Florida State Fair, Rays Fan Fest Among Big Tampa Bay Events This Weekend


The events and descriptions below were compiled by Tampa Bay Times entertainment and events reporter Sharon Wynne. Click Here to check out all of the weekend events courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times.


The Florida State Fair opens Thursday, running through Feb. 18 with the largest midway of rides in the country plus exhibits, animals, rodeos, a candy exhibition and just about anything that can be deep-fried.

Some of our favorites this year:

  • The first-ever Uke-A-Palooza, a ukulele festival in the Special Events Center from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, with a Songwriters Circle and Jam and beginner ukulele workshops (50 loaner ukes available). In keeping with the ukulele’s strong ties to Hawaii, there’s going to be a Spam carving contest.
  • The Demolition Derby, which returns Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Watch as cars crash and smash until there is only one left standing.
  • Celebrities appearing this year include the Budweiser Clydesdales, Tyzen the Comedy Hypnotist and daredevil Bello Nock, whose tall, orange flattop made him a circus star. He’ll be shot out of a cannon over the whirling blades of a helicopter.

Admission is $11 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 11, free for children 5 and under. Weekday Ride Armbands are $20 and Any Day Ride Armbands are $30. It’s $2 Tuesday after 2 p.m. with $2 admission, $2 midway rides and $2 on selected food items and games. 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. floridastatefair.com .

Sant’ Yago Illuminated Knight Parade

Gasparilla season continues. This time, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn serves as grand marshal for the Sant’ Yago Illuminated Knight Parade, featuring more than 100 illuminated floats, marching bands, krewes and their royalty. The parade runs down Seventh Avenue from Nuccio Parkway to 22nd Street. Free. Saturday at 7 p.m.


  • Louis C.K.: Part of the comic’s low-profile national comeback, after admitting sexual misconduct in front of multiple women, he has shows at Sidesplitters through Saturday. $30 and up, but they are selling out fast. 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960-1197. sidesplitterscomedy.com .


  • Seal at Fla. Orchestra Gala: He’ll bring songs by Porter and the Gershwins to St. Petersburg on Saturday for the Florida Orchestra’s annual gala, where he’ll perform backed by the symphony and conductor Michael Francis. 7 p.m. Saturday. Mahaffey Theater.


  • Lady Swanwhite: The last time Anton Coppola had a big show at the Straz Center, several members of his famous extended family came to Tampa for the occasion, including Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage and Phoenix singer Thomas Mars (Sofia’s husband). Now nearly 102, he’ll premiere a new opera, Lady Swanwhite, based on a Swedish fairy tale about a princess (soprano Maria Brea) who, upon being sent to learn the art of becoming a queen, falls in love with a prince (tenor Thomas Massey). Don’t be surprised to see a few famous faces at this historic, once-in-a-lifetime Opera Tampa show, too. 7 p.m. Saturday. Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $59 and up. (813) 229-7827. Strazcenter.org .


  • Lightning: Hockey Day Tampa Bay: Join Lightning alumni and staff for this day all about hockey with a “learn-to-play jamboree,” scrimmages, Lightning High School Hockey League All-Star Game and a firefighter versus police game. Benefits the Lightning Sled Hockey Team. 8 a.m. Sunday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $10. (813) 301-6600. Also on Sunday, while the Lightning is across the state playing the rival Panthers, hit the beach to watch the action on a big screen. ThunderBug and the Lightning Girls will be on hand in the sand with giveaways, a DJ and games. No coolers. 5:30 p.m. Guy Harvey Outpost: A TradeWinds Resort, 6000 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Free. $10 parking. (727) 360-5551. Sunday’s Panthers game is sandwiched between home games for the Bolts Saturday (Penguins, 7 p.m.) and Tuesday (Flames, 7:30 p.m.). Ticket prices vary by game. (813) 301-6500.
  • Rays Fan Fest: Baseball season is almost here! Get pumped for the Rays with this event that includes player autographs and a gaming experience. Fans 18 and older must visit raysbaseball.com/fanfest for a free ticket. Autograph passes are $25. 11 a.m. Saturday. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 825-3242.


  • Cupid’s Undie Run: Comfortable underwear is the attire for this “brief” 1-mile fun run with a street party that includes music, a beer garden and dancing. Organizers’ goal: setting the record for largest pantless run. Benefits neurofibromatosis through the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Noon Saturday. Yard of Ale, 260 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $40. (727) 308-7668. Web.stpete.com
  • Must Love Dogs 5K: A free 5K run for you and, if you would like, your well-socialized canine companion. All donations received will go toward helping local pet owners afford their pets’ medical care. 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Crews Lake Wilderness Park, 16739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills. Free to attend; sign up on eventbrite.com . (727) 459-7331


  • Chinese New Year Celebration: Join the Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans to celebrate 2019, the Year of the Pig. There will be food and craft vendors, traditional Chinese dancers and musical instruments, a cultural walk with many Chinese exhibits, Lion dances and a photo booth with Le Le, SACA’s costumed panda. A children’s playground and crafts area with games will be located next to the park playground. Free. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Water Works Park, 1710 N Highland Ave., Tampa. (813) 274-8615
  • Vintage Market and Artisan Day: It really is a magical feeling to find a vintage item, especially if it has been lovingly chalk painted. Discover something new to you at the Shabby Chic Vintage Market and Artisan Day, which returns to Safety Harbor on Sunday. More than 150 vendors of unique home decor, upcycled furniture, vintage, antiques, artisanal foods and boutique clothing will be set up for your shopping pleasure. It’s also a gold mine of ideas and inspiration. There will be Dixie Belle paint-sponsored workshops and demos, so you can try your hand at shabby chic-ing something. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 401 Main St., Safety Harbor.


Hamil-Fest 2019: As we get ready for Hamilton to open at the Straz Center for a four-week run (starting Feb. 12), fans of the Broadway musical and real history will enjoy a panel of Hamilton history scholars, sing-alongs and games. There will be a historic costuming panel and a costume contest, as well as craft vendors, dance performances and interactive events. The free event is supported by the non-profit Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 641-8728. hamilfest.org .

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