Plan your weekend
Gasparilla Music Festival Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Gardens Park will come alive with two days of Tampa music, food and culture. This year there are four stages and over 40 acts including headliners Modest Mouse along with Mutemath and The Gaslight Anthem on Saturday, with Gogol Bordello, Trampled By Turtles, Dumpstaphunk and more on Sunday, along with kids performer Disney's Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve Goings, 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive. $40-$115. Call (813) 708-8423.
Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival This new festival premieres Saturday and runs weekends through April 26, with free concerts by pop stars like Gavin DeGraw on Saturday and the teen pop act Fifth Harmony on Sunday at Gwazi Field, included with admission. Multiple "cabins" will be set up around the park with appetizer-size tastings of the food, such as pan-seared scallops with watermelon salsa, that will range from $4 to $7, with wine and other drinks in the $7-$8 range. You can save money by getting sampler tickets at BuschGardens.com that range from $35 to $60 to bring the cost down to $3-$5 for food or wine in 10-sample bundles.
Take the kids
Adventure Island opens Adventure Island opens for the season Saturday with its new thrill ride, Colossal Curl now the tallest ride at the Tampa water park. More than six stories tall at 70 feet high and 560 feet long, it takes four passengers at a time on board a clover-shaped raft for a ride with a combination of corkscrews and waterfalls with funnel and wave elements for a feeling of weightlessness. The 30-acre water park adjacent to Busch Gardens has a variety of slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, children's playground and Riptide, a four-lane mat slide. Adventure Island admission is $49 for adults and $45 for children ages 3-9. You can find price breaks online at adventureisland.com — including a new Weekday Pass for weekday access all season long for $49. The park at 10001 McKinley Drive, Tampa, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and will be open later as summer approaches. Call (813) 987-5600.
Norman Rockwell Exhibit A big show of the beloved art of Norman Rockwell opens at the Tampa Museum of Art on Saturday and continues through May 31. His greatest fame derived from more than 300 covers he created for the Saturday Evening Post magazine. Most of them will be on view at "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell" along with some of the original oil paintings from which they were copied. The Tampa Museum of Art is at 120 Gasparilla Plaza . Admission is $15 adults; $7.50 seniors, groups and military (plus one guest); $5 students; and free for children younger than 6. Sunday is Military Appreciation Day with free admission for military, veterans and their families, with ID. Pay What You Will on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. tampamuseum.org or (813) 274-8130.
Tampa Bay Beer Week Saturday kicks off the fourth annual beer week, and the brews are flowing in abundance all around Tampa Bay until March 15. Look for the full lineup of events at tampabaybeerweek.com, but some of our top picks are the Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival that lets you try beers from all over Florida. $65 VIP, $45 advance general admission, $50 day of event, $10 designated driver (at gate only); 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water St., Tampa. Also at the park, but on Sunday, is the Best Florida Beer Championship Brewers Ball. This one features awards, special beers, a homebrew keg competition, live music and beer-filled raffles. $50. Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park.
Florida Strawberry Festival The 80th annual festival in Plant City continues, with some of its top musical acts on the schedule this weekend, including grownup boy band Boyz II Men (Friday) R&B crooner John Legend (Saturday) and country icons Loretta Lynn (Friday) and Reba McEntire (Sunday). The festival grounds are at 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets $10, $5 ages 6 to 12, 5 and younger free; concert tickets extra, with some free seats available first come, first served.
Comedy Veteran comics Anthony Jeselnik and Jim Breur are in Tampa this weekend, offering two very different comedy choices. It's hard to imagine acid-tongued Anthony Jeselnik writing for the up-with-people Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but Jeselnik did just that during the show's first year. But he's far better known for the crushingly dark humor he's displayed on Comedy Central roasts and his own panel show, The Jeselnik Offensive. Catch him at the Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City, at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com. Meanwhile, Jim Breuer, who gained fame for his run on Saturday Night Live and in the cult classic Half Baked performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $25-$35. Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
SunLit Festival: Taking place Saturday through March 15 the inaugural festival, a celebration of St. Petersburg's lively literary scene, has a range of events from "literary combat" to live music, a Shakespeare play, a cookoff, a talk about reading to babies, a huge book fair, a pub crawl with "four dead authors and seven live ones," and a birthday party for Jack Kerouac. Admission is free, unless otherwise noted. Saturday's 2 p.m. festival kickoff honors St. Petersburg poet laureate Peter Meinke at the St. Petersburg Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N. At 7 p.m., Lucha Libro features eight Tampa Bay area writers competing in live literary combat, with five minutes to write from a random prompt at Oleson Gallery Bloom Art Center, 910 Fifth Ave. N. For a full schedule, go to sunlitfestival.org.
John Williams: Star Wars & More: The Florida Orchestra geeks out with a program featuring guest conductor Bob Bernhardt and some of our favorite blockbuster soundtracks at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
Spring Jam Just you watch: When Ginuwine drops Pony's iconic squelch of bass inside the Sun Dome, the place will jolt to life with thousands of gyrating bodies. People will squeal ... and then they'll get nasty like no one is watching. Keith Sweat, Ginuwine, Dru Hill, Jon B and Slick Rick perform starting at 8 p.m. Friday at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $39-$82. See sundomearena.com.