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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: @SharonKWn

Blog: Whoa, Momma!

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  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday March 7

    Events

    Gasparilla Music Festival: Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Garden will come alive with two days of Tampa music, food and culture. This year's festival features four stages and over 40 acts. Kids get their own festival as well with a kiddie disco. It starts at 10 a.m., Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Saturday SOLD OUT, limited tickets available for Sunday. $40-$115.

    Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival: Today marks the opening day for this all-new festival with Florida-inspired food, wine and a free concert by pop star Gavin DeGraw. 10 a.m., Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. $95, $90 for ages 3-9. ...

  2. SeaWorld bringing Toby Keith, Skynyrd to BBQ

    Florida

    SeaWorld doesn't announce the artists performing at its spring Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series until right before the show (with good reason, it seems after animal rights protests last year prompted numerous artists such as Pat Benatar and the Beach Boys to cancel because of the park's portrayal in the film Blackfish).

    But they're kicking things off with two huge names this weekend: Toby Keith on Saturday and Lynyrd Skynyrd on Sunday. Two other artists announced this week are Country hitmaker Rodney Atkins on March 14 and R&B favorites Kool & the Gang on March 15. ...

  3. Florida Aquarium turns 20, adds special shows to celebrate

    Events

    The Florida Aquarium kicks off its 20th anniversary next week with … wait for it … a splash. Having welcomed close to 13 million visitors since it opened in 1995, the aquarium is celebrating starting Monday through the end of August with an anniversary-themed scavenger hunt and a celebration station filled with crafts and aquarium memorabilia. In addition, it has launched a new interactive show called Secret Sea Life Superhero that "features real life ocean superheroes and immerses guests into a high-energy and fun-filled audience participation show where guests will learn more about the amazing sea life that calls our oceans home," a news release says. All activities are included in the cost of admission, $23.95, $20.95 for seniors 60 and older, and $18.95 for kids 3-12. Prices are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy tickets online at the aquarium's site, flaquarium.org. The Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, is open daily 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (813) 273-4000....

    Sand shark at Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  Juliette Lynch | Times.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday March 6

    Events

    Florida Strawberry Festival: The festival is a little bit country, little bit R&B today with country legend Loretta Lynn (above) ($20-$25) at 3:30 p.m. and the grownup boy band Boyz II Men ($20-$25) at 7:30 p.m. There's also the shortcake and midway, of course. It opens at 10 a.m., 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. $10, $5 ages 6 to 12, 5 and younger free. Concert tickets are extra. (813) 752-9194; www.flstrawberryfestival.com....

  5. Ground-breaking comic Dave Chappelle coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall

    Events

    Dave Chappelle, one of the most innovative and admired comedians in show business, is coming to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall. • Tickets for the April 13 show go on sale Friday, priced at $62.50, and chances are good they will be snapped up fast. • Chappelle burst onto the spotlight in 2003 with his sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, Chappelle's Show. His singular point of view was unleashed through a combination of stand-up bits and smart sketches. • Equally stunning was his decision in 2005 to abruptly leave during production of the third season of Chappelle's Show. He took a trip to South Africa, saying he was unhappy with the direction the show had taken. He left millions on the table, but he said in later interviews that he worried some of his sketches were socially irresponsible. • Since then he has steadily worked the comedy circuit and in films. In April 2007, Chappelle set a standup endurance record at the Laugh Factory Sunset Strip comedy club, beating comedian Dane Cook's record of three hours and 50 minutes. In December of the same year, Chappelle broke his own record with a time of six hours and 12 minutes. • Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Ruth Eckerd Hall box office, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, or call (727) 791-7400....

    Comedian Dave Chappelle performs at Radio City Music Hall in 2014.
  6. Plan your weekend March 6-8

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Music

    Gasparilla Music Festival Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Gardens Park will come alive with two days of Tampa music, food and culture. This year there are four stages and over 40 acts including headliners Modest Mouse along with Mutemath and The Gaslight Anthem on Saturday, with Gogol Bordello, Trampled By Turtles, Dumpstaphunk and more on Sunday, along with kids performer Disney's Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve Goings, 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive. $40-$115. Call (813) 708-8423....

    People relax during a performance at the Gasparilla Music Festival at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa last year. The lineup this weekend includes Modest Mouse, Mutemath, The Gaslight Anthem, Gogol Bordello, Trampled By Turtles and Dumpstaphunk.
  7. Busch Gardens debuts Food and Wine Festival in Tampa

    Events

    TAMPA — Busch Gardens debuts its Food and Wine Festival on Saturday, and it could be the right cocktail to perk up a park burdened by a financially troubled parent company.

    More than 100 wine and craft beer options and 29 food items will be available at the festival, which runs weekends through April 26 and will feature concerts by pop stars such as Gavin DeGraw.

