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It's that time of year

A busy couple of weeks are ahead, with showhouses and parades of homes in Hillsborough and Pinellas. Read on for the details:

In Tampa, an estate . . .

The designer showhouse sponsored by the Florida Orchestra Guild/Tampa runs March 12 through April 2. It's at 819 Grove Park in the Beach Park area of South Tampa, west of Westshore Boulevard. The 6,200-square-foot house was built in 1923, modeled after an Italian estate. The house will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. It's closed Mondays. Tickets are $8 daily, $10 Thursday evenings. More information: 287-2888.

. . . in Pinellas, condos

In Pinellas, the Florida Orchestra Guild St. Petersburg showhouse also runs March 12 through April 2. Two condominiums and a penthouse will be on display at Dolphin Cay. (Take I-275 to the Pinellas Bayway exit in south St. Petersburg; Dolphin Cay is on the bayway just east of the tollbooth.) The showhouse will be open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Let the parades begin

The Parades of Homes, two-week showcases of new construction sponsored by the builders' associations, run March 12-27 in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. In Pinellas, a magazine with details about each home and maps is scheduled to appear March 13 in editions of the Times that go to Pinellas and south Pasco counties. In Hillsborough, a tabloid with details about each home and maps is scheduled to appear March 12 in Hillsborough editions of the Tampa Tribune. Copies of the magazine and tabloid will also be available at the models, which are marked with "Parade of Homes" signs.

THE REAL THING: Authentic historic plans for over 100 homes _ from saltboxes to bungalows _ are available in the Old-House Journal's Historic House Plans. Blueprints are available for each of the homes, including Queen Anne, Creole, Tudor and Georgian. There are period garages, sheds and gazebos to match. The softcover book is $8.95 on newsstands, or $11.95 from the publisher, (800) 356-9313.