This Weekend Brings A Mix Of Pride, Renaissance, Glass & Games To Tampa Bay

THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN TAMPA BAY

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.

Rays Opening Weekend: Last season’s Tampa Bay Rays team of overachievers opens the 2019 season with a four-game series at Tropicana Field against the Houston Astros. Saturday’s game features perhaps the best giveaway the Rays have all season, the Cy Zilla bobblehead, featuring Snell rising out of the water, with a familiar tail in front of a Tampa Bay-looking skyline. The Rockies then come to town to usher in April with games Monday (7:10 p.m.), Tuesday (7:10 p.m.) and Wednesday (1:10 p.m.).

Tampa Pride Parade and Festival: This year marks the fifth year of the Tampa Pride Diversity Festival and Parade. It’s fair to say Tampa’s history with the parade and festival is complicated but the growth is exponential and expected to set records this year. After a bruising battle over an 8-year ban by Hillsborough County Commission to repeal a ban on gay pride recognition, the parade returned in 2015. More than 40,000 are expected Saturday. There will be a parade, recognition of some of the public officials and activists who got them there and a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Tampa Bay is at 11 a.m. The 1 p.m. parade goes down at Seventh Avenue and Nuccio Parkway, followed by a performers’ showcase from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Click Here for more on the parade and festival from the Tampa Bay Times.

Price is Right Live: How are your Plinko skills? The Price Is Right Live is in town. The famous show’s traveling version brings the price-guessing games you’ve probably played along with for years. You may get a chance to “come on down” and try to match wits in the Big Wheel, Plinko, Cliffhangers and Showcase Showdown. This has proved so popular over the years that Tuesday’s show is sold out. A second show at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday was close to selling out at press time. But sometimes, tickets are released at the last minute. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $25-$65. (727) 791-7400. Rutheckerdhall.com

Food

Cuban Sandwich Festival: This two-day celebration now in its eighth year pays homage to Tampa’s most iconic handheld. In Ybor City, look for local and international vendors, beer, wine, live performances and lots of Cuban sandwiches. Things get started Saturday with a sandwich showdown for kids at Centro Asturiano de Tampa (1913 N Nebraska Ave). Plus, organizers will attempt to build the largest Cubano in the world; their goal is 175 feet. On Sunday, nearly 25 competitors gather at Centennial Park (1800 E Eighth Ave.) to see who can whip up the best take on the sandwich. VIP tickets are available. 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free (food/drink additional). thecubansandwichfestival.com

Art

  • The Glass Art Society is holding its 2019 conference in St. Petersburg this weekend. It’s a big deal to host a conference of this caliber, which was held last year in Murano, Italy. Headquartered at the St. Petersburg Hilton Bayfront, Florida residents can get day passes for $150 and a number of events are open to the public. Click Here for the Tampa Bay Times report on the conference. glassart.org
  • Craftsman House’s exhibition “American Glass World” includes 40 artists from the United States and Canada, including Patrick Primeau, whose work is pictured. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. 2955 Central Ave. (727) 323-2787. craftsmanhousegallery.com
  • The Morean Arts Center will display “Visions in Glass: GAS Member and Student Exhibition,” and the Chihuly Collection has “Perspectives in Glass: A Science in Optics,” showcasing society artists from the conference Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. At 6, catch a special performance of handmade glass instruments by the MIT Glass Band. 719 and 700 Central Ave. moreanartscenter.org What’s more, the hop offers the public art unveiling of James Brenner’s glass and steel sculptures, called On Edge, at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and 16th Street at 6 p.m.
  • Zen Glass hosts Project 33 Thursday through Saturday, a mobile glass unit. See “Seasons of Change,” a body of work and film by LaceFace Glass, from 7:10 to 9:10 p.m. Friday. 600 27th St. S. (727) 323-3141. Zenglass.com
  • Hyde Park Village ups the shopping ante when the Hyde Park Village Art Fair returns. More than 100 artists will showcase their work. Walls looking bare? Browse paintings, photography or drawings like Kimberly Albritton’s. Furniture needs accenting? Consider a glass or ceramic sculpture, vase or bowl. Bring nature inside with something made from turned wood. Treat yourself to a new piece of jewelry. No matter what you find, it’s special because you supported an artist. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1622 Snow Ave., Tampa. (561) 746-6615. artfestival.com

Sports

GRAND PRIX OF GULFPORT: The Formula power boats takes over Boca Ciega Bay just off Gulfport Beach for the third annual American Power Boat Association event, which is the season opener. There are open pits as well as a boat show and vendor booths. Noon Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. Sunday. Gulfport Recreation Center, 5730 Shore Blvd. S. Free. (727) 525-3803.

