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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a Tampa Bay Times writer and editor who focuses mostly on events and fun Things To Do, but also veers off into stories of parenting on the Whoa, Momma! blog, as well as cool gadgets or whatever captures her short attention span. A lifelong St. Petersburg resident, she has been a journalist since 1988 and joined her hometown Times in 1994. She is married and has two sons.

Phone: (727) 893-8595

Email: wynne@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SharonKWynne

Blog: Whoa, Momma!

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  1. Orlando I-Drive developer unveils insane plan for 420-foot swing ride (w/video)

    Attractions

    You know those swing rides with a tall pole that spin and you end up parallel to the ground as you twirl in a circle like a Maypole? It's usually a kiddie ride, right?

    Well, what if you take that spinning swing ride and put it 420 feet in the air to make the world's tallest StarFlyer ride?

    Not child's play anymore.

    Announced this week at a huge theme park convention in Orlando, the Vue 360 will be the third sky-high ride planned for Orlando's International Drive. It joins the world's tallest roller coaster (the 535-foot Skyscraper "polercoaster") and the 400-foot Orlando Eye — a Ferris wheel just 25 feet shorter than the London Eye, making it the fifth-tallest in the world. ...

    A rendering of the Vue 360 ride planned for International Drive in Orlando shows riders flying hundreds of feet in the air.
  2. Plan your weekend Nov. 21-23

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Comedy

    Garfunkel and Oates The comedy duo stage-named for famous second banana are, respectively, Riki Lindhome (tall, airy blond) and Kate Micucci (short brunet, with a running joke about growing a mustache). You might recognize Lindhome from Gilmore Girls and House, Micucci from Scrubs and Raising Hope, plus they were both in Big Bang Theory. They're not household names yet, but they are everywomen, or at least every woman uneasy with sex, success, relationships, fertility and fakery. They write comedy-folk ditties that are deceptively spiteful or insightful, performed on guitar and ukulele with harmonies often sweeter than their lyrics deserve. Many topics and titles can't be printed here. They perform at 8 p.m. Friday at Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org. ...

  3. Raid Grandma's closet! Ugly sweater party for Tampa charity

    Events

    Count on seeing both hipsters and Grandma shopping in the same Christmas sweater department soon, because ugly sweater parties are returning. (You can even get a Tampa Bay Lightning ugly sweater, pictured, at shop.nhl.com/Ugly_Sweaters.) The Heavy Pets, Roosevelt Collier and Greenhouse Lounge will headline a charity food drive and tacky sweater party on Dec. 18 at Crowbar. Tickets are $9-$12; a portion of ticket and bar sales will go to Metropolitan Ministries. Doors open at 8 p.m.; bring a new toy or food donation for a free drink and raffle ticket. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    You can even get a Tampa Bay Lightning ugly sweater at shop.nhl.com/Ugly_Sweaters.
  4. Free Smithsonian animal exhibit making a Tampa stop this weekend

    Events

    A free interactive exhibit from the Smithsonian is making the final stop on its U.S. tour at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo this weekend. Animal Connections: Our Journey Together will be parked by the main entrance to the zoo at 1101 W Sligh Ave. in Tampa to introduce visitors to the special relationship humans share with animals. It was designed to inspire the next generation of veterinarians. It is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Friday through Monday. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    A free Smithsonian exhibit, Animal Connections: Our Journey Together will end its U.S. tour this weekend at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, parked by the main entrance. Lowry Park Zoo
  5. World's tallest roller coaster being built in Orlando (w/video)

    News

    The company behind the world's tallest roller coaster coming to Orlando in 2017 have released a stomach-turning video of what the twisting Skyscraper will look like when it terrifies people riding in it over International Drive.

    A four-minute computer animation of the "polercoaster" was released by US Thrill Rides, the company behind Skyscraper and the $200 million, 495,000-square-foot Skyplex entertainment complex billed as an upscale indoor arcade center with simulators, rock climbing, bars, restaurants and retail....

    US Thrill Rides
This is a polercoaster, an example of a mostly vertical roller coaster in the style that Orlando's Skyscraper coaster will be.
  6. 5 things to do under $5 Nov. 20-26

    Events

    1 Meet Farmer Tom (and his donkeys): Author Tom W. Krueger, better known to kids as Farmer Tom, will be at a Carrollwood bookstore Saturday to read from his children's book, but he's also bringing two miniature donkeys, the stars of Donkeys Are Special and So Are You. In the nine short stories in the book, the Odessa farmer reveals just how similar donkeys can be to mischievous children, with bad mealtime manners or letting their curiosity get them into a mess. Both kids and donkeys make mistakes, "and both learn from their mistakes." Farmer Tom will hitch the donkeys outside and read his book at noon and 2 p.m., with photo opportunities in between, at the Book Swap of Carrollwood, 13144 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Free....

    Invasive air potatoes will be rounded up Saturday at Boyd Hill.
  7. Video shows ride on world's tallest roller coaster being built in Orlando

    Florida

    The company behind the world's tallest roller coaster coming to Orlando in 2017 has released a stomach-turning video simulating what the twisting Skyscraper will look like when it terrifies people riding it over International Drive.

    A four-minute computer animation of the "polercoaster" was released by US Thrill Rides, the company behind Skyscraper and the $200 million, 495,000-square-foot Skyplex entertainment complex billed as an upscale indoor arcade center with simulators, rock climbing, bars, restaurants and retail....

