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TO MARKET, TO MARKET...

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

Like the reverse of spring fever, Florida's fall fever brings us cooler weather and the return of the open-air fresh markets, including the street party that has become St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market. The Urban Gypsies will be performing at the market that sets up Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Al Lang Stadium parking lot, 180 Second Ave. SE, downtown St. Petersburg. Also opening this weekend is the Fresh Market at Hyde Park Village from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 742 S Village Circle, Tampa, with 113 vendors, ranging from organic farmers to freshly baked bread and not-found-in-a-mall goodies such as baby chick sellers and locally grown loofah sponges. The Corey Avenue Sunday Market in St. Pete Beach has been injected with new life thanks to Tampa Bay Markets, operators of seven fresh markets in the area, who have signed up 63 vendors including an aquaponic farmer, fresh eggs and a wood-fired pizza maker. The market on Corey Avenue opens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday through the end of May. For more markets in the area, check tampabay.com/things-to-do.

Friday

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Top male and female fighters from across the country will compete in the Muay Thai Classic XXVII, featuring a full bar, food and live music. 8 p.m. Friday. $20, $40 VIP. India Cultural Center and Hindu Religious Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. (727) 573-8533.

Saturday

Oh, myyyy: it's Takei

Film and TV legend turned social activist George Takei will take questions in a 90-minute moderated conversation followed by a reception. Topics include social media, his life in Hollywood and, of course, Star Trek. Admission is $25, which includes valet parking, cash bar, red carpet arrival, appetizers and music. 7 p.m. Saturday. Sullivan Productions, 11286 47th St. N, Clearwater. (727) 464-7200.

Watch your heroes hoof it

Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars pairs 13 community leaders and media representatives with professional dancers in a benefit for local charities. 6-11 p.m. Saturday. $250. T Pepin's Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa. (727) 573-7720.

Little cars, big fun

Drivers of homemade and custom-built box cars line up to race off the ramp and downhill into the Cleveland Street district at the Achieva Box Car Rally. The day also includes face painting, children's games, balloons, music and food. Register at achievaboxcar.com. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. $50, $35 school, free spectators. Cleveland Street District, Corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue, Clearwater. (727) 431-7362.

Get a good dog

Hillsborough County's Pet Resource Center, 440 N Falkenburg Road, will host its First Saturday Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. In celebration of national October Adopt-a-Dog Month, the center will offer adoption specials on hundreds of pets - both dogs and cats. All adoptions include spaying/neutering, vaccinations, county license tag, microchip and free chip registration. Many pets will be available to leave the shelter the same day. The event also will feature the Tampa Bay Lighting mascot ThunderBug, giveaways, food, music and children's activities. Admission is free. For info, see facebook.com/HCAnimalServices.

FRiday-Sunday

One dark party

Science/fantasy fiction writer Eric Flint serves as guest of honor at Necronomicon, Tampa's annual science fiction, horror and fantasy convention. This year's theme is "Amazing Future Tales: The Glowing Labratory of the Unknown." Featured events include a Necronomi-Prom, evening masquerade, gaming, Necronomicon's Got Talent contest, an ice cream social and video screenings. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $20-$25 daily; $35-$50 weekend. Grand Hyatt Tampa, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. (813) 874-1234.

Ready? Set? Fun!

Families can have fun while teaching kids about giving back at the Family Field Day, featuring limbo dancing, a sack race, a hula hoop contest, food pyramid building and races from 100 meters to 1 mile. Each child must donate a non-perishable food item to benefit the Community Food Bank. 12:15 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $36 per family or carpool. University of Tampa Pepin Stadium, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 960-1848.

THURSDAY

Get the horned helmets

Tampa's normally a pirate town, but next Thursday, grab your horned helmets, because Tampa's going to the Vikings. The Florida Viking Fest commemorates Leif Ericson Day with a Viking ship display, Scandinavian food, vendors, music, a proclamation presentation by Mayor Bob Buckhorn and a Viking reenactment show. 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Tampa Garden Club, 2629 Bayshore Blvd. $25, $10 children. Call (727) 415-5088.

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FREEJust 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 on Thursday with Denzel Washington leading a racially divided football team to victory in Remember the Titans. The Kimi Tortuga Duo provides music beforehand at N 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, Mary Poppinswill be playing at 7 p.m. Friday at Main Street and Douglas Avenue. Bring a blanket or a low-slung chair. And in Tampa's new Water Works Park, 1710 N Highland Ave., look for a screening of Muppets Most Wanted with food available from Michelle Faedo on the Go and Just Desserts Hand Dipped Ice Cream. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

FREE Pipe Dreams, an exhibit of functional glass sculptures at Zen Glass Studio, is designed to challenge the stigma of glass pipes, an art form that has long been discouraged in glass-blowing programs and dismissed as drug paraphernalia. The controversy was even the topic of a documentary, Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes, which followed the hidden and somewhat controversial art form from its beginnings to a 2003 Department of Justice-led investigation that targeted pipe artists for distributing drug paraphernalia. This is the third year Zen Glass Studio has hosted a Pipe Dreams exhibition, and it includes demonstrations, vendors, live music and food. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at the studio at 600 27th St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 323-3141.

FREEThe monthly Eat at Joe's Lunch and Concert Series in the Joe Chillura Courthouse Square will turn into a Tampa Bay Lightning pep rally as they kick off the hockey season with live music by Alan Darcy, alumni players, the Lightning Girls, ThunderBug and a stop by the Rolling Thunder Truck. There will also be food from downtown restaurants for sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the public square at Kennedy Boulevard and Morgan Street in downtown Tampa.

$2.50The TECO Streetcar's new monthly concert series Streetcar Live keeps rolling, this time with a concert on the trolley Saturday night by Hymn for Her, the offbeat twang duo of multi-instrumentalists Lucy Tight (Maggi Jane) and Wayne Waxing (Pierce Ternay). The pair will play from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and all you have to pay is the trolley fare, which is $2.50 one way. The streetcar stops at Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City.

$5The Soggy Doggy Splash Partyat the Highland Family Aquatic Center in Largo boots out humans and opens the lap pool for dogs, so long as owners provide proof of vaccination. Dogs less than 20 inches tall can swim from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and bigger dogs will get wet from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. It's $5 per dog and free for owners to watch at the pool at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3018.

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