Plan your weekend
Fright night The countdown to candy is finally ticking down to the last hours and this weekend is full of ways to drain the lifeblood out of this holiday. Vanilla Ice headlines Nocturnal's '90s-themed Halloweeen bash at Hogan's Beach, and the DJs will be spinning hits from the decade and a $5,000 costume contest Friday at 5 p.m. ($13.50-$25), 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. Clearwater's Bright House Field will have its annual Boo Bash on Friday, billed as a safe community Halloween event with several interactive areas for kids including games, hayrides on the field, inflatables, a costume parade around the bases and plenty of candy. It's free and it starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday. For the whole bucket of Halloween events, see TampaBay.com/Halloween....
The giant sorcerer's hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios is going away as the theme park begins a "reimagining." Much is changing at Hollywood Studios, which this summer drew crowds for a special parade, play area and fireworks show based on the astoundingly popular movie Frozen. And Disney has said it will add more Star Wars attractions to its theme parks. Other changes announced at Hollywood Studios this year include the closing of American Idol Experience and the Studio Backlot Tour. The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow will close Nov. 6. And now the sorcerer's hat, based on the one Mickey wore in Disney's Fantasia, will come down early next year, Disney confirmed. Installed in 2001 as a focal point for Disney's "100 years of magic" celebration, the hat has been in many a vacation photo, but some Disney fans have also complained that it blocked the view of the Chinese Theatre and ruined the ambience of the park's Hollywood Boulevard section devoted to the old golden days of Hollywood. The park was formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios. Disney has yet to say what will replace the hat. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
1 Streetcar Live: Get a free show on the TECO Line Streetcar when indie folk acts Will Quinlan and Mountain Holler perform for this monthly rolling concert series selected for the streetcar by the Gasparilla Music Festival. The fare is $2.50 one way, and the music plays from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. You can catch the streetcar at Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa, or check tecolinestreetcar.org for route maps....
Nitro Circus Live, the stunt show that spawned an MTV series, will kick off a 2015 U.S. tour, with its first stop at Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 5, show star and X-Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana announced.
The action sports spectacle started as a small DVD series filmed in Pastrana's Maryland backyard, then Nitro Circus grew into a successful reality show on MTV and MTV2. The next step was tours across Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. Featuring more than 40 action sports athletes performing tricks in freestyle motocross, BMX and skateboarding, the tour specializes odd stunts using contraptions such as water coolers, rocking horses and even an old reclining chair. ...
Plan your weekend
Times Festival of Reading Bestselling authors Debbie Macomber, Carl Hiaasen, R.L. Stine, Lisa Unger, Tammar Stein and The Daily Show's Aasiv Mandvi are just some of the many authors appearing at the 22nd annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading. It's all free, and it all starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, 140 Seventh Ave. S, St. Petersburg. For a complete list of authors and schedule, see festivalofreading.com....
Florida, brace yourself for a snark attack, the Syfy Network has announced it will film Sharknado 3 in the Sunshine State for its 2015 release of the so-bad-it’s-gold series of logic-defying disaster movies starring a swirling cloud of killer sharks.
Syfy announced on Tuesday that the third Sharknado film will begin with an attack on Washington D.C. chomp its way down the Eastern Seaboard on its way down to Orlando. “No seaboard city below our nation’s capital is safe!” the channel announced on its website....
1John's Pass Seafood Festival: Now in its 33rd year, this annual event has more than 100 seafood options this year, a Halloween block party, arts and crafts, live music and children's activities. The first grouper sandwiches start rolling out at 3 p.m. Friday and from 7 to 11 p.m. that night things heat up with a huge block party and costume contest for adults with more than $1,000 in prizes handed out. On Saturday, the festival's first Battle in the Gulf Fishing Tournament kicks off as the sun rises and there's a kids costume contest at 3 p.m. (register in advance at Windworks kite store on Village Boulevard). On Sunday you can watch the Best Chef Cook-off, then starting at 4 p.m. the Sauce Boss sings, tells stories and cooks up a big pot of gumbo for the crowd. It's free admission at John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, 150 John's Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach. (727) 322-5217. ...
