By sharon kennedy Wynne
Times Staff Writer
BIG BOUNCE: World’s largest bounce house
The mother of all bounce houses returns for a second year, this time at Carrollwood Country Park. The Big Bounce America travels around the world and can fit up to 180 people. It will be surrounded by a “bounce village” with food vendors, more inflatable attractions and restrooms. The 10,000-square-foot inflatable attraction is billed as the “world’s largest bounce house” and it comes with separate bounce sessions for kids by age group and some for adults only. It was a big hit in Odessa last March, and for its second go-round, the candy-colored inflatable castle features slides, obstacle courses, basketball hoops and foam pits and brings a new 900-foot-long obstacle course and a 25-foot-tall space-themed race slide. The bounce house even turns into a dance floor with lights and a DJ at night. $15-$28. Friday-Sunday. Sessions start at 9 a.m. (toddlers and younger children), 1 p.m. (bigger kids) and 5 p.m. (adults only). Advanced reservations online are recommended since some sessions will sell out. 4680 W Village Drive, Tampa. thebigbounceamerica.com.
SAND BLAST: Sugar Sand Festival
The annual Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival on Clearwater Beach has become so popular that it is expanding this year to 17 days Friday through April 28. Organizers say the festival drew more than 120,000 people over 10 days last year to tour the sand sculptures under a giant tent on the beach. This year it is also adding nine nights of free concerts on the beach, a Pro-Am Sand Sculpting Tournament on April 20 and a Family Sand Sculpting Tournament on April 21. No two years are alike at this ticketed exhibit because the artists are given a theme to draw their inspiration. This year it’s “Sea the World, A Journey around the Globe,” so expect to see renowned landmarks made out of sand in the 21,000-square-foot tent. Buy tickets in advance online and you get a separate, “fast lane-entrance,” a free souvenir photo and a $5 discount on all festival merchandise. $10 for adults, $8 children 4-10, free for 3 and younger. Seniors, military, police, firefighters and teachers $8 at the gate with proper identification. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater. (727) 871-8060. sugarsandfestival.com.
BIG TOP: Egypt Shrine Circus and Carnival
For those pining for an old-fashioned circus, this weekend brings the 54th annual Egypt Shrine Circus and Carnival, a full carnival of 18 rides, including a Ferris wheel and carousel, with clowns and shows from circus leader Dapper Dan. The fundraiser for the Tampa Shriners features performers, animals and aerial acts. Circus show times are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The carnival closes each day one hour after the last show. Armbands for the carnival and circus are $15 for children, $25 for adults. (Friday’s armbands will be $15 for everyone.) Opens at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall, 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. egyptshrinecircus.com.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.