Concerts

  • John Mellencamp: He may be 67, but he has two sold out shows. Mellencamp tours the way he wants to tour, playing back-to-back nights in smaller theaters like Ruth Eckerd Hall instead of blaring R.O.C.K. in the USA in some hockey arena. It gives him a chance to linger on quieter songs, or play selections from his new covers collection Other People’s Stuff. And it makes for a great, intimate setting. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Blast Friday: Downtown Clearwater’s monthly block party brings a free concert by Grammy-nominated contemporary jazz group The Rippingtons (She Likes to Watch, Caribbean Breeze, Snowbound) with special guests Shaun Hopper and the Sun Kings. A street party with food trucks and drinks starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Cleveland Street and Lincoln Avenue. Free.
  • Florida Orchestra: For a romantic night, celebrated British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor returns to shine solo on Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. While a narrator will read Richard Dehmel’s 1986 poem that inspired the arrangement and guests will watch a short film of St. Petersburg artist Geff Strik creating an intricate, multilayered, 5 by 12-foot oil painting inspired by the dark but romantic poem, called Verklarte Nacht, or “Transfigured Night. Friday at the Straz Center, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $18-$48.
  • Florida Bjorkestra: The inventive St. Petersburg classical-pop ensemble (a full orchestra with a pop sensibility) is at the Palladium in St. Petersburg and will feature selections from two of their most famous programs. Ronnie Dee will sing the music of Peter Gabriel — one song from every album dating back to his Genesis days. Then Whitney James will take the mic for a selection of Kate Bush classics, including Running Up That Hill and Wuthering Heights. The Bjorkestra rarely repeats events, so if you missed their sold-out Gabriel and Bush shows from 2016, this is your chance to see them again. 6 p.m. Sunday $24 and up. (727) 822-3590. Mypalladium.org

Comedy

  • Paula Poundstone: We’ve come a long way since Cats, Cops and Stuff. Nearly 30 years later, she has turned her offbeat sensibilities into a new kind of brand, penning several books and appearing so frequently on NPR that she recently started her own podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, described as “a comedy field guide to life.” Saturday at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35 and up. (727) 791-7400. Atthecap.com
  • Michael Yo: The Chelsea Lately regular brings his Blasian (black-Asian) comedy tour. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $17. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com

Dance

Tap Dogs: Don’t expect basic tap dance moves from Tap Dogs, performing Friday through Sunday. This troupe is high energy and heavy on the masculinity, performing athletic moves on the set of a construction site. Their feet will make the beats, accompanied by female percussionists. They tap on water, upside down and climb all over scaffolding, and judging from a video, there’s a Magic Mike quality to the show, so maybe the audience is expected to do the cat calls! 8 p.m. March 29, 2 and 8 p.m. March 30, 2 p.m. March 31. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInness Place. $25 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org

Festivals

  • GardenFest: Spring is officially here, and the weather has been lovely. It’s the perfect time to get out and appreciate the bounty of nature. Formerly known as “Greenfest,” Tampa GardenFest brings locally grown plants, a butterfly exhibit, children’s activities, storytelling and garden tools to the Tampa Garden Club. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 2629 Bayshore Blvd. Free. (813) 839-4827. tampagardenclub.com
  • Chasco Fiesta: The annual nine-day festival in New Port Richey’s Sims Park gets under way Friday with a carnival midway featuring a special area with rides for younger children. Saturday brings a three-hour street parade of marching bands, floats and Krewes, which steps off from Gulf Drive and Grand Boulevard and takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday. Next weekend brings a concert by 80s pop star Eddie Money. chascofiesta.com

THIS WEEK IN DRESS-UP

Bay Area Renaissance Festival: The event that started it all, and it’s time to say fare-thee-well for the last weekend of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. The time-travel village of kings, queens, jousting, jugglers, mimes and madrigals, with archery contests and a human chess match. This weekend’s theme is “Wonders of the World,” highlighting a market and entertainment from around the globe and the Florida State Belly Dance Championship. The final week even includes a Steampunk Invasion, where you can expect pirates and Victorian costumes mixed with medieval garb for the Dr. Who costume contest and “Time Travelers Party.” 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of MOSI, 11315 N 46th St., Tampa. $21.95, $13.95 ages 5-12, $17.95 seniors, 4 and younger free. bayarearenfest.com

 
 
PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman

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