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. Epcot fills out concert lineup for Food and Wine Fest

    Florida

    In addition to eating and drinking your way around the world, Epcot's Food & Wine Festival has an "Eat to the Beat" concert series during the festival's run from Sept. 19-Nov. 10. Fan favorites like Boyz II Men, left, (Nov. 3-5) and Rick Springfield (Sept. 24-25) return and new-to-the-festival acts recently announced are Jo Dee Messina (Sept. 19-21), Fuel (Oct. 9-10), Jim Brickman (Oct. 23-24), Los Lonely Boys (Oct. 25-26) and David Cook (Nov. 6-7). The shows are included with park admission at the America Gardens Theatre stage at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. daily. Epcot admission is $94 and the food and drinks at the festival are extra, ranging from $4 to $10. You can get tickets and see the lineup of special events and concerts at epcotfoodfestival.com. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Boyz II Men
  2. Nitally's super spicy soup to be featured on Travel Channel show

    Events

    Nitally's Thai-Mex Cuisine in St. Petersburg, infamous for its super spicy Inferno Soup, will be featured in the Aug. 5 episode of the Travel Channel show Food Paradise. The show is like a culinary documentary. Each week it follows a theme, like the best breakfast, and finds restaurants all over the country that are notable. Tampa's Bern's Steak House was featured in an episode on the best steaks, and they did a "Meatloaf Paradise" episode that featured Datz in Tampa and its meatloaf stuffed with mac and cheese. Nitally's, known for its creative fusion of Thai and Mexican dishes, will be featured on the Aug. 5 episode, which premieres at 10 p.m., titled "Hot and Spicy Paradise." For more than three years the restaurant has been daring heat-seekers to eat its Inferno Soup, a nuclear concoction of broth, veggies and hot chilies. With more than 200 challengers, and a prize that once climbed to $1,500, so far only two people have conquered this soup. The prize now sits at $500, said Ally Valdez co-owner of the restaurant at 2462 Central Ave....

    The monster bowl of soup that must be finished by customers at Nitally's that take the Inferno Soup challenge. [SCOTT KEELER | TIMES]
  3. Plan your Christmas at Epcot with celebrity narrators at Candlelight Processional

    Florida

    Christmas in July promos remind us that now can be a good time to plan your Christmas entertainment before tickets sell out. Held every year at Disney's Epcot, the Candlelight Processional is not to be missed. There's a mass choir, joined by a 50-piece live orchestra and a celebrity narrator who tells the story of Christmas in words and music. (Last year, Neil Patrick Harris was one of them.) The roster of celebrity narrators is not yet complete, but so far the list includes Whoopi Goldberg (Dec. 5-6), Sharon Stone (Dec. 15-17), Ana Gasteyer (Dec. 18-20) and Marlee Matlin (Dec. 21-23). Insider's tip: If you plan to have dinner at Epcot anyway, buy the Candlelight Processional Dining Package and you are guaranteed a seat. Otherwise, the line starts very early to get in for the rest of the first-come, first-served seats that are included with Epcot admission. Check Epcot's website to see the schedule as it's updated. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    The giant Christmas tree at Epcot, seen with the park's iconic Spaceship Earth attraction behind it, is the centerpiece of the holiday celebration at the theme park. [Photo by Garth Vaughan]
  4. Rays give out Hulk-like Balfour figure for Comic Con night July 25

    Kids

    The Tampa Bay Rays are hosting their first salute to Tampa Bay Comic Con on Friday, and with a special ticket package you can have a figurine of Grant Balfour raging like the Hulk, splitting the seams on his baseball uniform. The 7:10 p.m. game against the Boston Red Sox features special Press Level tickets and the "Grant smash!" figurine for $45 as well as special comic book vendors on that Level and what the team promises are some "unique comic-themed experiences" throughout the game. Tickets must be purchased by midnight Wednesday at raysbaseball.com/specialevents. If you already have tickets for that night and want to upgrade, call (727) 825-3209. Comic Con, which seems to growing like the Hulk itself every year, is expected to attract more than 20,000 fans to the Tampa Convention Center on Aug. 1-3, with special appearances by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), Evan Peters (American Horror Story, X-Men) and Caity Lotz (Arrow, Mad Men) and numerous vendors and panels. See tampabaycomiccon.com for tickets, which can be purchased in advance through July 31. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer...

