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Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Dec. 9-15

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra makes a local stop, as do John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for Meet 'n' Grease. Plus, more boat and holiday parades are planned.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform during their 2019 tour, which will return to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Dec. 15. [Courtesy of Jason McEachern]
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform during their 2019 tour, which will return to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Dec. 15. [Courtesy of Jason McEachern]
Published Dec. 9, 2019

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The long-running rock symphony experience brings two shows to celebrate its 20th anniversary tour. $55.75 and up. 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: This true story of the prolific songwriter’s rise to fame is filled with her hits, including Natural Woman, I Feel the Earth Move and You’ve Got a Friend. Sold out. 8 p.m. Thursday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Meet 'n' Grease: Meet John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John before a sing-along screening of Grease. A question-and-answer session with the celebrity duo follows. $39 and up. 5 p.m. Saturday. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4801 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446.

Olivia Newton-John, left, and John Travolta star in "Grease." [Paramount via AP]

Boat parades: See a variety of vessels decorated in over-the-top holiday garb light up the night, starting at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hernando Beach Yacht Club, 4163 Shoal Line Blvd.; 6 p.m. Saturday at the Boca Ciega Yacht Club, 4600 Tifton Drive S, Gulfport; 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater; and 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lowry Park Boat Ramp, 1204 W Flora St., Tampa. Both the Treasure Island boat parade at 6:20 p.m. Friday and another in Madeira Beach at 6:30 p.m. Saturday end at John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, 12902 Village Blvd., Madeira Beach.


Bowzer’s Holiday Party: Get festive with Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Henry Gross and Johnny Contardo of Sha Na Na. Their seasonal bash returns with Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders and more. $41.75 and up. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Don McLean: The platinum-selling singer-songwriter returns to perform his catalog of iconic tunes like American Pie, Vincent (Starry Starry Night) and Castles in the Air. $42.50 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Don McLean performs during a taping of Dolly Parton's "Smoky Mountain Rise Telethon" in Nashville in 2016. [MARK HUMPHREY | AP]

The Disco Biscuits: These pioneers of “trancefusion” bridge the gap between electronic music and jam bands. $44 and up. 6 p.m. Thursday. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0550.

Nate Najar’s Jazz Holiday: The nylon-string jazz guitarist plays alongside an all-star bill of accompanists: John Lamb on bass and Jean Bolduc on drums. The special guests are St. Petersburg’s James Suggs on trumpet, Chuck Redd on vibes and New York City jazz star Adrian Cunningham on sax, clarinet and flute. $25 and up. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590.

Nile: The death metal band takes the stage, with grindcore act Terrorizer opening. $20 and up. 7 p.m. Friday. The Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-9500.

Cas Haley: A runnerup on an early season of America’s Got Talent, the Texas singer-songwriter-guitarist gained a following for his sunny reggae-influenced music. $20 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Attic, 1510 E Eighth Ave., Tampa.

Sullivan King: The bass-blasting EDM producer and DJ is known for fusing elements of heavy metal and dubstep. Expect performances from Eliminate, Grabbitz and Swarm, too. $15 and up. 10 p.m. Friday. The Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-4050.

Dirty Rotten Snake in the Grass: This New Orleans outfit mixes honky-tonk, punk, rockabilly, metal, blues and more. The Wandering Hours, Mountain Holler and One Trip Little also play. $10. 6 p.m. Sunday. Paper Crane, 910B Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (813) 586-4921.


Criss Angel: The influential, world-class magician comes to town as part of his Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour. $48.75 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Criss Angel talks to reporters in 2008 after escaping from Clearwater Beach's Spyglass Hotel moments before it imploded. [Times (2008)]

Tampa Alternative Market: Take your other half to peruse this showcase of avant-garde and punk rock wares, plus other one-of-a-kind items. Live music rounds out the highlights. Free. 5 p.m. Saturday. Red Star Rock Bar, 5210 N Florida Ave., Tampa. (813) 404-8505.

Palladium Chamber Players: The dynamic group of internationally renowned soloists and chamber musicians presents vibrant interpretations of the classical repertoire. $10 and up. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Palladium.

