Now that 2013 is coming to a close, thoughts naturally turn to things to look forward to in the new year.
In Tampa Bay, that means a boatload of annual events in January that should keep us busy until we start thinking about Valentine's Day. Here are some of the highlights:
• Barkarilla Pooch Parade. This spoof on the pirate invasion and parade is now in its third year of revelry. The idea is simple: Dress yourself and your dog in pirate garb and head to the Dirty Shame in Ybor City on Jan. 4 at noon. The event is staged by Ye Loyal Krewe of Samuel Bellamy. Entry fee is $5 for humans, free for leashed dogs. Benefits dog charities.
• Sunshine City Antiques and Collectibles Show. This nationally recognized show features nearly 100 exhibitors of antiques and is Jan. 10-12 at the Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg.
• Warhol Exhibit at the Dali Opening. The exhibit will feature more than 100 of the artist's works. A special event is planned for Jan. 17 to mark the start of the exhibit.
• East-West Shrine Game. The East-West Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star game in the country. Its' scheduled Jan. 18 at the Trop.
• Treasure Island Kite Fest. The sky behind the Thunderbird will be a rainbow of colors as kites of all shapes and sizes take flight in a weekend long show of tricks set to music, precision flying, huge themed kites and amateur fliers. It's free on Jan. 18-19.
• Festival of Chocolate. Sheer heaven for chocolate lovers, the festival includes chef and guest competitions, pastry chef demonstrations, wine and chocolate pairings, chocolate game show, classes on working with chocolate, Cocoa Couture fashion show, kids activities and, of course, tons of chocolate from vendors. It starts Jan. 18
• Monster Jam. Is it that time of year again? Seems as if we were rooting for Gravedigger just last week. It's Jan. 18 at Raymond James Stadium.
• Kumquat Festival. Discover the spirit of "Old Florida'' at this annual festival devoted to all things kumquat. Sample pies, cookies, ice cream, salsas, smoothies, and more made with the sweet-tart tiny fruit. It takes place Jan. 25 in Dade City.
• Touch a Truck. This hugely popular event lets kids climb on and play around an assortment of vehicles including fire trucks, dump trucks, motorcycles, buses, the Bayflight helicopter and more. It's Jan. 25 in Largo Central Park.
• St. Pete Beach Classic. The 2014 edition of the race will feature a Sunday morning half-marathon and the expansion of the fitness expo to include both Friday and Saturday. It's scheduled Jan. 17-19.
• Clearwater Marathon. On the opposite end of Gulf Boulevard, this Jan. 19 event features a marathon, half-marathon and other running events.
• The Color Run. This zany run features runners in white T-shirts being pelted with colored powder. It's Jan. 26 in Clearwater's Coachman Park.
• Children's parade. It's Jan. 18 and features kid-friendly fun and fireworks.
• Invasion and Pirate Parade. A week later, the adult version swaggers into downtown Tampa for a bacchanalian celebration.
• Sunshine Music and Blues Festival. If you're more into music than marathons, head to Vinoy Park on Jan. 19 to listen to the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Galactic, Leon Russell, Hot Tuna and more for this newish festival.
• Pinellas Folk Festival. Dozens of Tampa Bay area's premier folk musicians will be playing traditional folk, gospel and country music on stages throughout Heritage Village in Largo on Jan. 25.
• Black Heritage Festival Music Fest. The actual festival starts Jan. 16 and goes through Jan. 25. But the highlight is the weekend of Jan. 18-19, when Curtis Hixon Park will host a free concert each day. Saturdays main act is the Ohio Players, known for their hits Love Rollercoaster and Fire.
Martin Luther King Day events
• Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza. Before the parade, marching bands compete under the dome at Tropicana Field on Jan. 19.
• Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Parade. One of the Southeast's largest tributes to the slain civil rights leader. It steps off Jan. 20 down Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.