THEME PARKS: Disney, Busch Gardens celebrations
It may still be steamy summertime, but Disney and Busch Gardens are bringing a taste of fall to their theme parks starting this weekend.
Bier Fest returns to Busch Gardens for its second year, running on weekends starting Saturday. Dozens of local and international breweries will be set up around the park, and pub-inspired fare is available on small plates at "culinary cabins." There are 40 new brews this year and seasonal flavors like pumpkin and fruity ciders to try. Runs weekends through Sept. 8, including Labor Day. Included with admission, which starts at $84.99. Food and drink additional. Most items are $4 to $8, and sampling lanyards for five items start at $29.99. 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386. buschgardens.com.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party gets its earliest start ever, opening Friday and running a record 36 nights through Nov. 1. This is the one time of year you can wear a costume in the Magic Kingdom, and people go all out: A trio of men dressed as Snow White was circling the grounds last year. The party starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Tuesday but you can get there as early as 4 p.m. The park shuts down for the party and you'll find numerous trick-or-treat stations, eerie entertainment, a parade and a new fireworks show with projection effects, lasers and fireworks to tell a not-so-scary story with Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy. $79-$135, $74-$130 children. 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 934-7639. disneyworld.com.
PETS: Clear the Shelters Day
Saturday is Clear the Shelters Day and many local and national organizations will be doing their best to find homes for some fur babies. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Ave., Tampa, will have free adoptions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. "Some people claim that pet giveaways may lead to abuse and returns. Research does not support that claim," the organization says on its website. NBC and Telemundo are also joining the cause, and local affiliates WFLA and WTTA will be at local shelters to publicize the waived or reduced adoption fees that day. The PetSmart in South Tampa will have adoptable animals and take donations for shelters from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1540 N Dale Mabry Highway. Find a shelter or make a donation at cleartheshelters.com.
Kink: An Art Affair
Pay attention to the dress code at Kink: An Art Affair. It will focus on sexual empowerment by featuring interactive fetish installations, body painters, burlesque, erotic performances and a silent auction of artwork created by 35 local notable artists, including photographer Luis Balaguer, whose work is pictured at right. To kick off the event, attendees will have a cocktail in a speakeasy at Metro Inclusive Health and Community Center. When the doors open, partygoers will be escorted into the world of Kink through a live model gallery, followed by pole dancing, burlesque and decadent on-theme desserts. Guests are encouraged to dress up — or down. "Tasteful nudity and fetish attire are encouraged with exposed breast pasties a must," organizers warn, but "no exposed genitalia allowed." 21 and up. $25 advance, $35 at the door. 8 p.m. Saturday. 3251 Third Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 321-3854. metrotampabay.org.