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Top things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend: Civil rights exhibit at Holocaust Museum, theme park fall events

Plus, you can sing along to 'The Sound of Music’ at Tampa Theatre.
In 1960, black people could work behind lunch counters in downtown St. Petersburg, but any attempt to dine there immediately brought out 'This Section Closed' signs. Sit-ins led to the desegregation of public dining areas in 1961. [Tampa Bay Times (1962)]
In 1960, black people could work behind lunch counters in downtown St. Petersburg, but any attempt to dine there immediately brought out 'This Section Closed' signs. Sit-ins led to the desegregation of public dining areas in 1961. [Tampa Bay Times (1962)]
Published Sep. 4, 2019


The Florida Holocaust Museum is opening an exhibition that illuminates our region’s struggle with racial equality and highlights local leaders who changed our cities. Beaches, Benches and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay is a photographic account of the history of Tampa Bay’s racial segregation, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had passed. It takes a hard look at the Jim Crow era that touched every aspect of African American life in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and their surrounding cities. Restricted covenants were in place that segregated residential neighborhoods. Segregated schools were under-funded and often in disrepair. And “black only” hospitals and other public and private establishments like restaurants and beaches were often segregated — if black people were allowed in at all. The exhibition kicks off with a program at 7 p.m. Saturday that features a panel discussion. That reception is currently full, but you can put your name on a waiting list at (727) 820-0100. The exhibit runs through March 1. Regular museum admission is $16, $14 seniors; $10 students, veterans; $8 for 18 and younger. 55 Fifth St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 820-0100.

This 1949 photo shows a "colored only" beach at South Mole in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of Florida Holocaust Museum]


Now that we’ve passed Labor Day, the fall festivals at the theme parks get cranking, including the popular creep show Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando and the SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival returning for a second year. This is also the final weekend of Busch Gardens’ Bier Fest, with more than a dozen food and drink kiosks set up around the park.

Universal Orlando's new lagoon show, "Halloween Marathon of Mayhem," will debut when Halloween Horror Nights kicks off on Friday. [Courtesy of Universal Orlando]

Halloween Horror Nights is in its 29th year and has stuffed its treat bag with more tricks this year, including a new lagoon show with 100 fountains, lasers and some of the greatest names in horror to illuminate the evening sky in a production dubbed “Halloween Marathon of Mayhem.” The separate-ticket event will also feature scare zones throughout the park and haunted mazes based on popular movies and TV shows such as Netflix’s Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Jordan Peele’s Us. It kicks off Friday and continues through Nov. 2 in a record 41-night run. $81.99 and up. Universal Studios Florida, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando. (407) 224-7840.

SeaWorld’s Craft Beer Festival will run for eight weekends starting this week, an increase from the two it ran in its first year. There will be more than 100 craft beers for sale and food kiosks around the park. It runs on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 27 and is included with regular admission, though food and drink are extra. Prepaid sampling lanyards are $54 for a 12 samples or $40 for eight.


The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews is Tampa Theatre’s original sing-along — the first movie the historic theater presented with the words to all the songs built into the print. It’s the timeless story of Maria the nun and the huge Austrian family she’s assigned to nanny and teach. Like so many Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, it’s a story of love and difficult choices, and it’s told through stirring music and memorable dance numbers. Feel free to belt out the songs. $13, $10 members. 3 p.m. Sunday. 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8286.

Julie Andrews appears in the 1965 film "The Sound of Music." [Gannett News Service/Fox Video]


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