    This rendering shows the “polercoaster” Skyscraper, which will stand 570 feet tall over International Drive.
  8. Series at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre puts classic Christmas movies on the big screen

    Events

    Clearwater's Capitol Theatre has announced a new Holiday Classic Movie Series. It's full of movies that will be played endlessly on cable in the coming weeks, but maybe it's time to see these holiday chestnuts on the big screen.

    The series begins Dec. 12 with a double feature of Home Alone and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, then continues with the original 1947 Miracle on 34th Street (Dec. 14), a double feature on Dec. 20 with The Santa Clause and Scrooged, and It's a Wonderful Life on Dec. 21. It ends with date-night favorites on Dec. 27 that aren't technically Christmas movies but do have pivotal Christmas scenes: When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually. ...

    Tim Allen stars in The Santa Clause, which will be shown at the Capitol Theatre on Dec. 20.
  9. 'Harry Potter' actors at Universal Orlando fan weekend to include Hagrid, Dumbledore

    Florida

    Hagrid, Dumbledore, Luna and the Weasley twins will be coming to Orlando in January for Universal Orlando's second Celebration of Harry Potter, a weekend of fan events at the theme park with actors, panel discussion and demonstrations from film's creators.

    The theme park is bringing actors Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and brothers James and Oliver Phelps, who played the mischievous Fred and George Weasley in the films based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling books. They will be on a panel and taking questions during the Potter fest. ...

    Among the actors coming for Universal Orlando’s second Celebration of Harry Potter is Michael Gambon, who plays Dumbledore. Ticket packages start at $219.
  10. Spread the word: Florida Bookstore Day debuts

    Events

    Modeled after Record Store Day, the first Florida Bookstore Day on Saturday will celebrate local authors and independent bookstores with in-store literary events.

    Included are "readings by musicians who write" from noon to 2 p.m. at Mojo Books and Music in Tampa and a Happy Hour with former Tampa Bay Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg at Inkwood Books in Tampa at 5:30 p.m., where the teller of zany Florida tales will be accompanied by a Hemingway cocktail and food inspired by the Sunshine State....

    istockphoto.com
  11. Free One Direction concert at Universal next week

    Play

    That screaming you'll hear Monday will be coming from the direction of One Direction, performing a free show at Universal Orlando for NBC's Today show to promote their new album, Four. No admission is required because the boys will be out in CityWalk, which is open to the public for no charge. Well, except parking fees. The parking garage will be open early at 3 a.m., with CityWalk open at 4 a.m. But Universal is making it clear: No camping allowed. Designated viewing will be available throughout CityWalk on a first-come basis. The Today show will be broadcasting from 7 to 10 a.m. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    One Direction performs during the German game show "Wetten Dass" or Bet it...? in Graz, Austria, Saturday Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) XRZ116
  12. Free One Direction concert at Universal on Monday

    Events

    That screaming you'll hear Monday will be coming from the direction of One Direction, performing a free show at Universal Orlando for NBC's Today show to promote their new album, Four. No admission is required because the boys will be out in CityWalk, which is open to the public for no charge. Well, except parking fees. The parking garage will be open early at 3 a.m., with CityWalk open at 4 a.m. But Universal is making it clear: No camping allowed. Designated viewing will be available throughout CityWalk on a first-come basis. The Today show will be broadcasting from 7 to 10 a.m. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    One Direction performs during the German game show "Wetten Dass" or Bet it...? in Graz, Austria, Saturday Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) XRZ116
  13. Plan your weekend Nov. 14-16

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Smoke and music

    Ribfest Southern rock demigods Lynyrd Skynyrd finally make it to Ribfest, fullfilling organizers' longtime wish list. Throw in radio staples Daughtry on Friday and CMA New Artist of the Year nominees Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell on Sunday, and you're looking at three days as sweet as a molasses-based glaze on smoked ribs. Ribfest is Friday-Sunday in Vinoy Park, starting at 11 a.m. each day. Gate tickets are $20-$25. ribfest.org....

  14. 5 things to do under $5 Nov. 13-19

    Events

    1 Dunedin Dogtoberfest: One of the largest pet adoptathons of the year will also include a blessing of the animals, doggie costume contest, doggie talent contests, more than 125 vendors, an agility course, kids play area, food, beer and — our favorite — the Running of the Wieners (go to dogtoberfest.info if you have a wiener dog to enter). The event runs 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and it's free, with $5 parking at Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. (727) 786-1330. ...

    Eckerd College is celebrating the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.
  15. Meet the 'ribbers' of this weekend's St. Pete Ribfest

    Events

    The "ribbers" who provide the perfume of smoke and spice in the air around Ribfest include more than a dozen catering and barbecue competition teams from around the country.

    Desperado's of Hinckley, Ohio, last year's big winner of "Best Ribs," returns, as do many past winners. The teams here for Ribfest all have their share of rib cookoff titles. Most of them do not have a restaurant, but they serve thousands of customers and thousands of pounds of fork-tender meat each weekend as they travel the country for competitions....

    Gary Carrino of Cleveland sauces some slabs at the 2012 Ribfest. The sauce Carrino uses is a family recipe that has been handed down for 28 years. "This is my favorite show," Carrino said at the time, and he had six years of awards to prove it.