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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. 5 things to do under $5 Dec. 25-31

    Events

    1 Bleachers: Alternative station 97X is putting on a free concert on Monday by Bleachers, the new project from Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, with MisterWives opening the show. Antonoff, the boyfriend of Lena Dunham and collaborator with Taylor Swift and Sara Bareilles, is a burgeoning alternative teen idol thanks in part to the infectious and rousing single I Wanna Get Better. And here's a nice bonus: Anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to a ticket drop will receive a free copy of 97X's Green Room Vol. X album, featuring acoustic performances by Arctic Monkeys, Young the Giant and more. Go to 97xonline.com for a list of ticket drops and details on the show. The show is at 7 p.m. at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg....

    This photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows a scene from the film, “Dolphin Tale 2.” The film releases on Sept. 12, 2014.  (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Copyright Alcon Entertainment, LLC, Bob Talbot) CAET696
  2. Dancer Cheryl Burke joins 'Ballroom' lineup at Mahaffey

    Stage

    Cheryl Burke, the Dancing With the Stars pro who recently set a record as the first dancer to appear in the show's finals seven times and the semifinals 10 times, has joined the lineup for Ballroom With a Twist, a live show coming to the Mahaffey Theater in January.

    Ballroom With a Twist is choreographed by former DWTS dancer Louis Van Amstel and features professional dancers appearing on DWTS, So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol....

    Dancing With the Stars’ Cheryl Burke is a popular pro who has made it to the show’s finals seven times.
  3. Annual Valentine's Day group garden wedding by Pinellas clerk now taking registration

    Events

    Thinking about a Valentine's Day wedding? Register by Jan. 30, and you can get married in the Pinellas Clerk of Court's ninth annual group wedding in Largo's Florida Botanical Gardens Wedding Garden. Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday, and Ken Burke, the Pinellas County clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, expects some 50 couples will take him up on the offer to be joined together for one group ceremony. The ceremony will feature a special poem written by chief deputy director of the clerk's office Myriam Irizarry and serenades by the Charmonizers Barbershop Quartet, as well as wedding cake and refreshments provided by local sponsors. Burke has waived the normal $30 fee to perform the marriage. Standard marriage license fees will still apply. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in the gardens at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Sign up at any of the Pinellas clerk's four offices in Clearwater or St. Petersburg. For information call (727) 464-3008 or visit mypinellasclerk.org. —Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

     Fifty area couples were married on Valentine's Day 2014 at the Pinellas County Clerk of Court's 8th Annual Valentine's Day Group Wedding at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
  4. Beach bash, parties lead up to Bitcoin Bowl in St. Petersburg Friday

    Events

    Half the town may not know what the title sponsor is, but there are parties and beach bashes this week for the newly named Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl before North Carolina State takes on the University of Central Florida Knights at Tropicana Field on Friday. The cryptocurrency will be accepted at numerous Madeira Beach businesses Wednesday when the beach town hosts the bowl's Beach Bash in front of John's Pass from 3-6 p.m. at 12901 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach. On Christmas Day, you can head to the Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd, from 2:30-5 p.m. for the Battle of the Bands. Both are free to attend. And it's not an official bowl event, but Ferg's is again hosting a bowl block party from 5-10 p.m. Thursday night at 1320 Central Ave. Tickets to the game on Friday start at $40 and, yes, they do take BitPay for the 8 p.m. game at the Trop. See stpetersburgbowl.com ...

  5. Great Tampa Bay destinations to visit with kids or relatives during the holiday week

    Events

    Looking for something to do with the kids or maybe those visiting relatives between Christmas and New Year's? Have no fear, exhausted hosts, we have lots of destination ideas to keep your brood occupied:

    Sunshine State 'snow'

    From Friday through Tuesday, the Florida Aquarium in Tampa is bringing back its Holiday FantaSea, with extended hours, a real snow play area that opens at noon every day, a Christmas light show set to music and holiday-themed activities. Open 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday-Tuesday. ...

    A manatee calf sticks close to its mother as hundreds of manatees huddle together to keep warm in the discharge canal at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. [Times files]
  6. Things to do in Tampa Bay on Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)

    Events

    Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl Battle of the Bands: After opening your Christmas presents, hit the beach to watch the bands from North Carolina State and the University of Central Florida compete in tug of war, flag football, boxing and more. 2:30 p.m., Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Free. (727) 290-9865.

    Bitcoin Block Party: It's not an official bowl party, but Ferg's is again hosting a block party to warm up for Friday's Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl game at Tropicana Field. There will be live music, interactive games and displays starting at 5 p.m. on the 1300 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Free (food/drink additional). ...

     (2012) Ball State trombone player Dante Campbell screams for his teammates during the Battle of the Bands competition at the Sirata Beach Resort in 2012. This year's battle ahead of the bowl game features the NC State and UCF bands on Christmas Day.
  7. Watch otters play in the snow Monday at Florida Aquarium

    Events

    If you are visiting the Florida Aquarium in Tampa on Monday, make sure you head to the otters on the Wetlands Trail on the second floor because handlers are going to be giving the critters a big pile of snow to play in. They really went to town on the snow pile last year, aquarium spokeswoman Katherine Claytor said, and seemed to be making snow angels. It starts at 3:30 p.m. and only lasts about a half hour, so plan accordingly. It's included with admission, which is $23.95, $20.95 for seniors 60+, $18.95 for kids 3-12. Tickets are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them at flaquarium.org. The aquarium is at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. —Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Times files (2011) An otter at the Florida Aquarium.
  8. Party game! Name all the famous faces singing along at Colbert's finale

    Blog

    Well my family just got a party game to play over the Christmas holidays: Name all the celebrities, authors, world leaders (yes, an ex-president), Hollywood actors, media pundits and bold-faced names who joined Stepen Colbert in a touching singalong of We'll Meet Again for his series finale Thursday night.  Check out the video here and add names of the faces you recognize in the  comments section. (bonus points for titles, like the US Ambassador to the UN)...

