Well, it's a judgment call, but we're going to start out with the fireworks in the fine city of St. Petersburg, at the city's icon, the Pier. There's a full day of family-oriented activities. It starts at noon with Bus Stop, a classic rock band that'll play at The Pier's courtyard stage until 3:00 p.m. Then there's a switcheroo to country-and-western music, with Kim Betts and the Gamble Creek Band. They play from 4 to 7 p.m. Nestled in between the two shows is an act called Baby Grand in the Sand, which is essentially a guy named Joe Lombardo playing his baby grand piano. Lombardo will then play from 7 to 8 p.m., when soulRcoaster takes the stage, playing pop rock hits until 11 p.m. That's the music. There will also be face-painting from noon to 9 p.m. And for those who would like to leave their faces as they are, who would actually like to take their faces and put them on a different body, there's Dance Heads," a video set-up where people can star in their own videos, then take a DVD copy of the video home with them. By the way, you get to pick your own song. This is available from 2 to 5 p.m. Need more? From 1 to 8 p.m., Fritz, a balloon-twisting, unicycle-riding funny man, will be out and about, drawing chuckles from the crowd with his hilarious antics. And the Power Skipper will be there, too, from 1 to 5 p.m. with leaps and bounds almost in Superman's league. There will also be the "One Man Band," who will be strolling about The Pier's grounds from 4 to 8 p.m. That'll take you almost right up to the fireworks, which begin at 9 p.m.
Another city that's taking the time to put together a nice July 4th event is Clearwater. It's at Coachman Park, which, like The Pier, is on the water, the Intracoastal Waterway, to be exact. This free event begins at 4 p.m. There will be lots of children's activities, including games, face-painting and a mascot parade. The Mostly Pops Orchestra, which has some 40 musicians, is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. or so, and they will be accompanied by singers John Wilson, the WTVT Fox 13 anchor, and his wife, Mary K. Wilson, who teaches singing at St. Petersburg College. The fun-filled day will end at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks that are synchronized to music. Clearwater boasts this is the largest fireworks display in the Tampa Bay area. Any questions? You can call (727) 562-4700.
Now, if the Coachman Park fireworks are to your liking, or if you live in Clearwater or north Pinellas, or if you are making the jaunt across Tampa Bay from Hillsborough County, we have a suggestion. Tropics Boat Tours, which is at 25 Causeway Blvd., Slip 5, (or right across from the Pier 60 parking lot in Clearwater) is offering a special July 4th tour. You can go on a sunset cruise aboard Tropics' dandy two-level boat, and catch the fireworks from the boat's second, open top deck. The cruise lasts two and a half hours. Boarding is at 7:30 p.m., with a departure scheduled for 8 p.m. For more information, seeTropics Boat Tours July 4th Cruise
The fireworks at The Pier and Coachman Park are essentially at city parks. If you want to watch fireworks, with your toes in the sand, you have a couple of options. Treasure Island's fireworks are on the beach, at 104th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, and they begin at 9 p.m. St. Pete Beach has fireworks, too. They will be launched from a barge in the Gulf of Mexico, directly west of the Dolphin Village Shopping Center, which is at 4615 Gulf Blvd. The fireworks begin when it gets dark. All the regular beach and parking ordinances will be in effect. Want more information? Call (727) 367-2735.
The big fireworks in Tampa are at Channelside, the residential and entertainment district at 615 Channelside Drive just east of downtown Tampa. They begin at 9 p.m. You might consider watching the display from the Florida Aquarium, which is only charging $10 after 3 p.m. Typically, the aquarium charges $21.95 for an adult. This way, you can avoid the crowds. Another way to view the fireworks is from the Yacht Starship, which is offering a special July 4th cruise and dinner from one of their splendid yachts. Yacht Starship also has a yacht in Clearwater, so you can sign up for a dinner cruise there, and catch the Coachman Park fireworks. For more information, go to: Yacht StarShip
There are also some fireworks in Pasco County, but they are nowhere near the water. One, called Sparklebration, is at the Pasco County Fairgrounds at 36722 State Road 52 in Dade City. Gates open at 4. Admission is $5, parking is $5, but kids 12 and under get in for free. There's a lot going on at this event. Critters to pet. An Elvis impersonator. At least three eating contests (water melon, apple pie and hot dogs). Pony rides. A funny hypnotist. And musical delights such as the fetching Laura Dewees. Bring your lawnchair and blankets, but don't bring any booze or coolers.