A Tuna Christmas: Don’t miss opening night for this play about a vandal who desecrates the small Texas town of Tuna’s holiday yard display contest. Runs through Dec. 22. $32.50 and up. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jaeb Theater at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827.


Snow on 7th: Now in its eighth year, the winter-themed holiday parade rolls down the Ybor City strip with marching bands, floats, community leaders and lots of snow. Free. 7 p.m. Saturday. E Seventh Avenue, Tampa. (813) 248-3712.

Florida Orchestra: Daniel Black conducts the orchestra’s Holiday Pops, offering traditional holiday favorites for the whole family. $18 and up. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center. 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 300-2000. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Christmas in the Country: Enjoy the festive decor and music of Cracker Country across 13 buildings, including a train depot, historic homes and a general store. You can also make keepsake ornaments, candles, sachets and cornucopias, or try your hand at churning butter, among other activities. $10, $8 seniors and ages 6-12, 5 and younger free. 10 a.m. Saturday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. (813) 627-4225.

More holiday parades: In case you need additional ways to get into the yuletide spirit, there’s the Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday on Orange Street between N Safford and Pinellas avenues; the Brooksville Christmas Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday along downtown’s Main Street; the Old Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade at 4 p.m. Saturday along downtown Dunedin’s Main Street; and the Pinellas Park Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. Saturday at Park Place Mall, 7200 U.S. 19 N.

The Hernando High School Band performs at the Brooksville Christmas Parade in 2018 in downtown Brooksville. [ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times (2018)]


  1. Treasure Island will host a grand opening for its new dog park at Roselli Park on Jan. 25. [Courtesy of Tom Germond]
    Play with pups in Treasure Island or party in Kenneth City, plus get some new ideas to spruce up the house.
  2. Pompei Monster Factory will feature an "Alice in Wonderland"-themed ride during the Fourth Saturday Art Walk at the Pinellas Art Village on Jan. 25. [Courtesy of Michelle Schultz]
    Plus, a book sale at the Largo library and a shabby chic and home decor show in Wesley Chapel.
  3. Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia Organa in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi." [LucasFilm]
    The Florida Orchestra performs as a ‘Star Wars’ film plays, NPR’s Ira Glass tells stories, an Anne Frank exhibit opens and more.
  4. Walt Disney Imagineering unveiled the Epcot Experience, which opened Oct. 1, 2019, inside Epcot at Walt Disney World. Located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion, it is the first in-depth look at the historic transformation already underway at Epcot. A 360-degree film presentation features upcoming attractions in development and projection-mapping technology highlights an artfully designed model of the park. Photo courtesy Walt Disney World (David Roark, photographer) [DAVID ROARK  |  Walt Disney World]
    Three new films debuted in Epcot on Jan. 17, marking the first of many new attractions to come.
  5. Next month the Pirate Water Taxi will debut a 100-passenger vessel and two smaller taxis as part of an expansion of the company's routes and coverage of Tampa's waterfront. (Yacht StarShip) [Yacht StarShip]
    The service, owned by the operator of Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises, is investing $1.6 million in three new vessels and adding a long-desired stop near the Florida Aquarium.
  6. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
    The Jose Gasparilla pirate ship sails toward the Tampa Convention Center during the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Hillsborough Bay sailing north to Seddon Channel on Saturday, January 26, 2019. Hundreds of boats join the flotilla. [Tampa Bay Times (2019)]
    The best parking places, bathroom stops, meeting points, after parties and places to catch beads.
  7. The crowd lining Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa celebrates during the annual Gasparilla Parade of Pirates in 2019. [Times (2019)]
    Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades lead this week’s bill of worthwhile events.
  8. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  9. Dave Bautista, shown here at his South Tampa office, has been named grand marshal of the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    The Guardians of the Galaxy star will lead the Pirate invasion along with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus, who recently served in the Middle East.
  10. Halsey performs during the European MTV Awards in Seville, Spain, in 2019. [Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP]
    A mix of new hits and blockbuster blasts from the past.