  5. Plan your weekend July 18-20

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Concert

    American Idol Live The original stateside reality-television singing competition takes its turn as American Idol Live brings Season 13 finalists to get up close and personal with fans. Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, C.J. Harris, and more will be there, and so will winner Caleb Johnson. His official single, As Long As You Love Me, saw release in May, but we're pretty sure you can count on Journey and Aerosmith covers — along with group performances — sprinkled into the set as well. The show is Friday at 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $60.50-$150. (727) 791-7400....

  6. 5 things to do under $5 July 17-23

    Events

    1 Dive-in Movie: Everything is awesome when they play The Lego Movie poolside Friday at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center. The Olympic-sized pool has a spray play area for kids and two large water slides. Bring your noodles, floats and chairs for movie watching. Gates open at 8 p.m. and the movie starts after sunset at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. $4.

    2 Tampa Bay Home Show: Featuring hundreds of home specialists all in one location, you can find everything from furniture to decorating ideas to landscaping, remodeling and interior design. Home improvement experts will give talks and demonstrations. It runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Free admission and parking....

    CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times (2011)
  7. Comic Bill Bellamy performs at Tampa Improv this weekend

    Stage

    Let the history books note that it was Bill Bellamy, then a young comic on HBO's Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, who coined the term "booty call." The house roared when he scolded that any lady who accepts a phone call from a gentleman at 2 a.m. has got to know he's not calling because he wants to talk. "It's a booty call," he grinned to howls of laughter. If ever a single joke could launch a career, a 1994 movie and a place in the American lexicon, that was it. The 49-year-old comic is a staple at MTV, where he has hosted MTV Jamz and MTV Beach House and is featured in the syndicated sitcom Mr. Box Office as a movie star sentenced to community service teaching kids. He performs Friday through Sunday at the Improv in Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com. ...

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17: Bill Bellamy arrives for the UNICEF "Playlist with The A-List" Karaoke event held at the El Rey theatre on May 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Toby Canham/Getty Images)
  8. Disney villains get their own night at theme park

    Florida

    More than 50 baddies will be unleashed at Disney's Hollywood Studios for a new separate-ticket event Aug. 23 called Villains Unleashed. Disney found out it was on to something when it kicked off Halloween season last September with a special night of villains on Friday the 13th. It was so popular the Hollywood Studios parking lot was full by early evening and the park reached capacity. The new after-hours event will bring back the bad guys (and women) for one night. It will feature more than 50 Disney villains, including some from Star Wars, plus a special show, dance party and a fireworks finale called Villainy in the Skies. Attractions that will be open include The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours, and visitors are allowed to arrive in costume. Tickets are $67 for ages 10 and older and $62 for children at disneyworld.disney.go.com. —Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Darth Vader, 20th Century Fox
  9. ABC confirms Rosie coming back to 'The View'

    Blog

    With the departures of Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and Barbara Walters from ABC’s The View, the daytime talk show is filling one of the empty slots with one of its old hosts, Rosie O'Donnell. The show confirmed on Twitter Thursday that O’Donnell will return as a co-host with moderator Whoopi Goldberg for the talk show’s 18th season. O'Donnell was on the show frm 2006 to 2007 and famously clashed with Donald Trump and even co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck....

  10. Plan your weekend July 10-12

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Turning Japanese

    Metrocon Florida's largest anime convention, Metrocon, started in 2003, offering flashy fun from the worlds of anime, cosplay and Japanese culture and artwork. The event now covers all elements of pop culture that have been influenced by anime. That includes video games, pop music and card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! The weekend will see an anime human chess match, formal Fantasy Masquerade, a rave dance and fire show. Noon-3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $10-$100. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 898-1310....

  11. Review: 'Marvel Universe Live' makes comic characters more family-friendly

    Events

    On the way home from a Tuesday preview of "Marvel Universe Live" at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, I turned the radio off and drove in complete silence. I needed some quiet time after 90 minutes of sensory overload.