    The festival may be just the boost Busch Gardens needs, if it is done well, said theme park expert Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a Cincinnati-based industry consultant. It was developed after the park's annual Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series was thrown into chaos last year. Blackfish, the documentary about killer whales in captivity, prompted artists like Pat Benatar and the Beach Boys to drop out of events affiliated with Busch parent company SeaWorld Entertainment Inc....

    Busch Gardens’ Food and Wine Festival in Tampa begins Saturday with a variety of gourmet food and wine, and concerts by pop stars such as Gavin DeGraw. For the lineup, see Page 6B. 
  8. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for March 5

    Events

    Piper Kerman: The author of the acclaimed memoir Orange Is the New Black and prison reform activist will give a free talk in the gymnasium. 7 p.m., Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free.

    Melissa Manchester: The Grammy-winning artist returns to perform hits like Midnight Blue. 7 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $45-$55. (727) 791-7400....

    Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black will speak at Eckerd College as part of this spring’s Presidential Events Series, a free series of intellectual talksopen to the public. Kerman, whose best-selling memoir was turned into the award-winning Neftlix series of the same name, will discuss her work as a prison reform activist during her talk on March 5 at 7 p.m. 

in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. Photo credit: Ali Goldstein for Netflix.
  9. Free and cheap fun: 5 things to do under $5 for March 5-11

    Events

    1Eat at Joe's Lunch and Concert Series: This monthly lunch and concert party in the Joe Chillura Courthouse Square this month salutes the Florida Strawberry Festival with food trucks serving up lunchtime dishes that incorporate strawberries, accompanied by live music in the park. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square, Kennedy Boulevard and Morgan Street in downtown Tampa. ...

    Bucs coach Lovie Smith will speak at the Men’s Health Forum on Saturday at USF’s Marshall Student Center.
  10. Food fight: Here's the correct way to roast a marshmallow

    Cooking

    In this series we acknowledge there's just something about certain foods or ways of preparing dishes that people can be simply insufferable about. There is no debate; this is how it should be done. We're going to put ourselves out there and declare how certain things should be done — and release the hounds of debate. Feel free to tell our writers how woefully misinformed they are. ...

    iStockphoto.com
  11. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for March 3

    Events

    Florida Strawberry Festival: Country singer Sara Evans ($20-$25) at 7:30 p.m. with opener Ronnie Milsap ($15-$20). 10 a.m., Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. $10, $5 ages 6 to 12, 5 and younger free. Concert tickets are extra. (813) 752-9194.

    Exile and Juice Newton: As part of Busch Gardens' Real Music concert series, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Included with daily admission. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. $95, $90 for ages 3-9. (813) 987-5600; buschgardens.com....

  12. Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay March 2-8

    Events

    Norman Rockwell: A show of the beloved artist's works opens Friday at the Tampa Museum of Art. $10. "Pay what you will" from 4-8 p.m. Fridays. tampamuseum.org.

    Florida Strawberry Festival: Come for the fruit and midway, stay for the headliners. Friday brings Boyz II Men ($20-$25), Saturday John Legend ($50) with opener Dan + Shay ($15-$20). Sunday's headliner is Reba McEntire ($50)....

    Norman Rockwell in an undated AP photo.
  13. Kids triathlon at Adventure Island includes free water park ticket

    Events

    Adventure Island lets kids show their muscle in a triathlon for tykes, and the first 450 who sign up get a free "stay and play" ticket for the Tampa water park. Set for March 21 at 7:15 a.m., the Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon sends kids off to run, bike and swim in the park's lazy river, Rambling Bayou. The athletes at this official USA Triathlon-sanctioned event will be divided into groups for ages 6-10 and 11-14. All competitors will be given a finisher's medal. and the top three in each category will earn a trophy and an additional Adventure Island ticket. Registration is $45; it goes up to $50 after Sunday at tampabaykidstriathlon.com. Online registration will close at 11 p.m. on March 19. The Busch Gardens-owned water park is at 4000 E Bougainvillea Ave, Tampa. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff...

     Adventure Island in Tampa. (Times files)
  14. Universal Orlando follows Disney in breaking $100 ticket barrier

    Florida

    As expected, once Disney broke the $100 barrier for ticket prices, Universal Orlando followed, on Thursday hiking a one-day, one-park ticket price to $102 from $96. A two-park ticket is now $147, an $11 increase.

    On Sunday Walt Disney World rolled out a $6 increase that puts Magic Kingdom admission at $105, and other prices such as annual passes at the world's most popular tourist destination also spiked. ...

    Cheering fans prepare to rush the entrance of Diagon Alley during the grand opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida in July. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
  15. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday Feb. 27

    Events

    Wanda Sykes: The Emmy-nominated comedian and actor performs at 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $43-$59.75.

    Indigo Girls: Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are backed by the symphony tonight at 8 at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $45.50 - $65.50.

    Margaret Cho: The comedian, fashion designer, actor and songwriter never lets go of her stand-up comedy roots. See her at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 864-4000; improvtampa.com....

    Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian and author Wanda Sykes (FOX)