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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)]
Published Sep. 4


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]


  1. Gondolas move to various locations at Walt Disney World on the Disney Skyliner aerial tram, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Disney officials said the resort’s Disney Skyliner started operating again on Monday.
  2. From left: Jason Mewes as Jay and Kevin Smith as Silent Bob in "Clerks II." The Weinstein Company
    Catch a showing of the ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,’ the Jokes on You Comedy Tour continues and celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘Alien.’
  3. Alison Krauss will perform at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 20. Capitol Records
    The Clearwater Jazz Holiday returns with a strong music lineup, Zac Brown Band plays Tampa and Barry Bostwick will be here to screen ‘Rocky Horror.'
  4. On Sunday, Wayne Brady will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater
    Wayne Brady performs at the Mahaffey, St. Petersburg hosts the UpDog Triple Crown Challenge and Taking Back Sunday stops by Jannus Live.
  5. J.B. Smoove will perform at the Straz Center in Tampa on Saturday. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    J.B. Smoove takes the Straz Center stage, plus Roboticon Tampa Bay at the Yuengling Center and the St. Pete Side Lot hosts the Guerilla Art Market.
  6. On Friday, Chris Stapleton will take over Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre for a performance. Courtesy of Andy Barron
    Chris Stapleton appears at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Oktoberfest Tampa begins and Jeanne Robertson stops by the Capitol Theatre.
  7. Lizzo is scheduled to perform during this year's Jingle Ball at Tampa venue Amalie Arena. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Jingle Ball, which will feature acts like Lizzo and Sam Smith, leads the lineup, along with the Turtles and Kris Kristofferson.
  8. This artful Jack-O-Lantern bandleader on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom,is part of the decorations in place for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party held annually at the theme park. A separate ticket is required to attend for the event running through Nov. 2. Associated Press
    Find a pumpkin, a party or a haunted house this weekend.
  9. Smokey Robinson will visit the new Hard Rock Event Center at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Thursday. Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater
    Motown legend Smokey Robinson plays the Hard Rock, ‘And Then There Were None’ opens at Ruth Eckerd and rockers Adelitas Way hit the Orpheum.
  10. For Creatures of the Night, the Halloween event being held weekends at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, there are activities for all ages includes scare zones, nighttime animal encounters and a ghoulish dance party. Courtesy of ZooTampa at Lowry Park
    As we head into Halloween season there’s lots of both scary and kid-friendly choices to get into the Halloween spirit this week.