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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. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 29

    Events

    Boots on the Beach: WQYK brings this country music night headlined by Frankie Ballard (Sunshine and Whiskey), with Soul Circus Cowboys and Pirate Flag (Kenny Chesney tribute band) set to open. It's at6 p.m. at Hogan's Beach , 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. $17.50. (813) 281-8900

    'Museum Men' Viewing Party: The St. Petersburg Museum of History hosts a viewing party of the premiere episode of the History Channel's new show Museum Men. The episode features the museum's own 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy and the work of Creative Arts of Clearwater to design a new home for St. Petersburg's oldest resident. There will be a cash bar. It's 9-11 p.m. at St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. ...

  2. Christmas lights, shows go up around Tampa Bay hours after turkey

    Events

    By now you're just about done digesting that big turkey dinner so ... on to Christmas! Here are some holiday events to check out, many of them starting today.

    • The Oakdale Christmas House, also known as the Kresge house, opens today in what is usually a quiet neighborhood south of downtown St. Petersburg. You may think you've seen a house that is over-decorated, but you haven't seen minister Ted Kresge's place. It takes more than three months to install, and some parts of it seem only there to make you say, "What the …?" Like the parade of 73 white teddy bears, a nightmare-inducing zoo of animated dolls, a fiber-optic forest with some 60 lifelike dogs and cats in the trees, inflatables, games, bubble machines, and a 70-foot tree. We could go on, and it certainly does, but you have to see it to believe it, nightly from 6 to 10 through Jan. 3 at 2719 Oakdale St. S in St. Petersburg. ...

    Times files (2004)
  3. Big night tonight for John Wilson's retirement on Fox 13

    Blog

    DVR alert! Fox's WTVT-Ch. 13 promises a "big show" at 6 p.m. with some surprises, Good Day Tampa Bay morning anchor Russell Rhodes tweeted to send off longtime news man John Wilson, who is retiring after 33 years as Tampa Bay's best known news anchor.

    But first, read this touching story by our colleague Jay Cridlin who followed along in Virginia when the Wilson family played parts big and small in the indie film Big Stone Gap starring his movie star son, Patrick, and Cridlin finds the one thing that can make this seasoned anchor cry....

    Actor Patrick, left, and John Wilson on the set of Big Stone Gap.
  4. 5 things to do under $5 Nov. 27-Dec. 3

    Events

    1 Local craft festivals: Black Friday shoppers, take note: Local artisans will be set up at three beach communities this weekend to sell their work in festive, old-fashioned market atmosphere. Take the 100 Artist Show at St. Pete Beach's Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach, where from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday there will be live demonstrations, food and music. The Madeira Beach Craft Festival will have a blend of crafts and artworks from 30 states set up on Madeira Way, between Gulf Boulevard and 150th Avenue N, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. And the annual Thanksgiving Art and Craft Festival once again sets up folk art, earthenware, paintings, wearable art, body products and personalized gifts along Tarpon Avenue and Alt. U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All have free admission....

    There will be plenty of pretty things to look at during Saturday’s Madeira Beach Craft Festival.
  5. Have visitors for the holiday? Here are things to do with them in the Tampa Bay area

    Events

    If you have relatives in town or kids at home on break this weekend, you may be in need of some diversions. Here are some destinations to get people out of your house and enjoying the local sights:

    Only in Florida

    • The Tampa Bay area's beaches, with their sugar-white sand and calm waves have landed on the list of the nation's best beaches so often that some of them (Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg, Caladesi Island in Clearwater) had to be retired to let other beaches have a shot at making the list. Keep in mind that even the beach can feel mighty cold when the wind is whipping off the Gulf of Mexico, so bring a jacket. As Christmas approaches look for sandy "snowmen" cropping up along the shoreline....

    Florida theme parks are a good bet, but keep in mind that this is one of the busiest times of the year. Big crowds build before and around Thanksgiving and last until about Tuesday.
Orlando Sentinel (2009)
  6. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 28

    Events

    Florida Orchestra: Pixar in Concert: See clips of Pixar's 14 animated films flash on the screen as the Florida Orchestra performs the scores live. Lawrence Loh conducts. Show is at 8 p.m. at Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $20-$50. (813) 229-7827.

    Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor: Get an inside look at the writers room with Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart and other legends of early TV. Show is at 8 p.m. at American Stage Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39-$59. (727) 823-7529....

  7. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving)

    Events

    Times Turkey Trot: Make room for the big feast with a good run first thing in the morning. Race times are as follows: 7 a.m. Wingding 5K and the Clearwater Challenge on certified course; 7:30 a.m. Fun Run 5K; 8:30 a.m. Gobbler 1-mile; and 8:45 a.m. Turkey Trot 10K on certified course. Proceeds will be donated to local charities. Things start from Clearwater High School, 540 S Hercules Ave., Clearwater. $14-$40. (727) 562-4700....

    Ben Kasson, 19, from Odessa, sports his turkey hat while running in the Turkey Trot wingding 5k at the Clearwater High school track Thanksgiving Morning in Clearwater.
  8. ICE! returns to Orlando resort with cool ice wonders

    Florida

    The Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee has once again turned its massive convention center space over to ICE!, its annual winter wonder you can walk through to marvel at 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures.

    This year features a Nutcracker theme, with lovely carved ballerinas and brightly colored characters courtesy of dye inserted into the ice before carving. There are also ice slices in one section and even live demonstrations of ice carving by Chinese artisans. New this year is an Alpine Rush snow tubing attraction (extra $17 charge), where you slide down an 18-foot, eight-lane hill. And for adults there's the On the Blocks Ice Bar (extra $15.96, includes souvenir cup and drink), where you can pop in for a drink on a bar stool made of ice. ...

    at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Credit: Gaylord Hotel

  9. SeaWorld, Busch Gardens offers slew of ticket deals for 'Blue Friday'

    Florida

    SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are getting in on holiday shopping with buy one, get one free ticket deals worth up to $180 in an online-only sale. First, you have to register for the parks' email updates at seaworldorlando.com or at buschgardenstampa.com. Then at 12:01 a.m. on Friday through Dec. 1, details on the deals will be sent to email subscribers. SeaWorld's "Blue Friday" will have buy one, get one deals for tickets and annual passes, as well as in-park experiences such as its dolphin tour. Busch Gardens says it will have also have BOGO specials, merchandise discounts and park experiences. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Orcas during a show at the Shamu Up Close attraction at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 7, 2014. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT) 1148374
  10. Neil Patrick Harris, Frozen's Kristoff among celebrity narrators at Epcot's Candelight

    Florida

    Two of the most anticipated celebrity narrators for Epcot's Candlelight Processional — actor Neil Patrick Harris and Broadway star Jonathan Groff, the voice of Kristoff from Frozen — will be telling the Christmas story before a full choir to help kick off the opening of the popular holiday celebration. Harris, a huge Disney fan and frequent celebrity narrator of the Candlelight Processional, will be there Sunday through Tuesday and Groff can witness firsthand how much Walt Disney World has turned into Frozen Central when he narrates Dec. 3-4. But first, Jodi Benson, the voice of the Little Mermaid and Barbie in Toy Story 2, takes the mic on the first nights, Friday and Saturday. The celebration is included with daily admission: $94, $88 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free....

  11. 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.
  12. 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. ...

  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.