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. ...
The short film Love is a Dream from Season 14 of Saturday Night Live was the touching closing moment for the SNL tribute to Phil Hartman back in 1998 after he was shot to death by his wife. And now that both he and Jan Hooks have passed, and neither of them reached the elderly age of their characters in this unusually heartwarming sketch, well I think I *sniff* just got some dust in eyes or something....
Plan your weekend
Tampa's Oktoberfest The biggest draw at Tampa's party in Curtis Hixson Park this weekend is the games, which range from stein races to grain sack tossing. Raise your stein Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive in Tampa. Three-day passes are sold out online, but one-day tickets are still available for $10 at oktoberfesttampa.com. Vendors will be selling acrylic liter steins for $20 that come with your first beer free. German food vendors Lager Haus and Brat Sensations will be on site....
The Tampa Bay Lightning, which has its first home game of the season on Thursday, announced new menu items for fans attending events at Amalie Arena, including a new PDQ and Holy Hog concession as well as carving and sushi stations.
Local chain PDQ, a fast, casual dining restaurant that specializes in chicken tenders, will open a new concession outside of section 102, and local barbecue restaurant Holy Hog will open a second location on the 100 level this season, selling barbecue, beef brisket sandwiches and mac and cheese....
1 Roboticon: See a full-scale robotics competition with scrimmages, practice games, pit tours, demos, vendors and the opportunity to learn more about technical, math and science-oriented careers. Kelley Jones, a fluid systems design engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, will be there, along with prosthetics, robotics and industrial displays from businesses and the University of South Florida. It's free for spectators at the Bob Martinez Sports Complex, 312 N Blvd., Tampa. It runs 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday....
Check out our Halloween page for events near you. The promoters of this year's newly imagined Guavaween are throwing in a deal that gives you a free ticket to next year's Margarita Festival in Tampa. Big City Events, the new producers of this year's Guavaween event at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, is offering a free Margarita Festival ticket if you buy a ticket by Oct. 10 for the 2014 Guavaween: Voodoo Carnival. The Guavaween event will be held Oct. 25 in the Cuban Club and its courtyard, a smaller space than has been used in recent years. Big City Events also produced the 2014 Summer of Rum Festival at the Cuban Club and the upcoming Bourbon and Brew Festival at the Heights. The Margarita Festival will be May 23. Guavaween runs 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with five themed areas, including a voodoo-themed street carnival, theater shows, a dance club, lounge, live concerts and a $1,000 costume contest. Tickets are $18 and $80 for VIP, which gets you access to VIP areas, unlimited drinks and some seating areas. Go to GuavaweenTampa.com and use code MARGARITA by Oct. 10 to get your free ticket. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Plan your weekend
One Direction They were the biggest boy band on the planet when tickets went on sale almost a year ago. Now there's argument to made that Friday's show opener, the Aussie cuties in 5 Seconds of Summer, are the buzzier hunks. There's a power shift going on for sure, and yet this bill has turned out to be fortuitous: Sure, one band is coming, one is cooling off a little — but all those girls caught in the middle are going to scream their lungs out for one or the other or both. The screeching starts Friday at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $19.50-$99.50. (813) 350-6500....
1 Movies in the Park: Just in time for the cooler evenings of October, we get free movies in the parks. St. Petersburg's popular date night/family picnic scene on the downtown waterfront returns this week with Robin William's great Dead Poets Society. Brazilian music by Rio Bossa starts at 6 p.m. today and the movie begins at dark. On Oct. 9, Denzel Washington leads a racially divided football team to victory in Remember the Titans, with the Kimi Tortuga Duo providing music beforehand at North Straub Park on Beach Drive between NE Fourth and Fifth avenues. Some of the Saturday Morning Market's most popular vendors will be selling food, and a free and secure valet bicycle parking will be available on site thanks to St. Pete Bike Co-Op. Over in Pioneer Park in Dunedin, family movies will be playing at 7 p.m. Fridays at Main Street and Douglas Avenue. This week it's Mary Poppins. Bring a blanket or a low-slung chair. Free. ...