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. To check out all of the weekend events courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times, click here.
Knight Parade: The last gasp of Gasparilla! WWE star Titus O'Neil serves as grand marshal of the Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago Illuminated Knight Parade with illuminated floats, dozens of marching bands, local dignitaries and thousands of participants throwing beads. The parade is free and starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Downtown Ybor City.
Florida State Fair: Every year, the Florida State Fair gets to test our guts with culinary creations, but it also has an edge as the country's first state fair of the year, which runs today (Thursday) through Feb. 17. It has the largest midway in the country, with more than 100 rides and games, along with daily entertainment on more than 40 acres. You'll see everything from racing pigs to daredevils such as circus legend Bello Nock, who made Guinness World Records for his feats.
Here's our guide to the fair: 2020 Florida State Fair: Everything you need to know
And a guide to the can't-miss new foods: https://www.tampabay.com/arts-entertainment/food/2020/01/22/all-the-new-florida-state-fair-foods-from-oreo-funnel-cake-to-peanut-butter-ramen-burgers/\
Rays Fan Fest: The free day of baseball fun at Tropicana Field on Saturday. You can shop a sale of used equipment for charity, tour the clubhouse, check out a youth clinic by second baseman Brandon Lowe, play games with Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, and hear panel discussions with executives and coaches. Also among the players slated to participate are Willy Adames, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and newcomer Yoshi Tsutsugo. The event is free, but tickets are required for admission using the Ballpark MLB app. Autograph passes, also available through the Ballpark app, are available for $25 for each player in limited numbers, with proceeds going to the team's charitable foundation. 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Hockey Day in Tampa Bay: A full day's worth of hockey programming that showcases the Lightning's contributions to youth hockey in the Bay area. The day includes an Alumni Skills Competition featuring former Lightning superstars Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, an NHL 20 tournament, Girls Hockey, Sled Hockey, used equipment sales, and more. Tickets are $10, and it runs from 8:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Sunday at Amalie Arena.
CONCERTS OF NOTE
Billy Joel: The Piano Man has played Amalie Arena every other winter, on the dot, since 2014. It's a far cry from the 120 or so shows he has played at Madison Square Garden, but it's more than a lot of other cities have gotten since his "retirement" in the 1990s. At 70, Joel should have plenty of touring years left. The show is at 8 p.m. Friday at Amalie Arena.
Grandmaster Flash: We have a winner for the strangest concert booking of the year. That would be hip-hop godfather Grandmaster Flash at the … Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo? Yeah, that's a head-scratcher. But any chance to see one of the genre's founding fathers in your' hood is a treat. He's a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member who won Sweden's Polar Music Prize, one of the industry's most prestigious honors. Tickets start at just $12.50, and the show begins at 8 p.m. Friday.
Florida Orchestra Pops: The Music of Bond, James Bond: The name is Francis. Michael Francis. And this weekend, the Florida Orchestra's music director will slip on a tuxedo and embrace his British roots by leading the orchestra through the music of James Bond, from Goldfinger to Live and Let Die to Skyfall. Don't be shocked if he busts out a mean Sean Connery impression from the podium. Tickets are $18 and up, and there are multiple shows, at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Mike Epps and Friends, Fabulously Funny: When asked in an interview what it was like playing opposite Eddie Murphy in the recent film Dolemite is My Name, Mike Epps said, "It was a party, man." Who's willing to bet that touring on his Fabulously Funny Comedy Festival feels like a party, too? It comes to Tampa with fellow laugh riots Sommore, Gary Owen, and Lavell Crawford. Tickets are $59 and up at 8 p.m. Friday at the Yuengling Center.
Rob Schneider: The last time Rob Schneider came to Tampa, he was opening for his pal Adam Sandler at Amalie Arena. Now the Sandman's off winning raves for his movie Uncut Gems, and Schneider's back in clubs. No disrespect, of course. The man has also acted in several non-Sandler projects, his daughter Elle King is a massive music star, and you might even still hear the Richmeister in your head when you're makin' copies at the office. Eventually, Schneider will pop back up in another Sandler movie, but for now, you can catch him up close and personal at the Improv. Tickets are $30 and up. The show is at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Improv.
