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  1. Food

What's happening in food: Sushi Battle, plus festivals for french fries, chocolate, craft beer and tacos

This weekend is all about food festivals. Two words: elastic waistband.

ON A ROLL: SUSHI BATTLE

Who has the best volcano roll in the area? You'll have to wait for the eruption on Feb. 20 to find out. Big City Events is putting on the annual Sushi Battle Tampa Bay at Armature Works from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. So far, the battle includes Kona Grill, Marriott Waterside, Ciccio Water, Ocean Hai, Nori Thai, the Lure and others. There's a sushi tasting and competition, the winner taking home the Golden Chopsticks, but the evening also features sake bombs and Sapporo beer, karaoke, taiko drumming, sumo suit wrestling and something with Godzilla movies. So, a big old party. Participants vote on who deserves to win; everyone gets to take home their chopsticks and sake bomb kit. $50, $90 VIP with one-hour early entrance. 21 and older. 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. (813) 250-3725.

SPUDTACULAR RIVALRY: FRY FEST

I hesitate to even tell you about this one. I don't know if our arteries can handle it. The food fests are getting serious this week, with a French Fry Festival in North Straub Park at 6 p.m. Friday. Thirty food trucks assemble to present their best rendition of everyone's favorite savory potato treat, from shoestring to hefty thick-cut wedges. Think of all the ketchup that will be dispatched. Full disclosure: I like a little mayo on my fries, too. There will also be beer, wine and live music. The event is free, but food trucks charge for the spuds. 400 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7111.

THE OTHER BEST FOOD: CHOCOLATE

Really, in the same weekend, a french fry fest and then chocolate? Yep. The Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival brings nearly 50 food trucks and local food vendors together to incorporate chocolate into select savory and sweet dishes at the Carrollwood Cultural Center in Tampa. There will be desserts as well as entrees that use the good stuff, in addition to items that are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and other options. Need more incentive? In addition to the chocolate and live music, there will be Generation Championship Wrestling (GCW) with Sir Rios, MechaWolf, Metros, Chuckles, Markos, Fab Fitness, Trish and others. Not sure how this fits with chocolate, but I'm open-minded. Free; food and drink are additional charges. 2 p.m. Saturday. 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. (813) 600-1100.

HOPS FOR HEROES

The Road Warrior Foundation is hosting its fifth annual Craft Beer Festival at Ferg's Sports Bar on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. There will be more than 35 local breweries pouring tastings of more than 100 beers, with a tasters' choice award being doled out along with music from DJ Patriot. Tickets are $45 at the gate, $10 off when purchased online. 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $35 advance, $45 at the door. (717) 877-7443. roadwarrior.org.

SAVE THE DATE: TACO FEST

Why has this never happened before? Yisenia Abrahantes, Tatiana Lopez and Florimar Galdon are gearing up to put on the first Tampa Taco Fest March 9 at Al Lopez Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a serious superabundance of tacos, from traditional Mexican tacos to Asian-inspired tacos, with live music and other festival staples. If you're interested in participating as a vendor or sponsor, email tampatacofestival@gmail.com. For ticket information, call (813) 382-6124.

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