There is also another fireworks display in Pasco County, but it's not on the fourth. This one is at Sims Park in New Port Richey's historic downtown, and it's on June 30, from 2 to 11 p.m. There will be arts and crafts on display, a Miss Firecracker contest, and a kids' activity area, plus a bunch of bands, including the nationally-known Aerosmith cover band called Draw the Line. For more information, go to: New Port Richey Main Street
Busch Gardens has the unique distinction of having fireworks on July 4th AND June 30 AND pretty much on every night from June 9th through August 12. It's more of a celebration of the summer than it is a celebration of Independence Day. In fact, it's called Summer Nights. They are set off after that spectacular mix of rock music and acrobatics called Kinetix, that takes place at the Gwazi Park stage. While you are there, try the Cheetah Hunt ride in the dark. Yikes.
Well, it's time again for one of the biggest charitable events of the year in Plant City -- the golf classic sponsored by O'Brien's Irish Pub (the Plant City O'Brien's, obviously, for those of you who don't know there are O'Brien's Irish pubs in Tampa and Brandon). The classic is in its sixth year, so naturally, it's called the Sixth Annual O'Brien's Plant City Golf Classic. It takes place on June 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and it'll be at the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club. This is a great opportunity to get out there, play some golf, and enjoy good company - and it's all for a good cause. This year, the beneficiary of the Plant City's community's philanthropic effort is the United Food Bank & Services of Plant City, a good group whose mission is to eradicate hunger in East Hillsborough County, and help folks become self-reliant.
If you are interested, you should sign up now, as the tournament is limited to 36 paid teams. Go to: O'Brien's Plant City Golf Classic
Golf, Range Balls, Lunch, Beverages, Goody Bags, an O’Brien’s Golf Shirt, Award Ceremony & Buffet @ O’Brien’s Plant City.
Gator Fred's Fun & Party Center, one of the best Tampa indoor jump house and play arenas around, has figured out what to do with those little bundles of energy during these hot, sweltering months in the Sunshine state. There are two groups that need to keep on reading. One? Parents. The second group? Day camps. Both are often at a loss as to what to do with their little charges, especially when it's raining. Fred Medina, the owner of Gator Fred's Tampa, has come up with a couple of ideas designed to give your kids something to do -- and save you some money.
First, we'll deal with the camps, you know, like the YMCA, for instance. If the activities directors at these camps need some ideas, Fred suggests they book in advance two-hour time slots at Gator Fred's so the kids can take advantage of its 11,000 square feet of bounce houses and numerous play areas. Gator Fred's will only charge $5 per child (it's usually $8 to get in the door). And, on top of that, he'll throw in a $50 mark-down from what it usually costs the camps to bring a big bounce house to their facilities. Since the bounce houses usually cost upwards of $100, we're talking close to 50 percent off.
Now, let's talk about those parents with their kids at home. Fred is offering this: for $30, a parent can bring a child to Gator Fred's for 30 days in a row. Now, remember it usually costs $8 for one day, so this is quite a deal. We suggest moms buy it, just to have it in their back pockets if the need arises. For two kids, Fred's only going to charge you $50 (not $60, as you might expect). And three kids? $70, not $90.
And remember, Gator Fred's is one of the few places open seven days a week.
Learn more about this Indoor Play Center by visiting their profile: Gator Fred's Fun & Party Center
Gator Fred's Tampa
5360 Ehrlich Road
Tampa Florida 33625
Listen up young golfers. There's a really cool juniors' golf camp at the resplendent Silverado Golf & Country Club in Zephyrhills later this month. It begins June 25th and runs through June 29. There might be a second camp, but that's not assured, so if you're interested in improving your game, we advise you sign up as soon as possible. The camp begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until noon. Kids from 8 years old to 15 can participate. It costs $150 per young golfer, and, to guarantee your spot, you need to pay in advance. The camp is limited to 24 players. The price of the camp covers golf instruction, lunch, and, on the last day of camp, a 20-foot ice cream sundae. That's not one 20-foot ice cream sundae for everyone. Everyone's got to share. To sign up, best call the Pro Shop at (813) 788-1225.
Okay, boat owners in Pasco County. Listen up. On Sunday, May 27, Skeleton Key Marina is having a special “Customer Appreciation Day.” It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. It’s sort of a pot-luck affair, with customers chipping in. One is already promising to roast a pig. Another is bringing pasta salad. There will also be hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids. And music, courtesy of a professional sound system. “The customers get to know each other and we’re welcoming new customers, to let them know what we’re all about,” said Jeff Schuyler, the marina harbor master.
Also welcome are boat owners who buy fuel from Skeleton Key Marina, and who may keep their vessels in nearby canals. “It’s going to be a nice party,” Schuyler said. “You can’t miss us.” The food is free, but it’s BYOB in the alcohol department. “Bring your cooler with you and have some fun,” Schuyler said. Skeleton Key Marina is at 6300 Clark St. in Hudson, and is closer to the Gulf of Mexico than any other marina in Pasco County. To learn more about the marina, go to: Pasco County Marina
It's graduation season. Ceremonies are in full swing – especially at high schools. There are at least 18 high school graduations in Pinellas County in June, and some 27 in Hillsborough.
