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  1. Arts & Entertainment

Happy hour with history returns to St. Petersburg museum

Nerds of a feather can flock to the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s popular happy hour with a history lecture.
Elvis Presley performs at the old Florida Theater in St. Petersburg in 1956. [Times (1956)]
Elvis Presley performs at the old Florida Theater in St. Petersburg in 1956. [Times (1956)]
Published Dec. 31, 2019

The St. Petersburg Museum of History’s popular “Happy Hour with the Historian” series will return for its eighth year with a lineup of talks to elevate cocktail party chatter.

“Cocktails and history lectures are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but Happy Hour with the Historian isn’t your usual history class,” read a news release from the museum.

The series has presented speakers who share Florida’s unique, unknown and usually forgotten histories. Each installment features a full cocktail cash bar, a provocative discussion and an opportunity to meet the speaker. Perhaps because of its popularity, the series rose in price this year from $5 to $10. But it is free for museum members.

First up, on Jan. 9, is music historian and journalist Bob Kealing with a Florida-centric look at Elvis Presley. Kealing interviewed countless people who encountered the King, and he will draw a road map of Elvis’ early days in the Sunshine State. The talk will be the day after what would have been Presley’s 85th birthday.

On March 12, just in time for spring training baseball, author Eric Gray will speak. His book, Bases to Bleachers, compiled dozens of stories from fans around the country recounting their most meaningful moments in a baseball stadium. And on Nov. 12, author Joy Sheffield Harris (Florida Sweets) uncovers the state’s unique sweets with a taste of sunshine.

Key lime pie, as well as other Florida-centric sweets, will be the topic of Happy Hour with the Historian at the St. Petersburg Museum of History on Nov. 12 when author Joy Sheffield Harris is the featured speaker. [DAMASKE, JIM | Tampa Bay Times]

Reservations are recommended at (727) 894-1052. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the program begins at 6:30. The St. Petersburg Museum of History is at 335 Second Ave. NE.

Jan. 9: Bob Kealing: Elvis Ignited: The Rise of an Icon in Florida.

Jan. 30: Jim MacDougald: Ponce de León, Narváez, and the Wild West Indies.

March 12: Eric Gray: Bases to Bleachers, Baseball from the Stands and Beyond.

May 14: Erin Thursby: Florida Oranges: A colorful history of the Sunshine State’s iconic fruit.

July 9: Dr. Laura Harrison: Egmont Key — Its past, present and future.

Sept. 10: Derek Donnelly: Shine on St. Pete: A city of murals.

Nov. 12: Joy Harris: Florida Sweets — Key Lime Pie, Kumquat Cake and Citrus Candy

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