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Diddley headlines 3-day fest

Gasparilla isn't the only party this weekend.

For those who want to get away from the beads and bawdy pirates on the other side of Tampa Bay, there's the fourth annual Heritage Festival tonight and Saturday.

Legendary bluesman Bo Diddley is the headliner of the event, a fundraiser for two local youth clubs.

The festival kicks off at 8 tonight at St. Petersburg's Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N. WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Reginald Roundtree will emcee an evening of storytelling, African dancing, gospel music and children's entertainment.

"We wanted something elegant and elaborate," festival organizer Will Vaughn said about his choice of the Palladium Theater. "We wanted to do something educational to start off."

On Saturday the festival moves to Vinoy Park along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Diddley headlines an entertainment set that includes Belinda Womack, Keith Caton & the Accelerators and the Motown Revue.

Festivities on Saturday start at 1 p.m. and include food and arts and crafts.

For the past three years, the Heritage Festival went by the name Black History Festival but the name was "modified so the community at large could be included," Vaughn said.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Diddley, a Florida resident, is the festival's main draw. Diddley, 71, got a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 1989, and a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 1998.

Keith Caton, also on Saturday's bill along with his group the Accelerators, has played with Diddley as well as Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Caton's group blends original music with covers of blues classics.

Saturday night's Heritage Festival lineup:

Motown Revue, 5 p.m.

Belinda Womack, 6 p.m.

Daddy V & Against the Grain, 7 p.m.

Keith Caton & the Accelerators, 8 p.m.

Bo Diddley, 8:30 p.m.

Advance tickets for Saturday are available through Ticketmaster outlets: $10 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. Day of show tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Call (813) 287-8844.

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