and traditional Greek dancing begins after the cross dive until 6 p.m. at the St. Nicholas community center with food, drink, dancing and live music. Free at 348 N Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs.
HISTORY ON DISPLAY: Fort Mose
The Florida Museum of Natural History's traveling exhibition, Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom, tells the story of the outpost near St. Augustine that was Colonial America's first free black settlement. Nearly 100 formerly enslaved Africans created a frontier community before Spain gave up Florida to the British in 1763. Through artifacts and renderings, the story of Fort Mose remains on display through Feb. 10 at Pasco-Hernando State College Musunuru Art Gallery, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. The opening reception is 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 6.