Now, we know some parents believe they should be the ones celebrated for their children getting that diploma. Oh, how parents have tolerated their teens – their surliness, their leaving everything to the last minute, and, with the girls, the inexplicable bursting into tears. But let’s face it. If your kid is getting that high school diploma, he or she has had something to do with it. What's wrong with a good pat on the back, after spending years pointing a finger in their faces? And what better way to pat them on the back than to order a special cake for them? You know they already like sugar. Have lived off sugar, frankly, for the last four years, if not longer.
This is where Carolyn Janssen comes in. Janssen is the owner of A Better Cheesecake, a long-time bakery specializing in cakes that's located at 2519 N. McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater. Janssen was once an artist and she brings an artist's flair to her concoctions. We know your teen is primarily interested in the sugar and icing on the cake, but Janssen can transform its shape into virtually anything without sacrificing its delicious taste. She's done cakes in the shape of flip flops, poker tables, cars, pigs, sunglasses, and, yes, she has put together cakes topped with a graduation cap, with a diploma attached. We're sure if you wanted your cake to represent your alma mater's mascot or insignia, she could probably do it in her sleep. Her customers already know this. Last year, she did separate cakes for a pair of graduating twins and in years past for graduating triplets. If you are not one of her customers, you should obviously become one.
"A Better Cheesecake" of Clearwater also makes wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and cakes for pretty much any occasion. For more information on this awesome bakery, visit this link: Clearwater Bakery
Don't forget to click and use this printable coupon on your next cake order.
Everyone knows GattiTown Clearwater is a good place for kids to let loose and have some fun, but the folks there also want to do their part in helping kids be safe. To that end, the business is teaming up with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for a special safety day this Saturday, as part of the sheriff’s office’s "Live Safe" program. There will be two educational safety presentations at GattiTown, one at 11 a.m. and another at 12:30 p.m. Typically, deputies tell parents and children to be on the look-out for certain behaviors, so the children can remain safe. But they manage to mix in some fun, too. For instance, the kids will leave their fingerprints on a card and have their photos taken. Then, cards with the child’s name, fingerprint and portrait will be given to the parents. This is all free. There's something else that's free, too – the kids' buffet. To get that, an adult has to pay the adult price to eat at the buffet. It’s a killer deal.
Sweet & Sassy has always been one of our favorite small businesses. You see, mothers bring their daughters here so the daughters can get little makeovers, you know, mini-manicures, cute little haircuts, that kind of thing. Stephanie Diaz, who runs the Sweet and Sassy at 14361 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, enjoys letting little girls be princesses for the day.
Starting June 12, she'll be starting a summer camp called Glam Week. It runs Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and each day has a theme. You can drop your daughter off for just one day of the week if you’d like, or she can go all four days. These glam weeks go on until Aug. 17 , so it’ll work if you don’t have anything planned for a particular week, or if you just want to drop your kid off for a couple of hours so you can go get a facial yourself. It costs $35 if you want to drop your daughter off for a day, and $129 for the four-day packages. Oh, and while we are on the subject of cool deals, we’d like to mention that every Tuesday, anyone four years old or younger gets a haircut for $10. And Tuesday through Friday, if a parent pays for a haircut for one child, the price of the second haircut is cut in half.
Sweet & Sassy of Tampa (Citrus Park)
14361 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa FL 33618
Are you feeling bad about the way you look? Are you feeling depressed or low-energy? Many people think they know what to do and never incorporate it into their lifestyle. Are you making a good faith effort with diet and exercise, but you’re not getting the results you want? You need help with some professional advice. On the morning of May 19, in Tarpon Springs, two professionals will be at PMR Elite Fitness & Massage in Tarpon Springs to help you. Connie Russo, the owner of PMR, is a licensed massage therapist and a certified personal and group fitness instructor. The other professional is Gloria Constantas, who is a licensed hypnotherapist and a counselor. The pair are giving a free seminar that begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 10 a.m. Connie and Gloria will talk about the benefits of exercise, strength training, aerobics, good nutrition, as well as other things. In short, they’ll tell you how to reshape your body – and your lifestyle. Connie will inspire you as she instructs you how to stretch and perform certain exercises. If you go, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and gym shoes, and bring a towel and water bottle.Remember. This is a free event. There will be door prizes, and specials on training sessions, massages and foot detoxification.
The Grind House Bar & Grill in Clearwater has a way of celebrating special holidays with special specials, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. The partying begins in earnest at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 (duh). The pub, which is located at 1500 N. McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, is offering 99-cent tacos, $5 fish tacos, $2.50 margaritas and coronas, plus shots of Patron tequila at $5 a pop. And, as usual, the Grind House has its usual excellent food, like the chicken enchiladas. Plus there will be give-aways -- hats, t-shirts, that kind of thing. So go on down