Dining planner: Get your chili, and pie, and much more

From a fundraiser to National Pi Day goodies and two food festivals, your plate will be full.
Published March 13

PEPPER POWER: Chili Blaze

Talk about a four-alarm fire. For 18 years, the firefighters of Pinellas Park have been raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with the Chili Blaze competition. More than 40 cooks will be competing for bragging rights, and a $10 armband will let you taste all their creations. There will be entertainment by the Fil Pate Trio and the headliner, country artist Greg White Jr. The night ends with fireworks. 6 p.m. Friday at the England Brothers Bandshell Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. $10. (727) 458-8204.

TASTE TEST: Gasparilla International Food Festival

Gastronauts can explore global cuisines — including Caribbean, Hispanic, Mediterranean, African and Asian — on Sunday in Ybor City’s Centennial Park at the Gasparilla International Food Festival. Billed as a “taste of Gasparilla,” caterers and restaurants will lay out a spread of inventive dishes and flavors from around the world. Register for a free ticket at eventbrite.com. Free admission. 3-8 p.m. Sunday. 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa.

FREE PIE: Pi Day

Thursday is March 14, so it’s time to celebrate the mathematical constant pi, whose first three digits are 3.14. Fun fact: It’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Pick up a pie at your favorite local spot, or celebrate at Glazer Children’s Museum (110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa) with a giant whipped cream pie fight, pizza and a visit from “Albert Einstein.” 11 a.m. Thursday. Free. (813) 443-3861. glazermuseum.org. Or visit Craftsman House (2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg), where you can get a free slice of pie like strawberry rhubarb when you make a purchase of $15 or more in the gallery. Noon Thursday. (727) 323-2787. craftsmanhousegallery.blogspot.com.

SEE FOOD: Seven Seas Food Festival

Food is credited with helping SeaWorld stage a turnaround in fortunes last year, and the opening of the Seven Seas Food Festival running weekends through May 5 has brought more street foods from around the world for the event’s third year. With 19 markets and more than 60 dishes, it may be hard to choose. The Frozen German Chocolate Cake is not a dessert but a boozy drink made of chocolate and caramel vodka, with coconut rum and coconut and chocolate almond milk. You can find it at the German Market. And the Florida Market brings back the popular Frozen Key Lime Martini, which isn’t a drink, but a tangy, sweet and creamy dessert served in a martini glass. That’s also where you can find the delicious Southern Creamy Cheese Grits With a Blackened Shrimp. If you haven’t yet gone gaga over the Impossible Burger, this festival can be a good place to give the plant-based combination of wheat and potato proteins a whirl. The new Vegan Market has an Impossible Meat Slider topped with caramelized balsamic onions, jalapeno ketchup and arugula. Other vegan dishes at this booth include avocado corn tostadas and a homemade Nutty Butter protein bar. The festival also has concerts, and this weekend brings Bret Michaels on Saturday and the Cuban reggaeton group Gente de Zona on Sunday. Included with admission. 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando. seaworld.com/orlando.

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