Samuel J. Comroe: The America's Got Talent finalist's comedy is based on having Tourette's Syndrome. He has a comedy special called "I Got 99 Problems but a Twitch Ain't One of Them." 8:30 p.m. today, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday at Side Splitters Comedy Club.
WineFest 2020, Cabbyshack: Tampa Theatre's large annual fundraiser, this year is themed for Caddyshack, and guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite character from the golf classic, so expect to see lots of plaid pants and loud jackets. Though the theme may be silly, WineFest's purpose is most serious: The nonprofit Tampa Theatre was saved from demolition in the mid-'70s, is "a Cinderella story. Outta nowhere." It has multiple events this weekend from Friday's wine pairing dinner with Chef Marty Blitz of Mise en Place creates a multi-course, small-plate meal paired with top-shelf wines. $275, $500 two. 7 p.m. Friday. To Saturday's Wine Tasting with dozens of boutique wines and sample food from top area independent restaurants. $65, $55 members; $100, $90 members (premium). 7 p.m. Saturday. Tampa Theatre.
Sweet n Spicy Festival: Confectioners and fiery food purveyors take center stage at the Tampa Riverwalk Sweet n Spicy Festival. Try pepper and barbecue sauces, dry spices, jerky, jars of honey, cakes, rolled ice cream and waffles — and even vegan pastries — from vendors including food trucks and food tents before making a purchase. Free admission, but food and drink are additional. It runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday at Water Works Park.
Pasco Blues & Food Festival: Food trucks are behind the munchies portion of the fourth annual Pasco Blues & Food Festival, while bands and headliner Selwyn Birchwood provide the live music. Also expect wine and beer, vendors and a kids zone. Chairs and blankets are permitted, as are dogs. Leave your cooler at home. Benefits two Pasco County nonprofits. Tickets are $10, but children 11 and younger free. The festival runs from noon-7 p.m. Saturday at Land O' Lakes Heritage Park.
World's Biggest Bounce House: This is the first of three weekends for the World's Biggest Bounce House, setting up first at Raymond James Stadium, then moving to Ruskin Recreation for the weekends of Feb. 14 and 21. The inflatable attraction is Guinness certified and has expanded by 30 percent this year to more than 13,000 square feet of bouncing and a customized sports arena filled with goals, nets, hoops, and balls of every size. There's also a 900-foot-long obstacle course with 50 inflatable obstacles and airSPACE, a space-themed area of ball pits, mazes, and a five-person slide. $17 and up. Book your time slot online and head to 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway!
Mutts Gone Nuts: A troupe of dogs and their trainers comes to town with the comedy show Mutts Gone Nuts. The family-friendly show will feature a range of tricks and humor created by Scott and Joan Houghton and their canine partners, all adopted from animal shelters and rescues. See the dogs dance, leap, balance on barrels, jump rope, walk a high wire, and even say their prayers. Tickets are $18-$35 from 1–2:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Tampa Bay Toy Expo: It's a sobering moment when items from your youth are labeled "retro." Revel in nostalgia at the Tampa Bay Toy Expo, where you can complete your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Masters of the Universe, or My Little Pony collections. And if it's obscure, vintage, and classic toys you're after, look no further. It's all free from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at Hilton Garden Inn Tampa North.
THIS WEEK IN DRESS-UP
Oscar Night: Like prom for movie lovers, Tampa Theatre is rolling out the red carpet Sunday night to watch the Oscars telecast on the big screen. They will even give you a limo ride around the block beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Franklin Street under the historic marquee. So that you can get out and walk the red carpet with paparazzi and questions by the interviewer "Roan Jivers" about what and who you are wearing. Head inside for free popcorn and soda, games, prizes, and hair and makeup touch-ups from professional stylists. Then there's a big-screen presentation of the Academy Awards live on ABC. The Oscars begin at 8 p.m., but the fun starts at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tampa Theater.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.