If you are heading to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts this weekend, you can be a fairy godmother yourself. The cast of the Tony-winning Broadway musical are asking fans to bring gently used prom dresses, cocktail party dresses, evening gowns, shoes and accessories to be donated to the Belle of the Ball Project, a nonprofit organization that provides homecoming and prom dresses to young women in need in the Tampa Bay area. Belle of the Ball recently reported that it gave out 600 dresses for the 2014 homecoming season, and more than 4,000 since it started in 2003. Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella runs through Sunday at the Straz Center in Tampa. Tickets are $56-$95. At today's show, kids 12 and younger are half off with one adult ticket. Call (813) 229-7827; strazcenter.org. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Dracula is having a moment.
Just in time for Halloween in the Tampa Bay area, there are three shows based on Dracula — two of them ballets — and Hollywood has rolled out Dracula Untold, an origin story in theaters now starring Luke Evans, the hunk from Clash of the Titans.
"Time is on my side," the Count says in Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel based on vampire myth. And Vlad was right, he can wait us out and keep coming back just as we thought we were over him. ...
Plan your weekend
Pops in the Park You know you have to get to Vinoy Park early to stake out an ideal blanket spot for the Florida Orchestra's wildly popular and free Pops in the Park. Now you'll have plenty to keep you entertained besides a bottle of wine. Starting at 4 p.m. Saturday will be food vendors and arts activities, including the NOMAD mobile art studio and the Florida Orchestra Petting Zoo — which is actually a chance for kids to explore musical instruments. On Sunday, it's Tampa's turn for a concert, at 7 p.m. at River Tower Park, E Bird St. It's also free, but sorry, no fireworks, like in St. Pete. However, both concerts will collect canned food donations for Tampa Bay Harvest. For more info, see floridaorchestra.org....
TAMPA — Adventure Island on Wednesday announced plans for Colossal Curl, a thrill ride opening next spring that would be the tallest ride in the Tampa water park and would be the first new attraction there since 2006.
The four-passenger slide will stand nearly 70 feet high (more than six stories) and run 560 feet long, Adventure Island officials said in a news release. Construction will begin in the coming weeks and by early 2015 many of the ride's features will be visible....
1 MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival: The open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has grown into a huge extravaganza of science-related exhibits and activities that spreads from the marine institute along the waterfront to the adjacent University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. You can find everything from marine animals in a touch tank to crazy chemistry experiments to fighting robots. It's all free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. ...
The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World's Magic Kingdom now has its own line of swag at a new gift shop called Memento Mori that has opened in Liberty Square in the Orlando theme park.
Latin for "remember death," Memento Mori is the term for a literary object, such as a skull, that reminds us of our own mortality. "Remember my wallet" is more apt, one Disney blogger quipped, because the tiny shop is already so jammed that the park limits the number of people in the store and limits purchases to no more than six items at a time. ...
For the next year, Tampa Bay Lightning games and events will have the Give & Grub food truck tagging along in a movement aimed at fighting hunger in Tampa Bay. For every meal sold, the team and co-sponsor Laser Spine Institute will donate a meal to a hungry child in the area through Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding America Tampa Bay, with a goal of donating 150,00 meals. The truck started its mission last week to sell food at Lightning games (including tonight's game at Amalie Arena), community events and office parks. The menu is inspired by players and staff, such as (Coach Jon) Cooper's Candied Burger, a Chicken Parmkos sandwich named after center Steven Stamkos and forward Ryan Callahan's Mac Slam. To see where the truck is headed, check giveandgrub.com. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, there will be lots of parties and that call for stepping up the drinks and punch bowl. Here are some tricks for your treats using dry ice, molds and even glow sticks to create your own haute haunt at the beverage station.
Buying and handling dry ice
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, the gas that we exhale when we breathe. With a chunk of it, you can turn a punch bowl into a bubbling, smoking cauldron or create a smoky cocktail. ...