  9. Disney World announces dates for Star Wars Weekends

    Florida

    Star Wars actors, stormtroopers and other characters will once again be stationed at Walt Disney World in May and June for the 2015 edition of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The lineup of celebrities hasn't been released yet, but nerds at least know now that on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between May 15 and June 14 they can immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe with special interactions, parades and shows with celebrities from the films and the related animated series. Actor Mark Hamill visited last year, bringing Luke Skywalker to the park for the first time, and Billy Dee Williams drew big crowds from Lando Calrissian fans. Events are included in regular admission to Hollywood Studios, but there are other add-on features to buy, such as character meals. The cleverly named Darth's Mall for special merchandise is exclusive to Star Wars Weekends. disneyworld.disney.go.com.— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Walt Disney World guests of all ages are attracted to the annual sci-fi fan-fest Star Wars Weekends with meet-and-greets, Star Wars parades, autograph sessions, Jedi Training Academy and more. Walt Disney World Resort
  10. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday Dec. 19

    Events

    Phantom of the Opera: This production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical has reinvented staging and stunning scenic designs. It's the tale of a beautiful soprano who is the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius. At 8 p.m. at Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. $25-$128.50. (813) 229-7827; strazcenter.org.

    Outlaws: The Southern rock legends return with guest stars Blackhawk at 8 p.m. at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $36-$56....

    23. Surprise Cherry Balls
  11. Plan your weekend Dec. 19-21

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Concert

    Fleetwood Mac With singer-keyboardist Christine McVie returning after a 16-year absence, this Tampa date at Amalie Arena is the Mac's last show of the year. There won't be any solo material, but who needs that when you can have hits like Never Going Back Again, Little Lies and The Chain, which fuse all the group's Brit-rock, Laurel Canyon folk and pop polish into a catalog unrivaled in classic rock. Seeing McVie on stage with Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and guitar demigod Lindsey Buckingham will make for a night that will be hard to forget. The show is 8 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $42.65-$176.25. (813) 301-2500....

  12. No AirFest at MacDill in 2015

    Events

    TAMPA — In an era of tight defense budgets, there will be no Tampa Bay AirFest at MacDill Air Force Base next year and even a 2016 air show "isn't set in stone," a MacDill spokesman said.

    The free on-base event, which always draws large crowds, was called off in 2013 in the face of federal budget cuts when both the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels were grounded.

    The newly renamed Tampa Bay AirFest returned in March with the Thunderbirds, but with fewer military aircraft and more civilian fliers and stunt pilots filling the gap. It also had a hybrid funding model that relied on $250,000 in private money raised by the Tampa Bay business community....

    The AeroShell acrobatic team performs in the March  show, which was renamed the Tampa Bay AirFest and relied on $250,000 in private money raised by Tampa Bay businesses.
  13. 5 things to do under $5 Dec. 18-24

    Events

    1. St. Pete Makers Fest: Also known as hackerspaces and fablabs, a makers fest is a DIY gathering for people with common interests to collaborate and create. For St. Pete's first makers festival, the family-friendly event at the Mirror Lake St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club will have a Biscuit Bot Challenge. Makers will compete to build a robot or device that can launch or push a shuffleboard disc (called a biscuit in shuffle slang) the length of the shuffleboard court, landing the biscuit inside the scoring area. The winner will be determined from the cumulative score of three slides down the court. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday there will be craft vendors, drone demos, hands-on activities and food trucks. Admission is $5, children free at the shuffleboard club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg. See stpetemakers.org....

    A shuffleboard player uses a cue to push a disc down one of the shuffleboard courts Thursday (1/30/13) at the Lawn Bowling and Shuffleboard Complex in Clearwater.
  14. Legoland offers some Christmas deals

    Florida

    Legoland Florida is offering a couple of Christmas deals that will get you a free second day. If you visit the Winter Haven theme park by Dec. 27, you get a free ticket to return between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. Simply show your paid ticket at the park turnstiles for processing before Dec. 27 to claim your free ticket. And we were already intrigued by the disco elevator coming to the new 152-room hotel now under construction at Legoland, but now comes word that you can get a free second day and a resort hopper upgrade for reservations made before Christmas. One of the most popular features borrowed from the company's California hotel is the "disco elevator." The doors to the elevator open and you step into a mini disco complete with a mirrored ball and thumping Bee Gees music. Still under construction, it will be a 152-bedroom hotel, with themed interiors like a large Lego box and will be within walking distance of the park's entrance. No opening date for the hotel has been announced, but room reservations are open from June 15 to Jan. 31, 2016, at LegolandHotel.com. Room rates start at $279 and all units include two sleeping areas, one with a queen-sized bed and a separate sleeping area for up to three children. See florida.legoland.com for park information and tickets.— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer...

  15. Lightning launches free app for hockey fans

    Events

    The Tampa Bay Lightning has launched a new free mobile app for smartphones that allows fans to keep up with team news and even get seat upgrades and proximity-based special offers while at games. Called the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club, the app alerts users of game stats and special offers. Fans attending Lightning home games will have access to seat upgrades, Zamboni rides, special offers and game notifications based on where they are seated. Those who download the app by Dec. 21 will have a chance to enter to win Lightning tickets and signed Lightning items, including the grand prize: a signed Tyler Johnson jersey. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrate his goal with center Tyler Johnson (9), as Kucherov  scores the first goal of the game beating Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) during third period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/11/14).