    The ambitious new stunt show, which premieres in Tampa today through Sunday before an 85-city tour, was created by the Ringling circus masters Feld Entertainment. It combines a huge video backdrop with pyrotechnics, motorcycle jumps, car chases and even a performer engulfed in flames. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and crowd favorites Wolverine and Spider-Man are among the two dozen classic comic book characters....

    Black Widow shows her fight moves. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
  12. 5 things to do under $5 July 10-16

    Events

    1 Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day: How far would you go to get a free meal? If you are willing to strap on some udders and hooves, you can visit any Chick-fil-A restaurant on Friday. The rules are that if you're dressed as a cow from head to hoof you'll be rewarded with a free meal. But even a partial costume receives a free entree. The real shocker is if you show up without a costume on Friday, you will likely stand out as the only one. This annual cow appreciation day draws a lot of fans and creativity. Find a location at chick-fil-a.com....

    Mike Myers and Dana Carvey team up for Wayne’s World.
  13. Large crowds pour into opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

    Events

    As expected, crowds were massive and visitors arrived early for opening day of Diagon Alley, the new Harry Potter-themed expansion at Universal Studios in Orlando. The mood was upbeat as confetti rained down on visitors, many of whom dressed up in Hogwarts uniforms.

    And to make a Potter fan's day even better, author J.K. Rowling posted a short story on her Pottermore website Tuesday morning in which the beloved boy wizard, now in his 30s, reunites with his school friends at the Quiddich World Cup and we catch up on their adult lives. The story is written in the voice of gossip columnist Rita Skeeter, the journalist from the Potter series....

    Confetti greets crowds entering Universal Orlando Resort's Diagon Alley attraction on opening day Tuesday. [Universal Orlando]
  14. Muggles take note: Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios today

    News

    Diagon Alley, the highly anticipated Harry Potter expansion at Universal Studios in Orlando, finally opens to the public Tuesday. But will its signature ride be working? The ambitious Escape From Gringotts ride is an entirely new kind of 3D attraction, with newly invented spins on the roller coaster experience with a car that tilts and weaves in tandem with the action on screen. The ride broke down during a media preview a few weeks ago and wasn't available during some of the soft opening days last week. For Potter fans, the magical theme is now set across both Universal parks, with a Hogwarts Express train taking guests (with a two-park ticket) from London's wizard shopping district, where Harry buys his school supplies, to his school in Hogsmeade that opened in 2010 in the Islands of Adventure park. Movie designers have again created an authentic feel in Diagon Alley, and there's a dragon atop Gringotts that breathes real fire toward the crowd below. Huge crowds are expected for the opening weeks; to make the most of a visit, check out our insider tips at tampabay.com/things-to-do. Single-day tickets to one Universal park start at $96, and two-park tickets are $136 for adults. Check universalorlando.com for Florida resident deals. Toll-free 1-800-837-2273. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    The Diagon Alley attraction, featuring shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, will officially open Tuesday.
  15. Harry Potter-themed Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Tuesday

    Florida

    Diagon Alley, the highly anticipated Harry Potter expansion at Universal Studios in Orlando, finally opens to the public Tuesday. But will its signature ride be working? The ambitious Escape From Gringotts ride is an entirely new kind of 3D attraction, with newly invented spins on the roller coaster experience with a car that tilts and weaves in tandem with the action on screen. The ride broke down during a media preview a few weeks ago and wasn't available during some of the soft opening days last week. For Potter fans, the magical theme is now set across both Universal parks, with a Hogwarts Express train taking guests (with a two-park ticket) from London's wizard shopping district, where Harry buys his school supplies, to his school in Hogsmeade that opened in 2010 in the Islands of Adventure park. Movie designers have again created an authentic feel in Diagon Alley, and there's a dragon atop Gringotts that breathes real fire toward the crowd below. Huge crowds are expected for the opening weeks; to make the most of a visit, check out our insider tips at tampabay.com/things-to-do. Single-day tickets to one Universal park start at $96, and two-park tickets are $136 for adults. Check universalorlando.com for Florida resident deals. Toll-free 1-800-837-2273. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    The Diagon Alley attraction, featuring shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, will officially open Tuesday.