DEEP-FRIED DELIGHTS: FAIR FOODIE CRAWL
Eat your way around the over-the-top grub at this year’s Florida State Fair. Designed for annual attendees as much as first-timers, the inaugural Fair Foodie Crawl features fair vendors through a prepaid menu of seven munchies both savory and sweet, including cheesy sriracha funnel cake bites and deep-fried strawberry lemonade shortcake. Best part is, you get to vote for your favorite item. Two 12-ounce beverages — adult or otherwise — are included with admission. $25. 5 p.m. Thursday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa. floridastatefair.com/foodie.
THREE OF A KIND: FOOD FESTIVALS
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival: The sixth annual showcase of barbecue, bourbon and beer brings more than a dozen tasting stations and unlimited beer and bourbon sampling, with some live bluegrass thrown in. Led by master distillers, brewers and pitmasters from the South, seminars are also planned for the Tasting Theater. VIP sold out. $39. 2-6 p.m. Saturday. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. tampa.beerandbourbon.com.
Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival: Food, demonstrations, hands-on activities and shopping drive the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival, where food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin serves as keynote speaker. You can learn how to build a sustainable garden or how to cook a vegan dish, as well as peruse Florida produce in the farmers market, get your fitness on or help crown the “Festival Favorite” in the third annual Collard Cook-Off. Meanwhile, children 12 and younger should head for the kids zone to compost or garden. Free, food and drink additional. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. tampabaycollardgreenfestival.org.
French Fry Festival: The Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association’s popular food truck rally expands to two days, offering french fry-driven items from more than 35 mobile kitchens. You’re welcome to order off their regular menus, too. Other highlights include beer and wine, craft vendors and live music. Early access to the grub and an alcohol fast pass are included with $15 VIP. Free, food and drink additional. 6-11 p.m. Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday. North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. eventbrite.com.
DRUNK IN LOVE: VALENTINE’S DAY COCKTAILS
Skip the dinner reservations and celebrate Valentine’s Day with a drink at these local spots.
P.J.’s Oyster Bar: There are more than a few cocktail specials up for grabs Friday through Sunday at this neighborhood restaurant, from house sangria ($4.50) to Passion Punch ($6). But two of the $7 martinis, Death by Chocolate and Loves True Kiss, are particularly on brand for the holiday. 7490 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 367-3309. pjsoysterbar.net.
American Social Bar & Kitchen: The elevated sports bar and eatery invites you to sip on a couple of libations priced at $8 with a food purchase: the Flower Patch, a combination of Sipsmith London Dry Gin, agave nectar, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice, sparkling wine and raspberry, and Cupid’s Crush, featuring Stoli Crushed Pineapple Vodka, Liquid Lei Syrup, orange juice and Champagne. 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., No. 107, Tampa. (813) 605-3333. americansocialbar.com.
Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill: Split the frozen Valentines Delight (Frangelico, Razzmatazz, Baileys Irish Cream, ice cream mix) or the berry-garnished Cupid Champagne Cocktail (Rey de Copas Tequila, blackberry, St-Germain, cranberry) with your boo thing at the Port Richey location Friday through Sunday. Both arrive in a commemorative 32-ounce bowl with two straws. Romantic, much? 7835 Bayview St., Port Richey. (727) 815-1178. whiskeyjoesportrichey.com.
Sugar Factory: Okay, a reservation might actually be necessary for this new Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino hot spot on V-Day. Do it for the $36 Diamond Rose Goblet if you’re up for splurging. Topped with sour watermelon gummy bears and Ring Pops, the cocktail calls for Vanderpump Rosé, plus peach schnapps, raspberry vodka and lemon-lime soda. You even get a blingy, light-up souvenir ring. 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. (813) 521-4262. sugarfactory.com.
WHISK TAKER: WOLFGANG PUCK
Speaking of the Hard Rock, the Tampa hotel and casino has announced a notable culinary appearance that’s a couple of weeks away. Austria-born celebrity chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck will stop by the new Hard Rock Event Center at 7 p.m. Feb. 29. He’s scheduled to stage a three-course cooking demonstration for the crowd, according to a news release, complete with samples and take-home recipes. Get tickets through Ticketmaster or seminolehardrocktampa.com. $90 and up. 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. Toll-free 1-866-388-4263.
TAP THAT: SMALL BATCH BEER PASSPORT
The Small Batch Beer Passport Program is back for fans of Marker 48 Brewing’s experimental craft brewing. Buy a passport at the tasting room to start tasting one-off creations in various styles from the Weeki Wachee brewery and select guest brewers for free, filling up your passport with stamps to win prizes when the program concludes in early 2021. A new beer rolls out every week (the first gets released on Wednesday), and 48 are planned in total. Passport holders who try all 48 score an exclusive T-shirt and a special glass, which will be kept on site and used toward 20-ounce pours of core Marker 48 beers for the same price as 16-ounce pours. Non-passport holders can also order the program’s brews — they just won’t be eligible for prizes. Runs through 2020. $100 per passport. 12147 Cortez Blvd., Weeki Wachee. (352) 606-2509. marker48.com.