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.
It seems Jalapeno Mexican Grill Tampa is getting more and more popular. Miguel Espinosa's happening restaurant -- which is probably the only Mexican restaurant in Tampa which also serves sushi -- just got a nice little write-up in the summer edition of Bay Pop Magazine, a lifestyle glossy that covers the Tampa Bay area. On page 120, writer Eric Snider does a great job profiling the restaurant. And we applaud him for homing in on the restaurant's quesadillas -- the fresh ingredients used, and the meticulous way in which they are prepared. We would have mentioned the flan, but who's to quibble. Nice work all.
Read About Jalapeno Mexican Grill here: BAYPOP Magazine - Page 121
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
After a three-year absence, the No Way Out wrestling smackdown returns to the big screen in a pay-per-view event you can catch at Prime Time Sports Grill, that happening Carrollwood sports bar at 14404 North Dale Mabry Highway. It's on June 17, and it starts at 8 p.m. Broadcast from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., Now Way Out is featuring three exciting match-ups -- John Cena vs. Big Show in a steel cage match; Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the world heavyweight championship; and CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane for the WWE championship. Del Rio and Sheamus are, of course, vying for the grandest prize, but the Punk-Bryan-Kane contest should be the most entertaining, as fans wonder whether Kane will be used as a pawn, or how.
Come June 12, Working Women of Tampa Bay is paying a visit at Tate & Tilly's, that cool collection of chic boutiques. WWOTB is a group of enterprising entrepreneurs that does what it can, which is a lot, to generate synergy for female professionals and women business owners. As a matter of fact, it’s won a couple of networking awards in a contest sponsored by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The event at Tate & Tilly’s begins at 6.30 p.m., and it’s called Girls Night Out. There will be cocktails and scrumptious cupcakes courtesy of Li’bb cupcake -- and networking and networking and networking. Oh, and everyone will receive a swag bag courtesy of WWOTB. In case you’ve forgotten, Tate N Tilly’s is located at 14349 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. If you’re interested, and you should be if you are of the feminine persuasion, sign up here: Working Women of Tampa Bay Networking Event
In the restaurant business you have to be good, maybe great, to survive. Mangroves SoHo qualifies. It’s been in Tampa for 16 years, and, to celebrate, the chic enterprise is holding a special anniversary party on June 8. For starters, Mangroves SoHo is bringing in for entertainment a couple of artists who have quickly established themselves among the top acts in their fields in west central Florida. One is Lisa Casalino, who, in the span of a couple of years, has transformed herself from a former teacher and real estate agent into one of Tampa’s top jazz singers. Her phrasing is dead-on, and she can swing with the best of them. The other is Dj Dmz, who routinely mixes dance beats for Mangroves SoHo. Another draw for the anniversary party is a cool gesture by Mangroves SoHo -- complimentary cocktails from 8 to 10 p.m.
You should come. Mangroves Tampa has always been a beautiful club and restaurant, with a décor that may remind you of Miami’s South Beach. But it now has a new look, with new colors, new lighting and newly-designed walls. This is another reason to come to the anniversary celebration. Structurally, the place is still its magnificent self. As many know, it’s one of the few places with two levels of dining – PLUS outdoor dining – and a 60-foot stain glass lighted bar that has become legendary. The menu has become legendary, too, with a nice mix of quality seafood and beef selections, prepared with passion and grace. Mangroves SoHo is located at 208 South Howard Ave. in upscale Hyde Park. Like we said, you should come.
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Sharon Britton, an intellectual property attorney, didn't start painting until a couple of months ago. It came about through happenstance. Her 5-year-old daughter wanted an art show at the house, and Sharon, being the conscientious and fun mom she is, obliged by buying a bunch of supplies. At some point the family decided to do one painting together. Then Sharon discovered a kind of yearning in herself: She wanted to paint something on her own. She did one bright, fantastically-colored painting, then another, and she really hasn’t stopped since. Her husband and two children are enthralled with her work, naturally, but so are some connoisseurs.
On the evening of May 24, you can check out Britton’s art work at Kensington Salon and Spa at 715 S. Howard Ave., Suite 100, in Tampa. There’s a special showing, from 6:30 p.m. to 9, with a complimentary glass of wine. Though showcasing Britton's work is the evening’s primary purpose, there will be a couple of other things you can take in. There will be some clothing on display, courtesy of Urban Body Clothing, which is next door at 711 S. Howard Ave., Suite 100, and whose products we’ve featured a couple of times on townspree.com. And there will be some jewelry on display, courtesy of stella and dot. One more bonus. If you go, you will receive a 20 % off gift voucher for any services you might purchase in the future at Kensington’s.
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
SNL Alum Tim Meadows has rescheduled appearance at Side Splitters to May.
Funny man has done spoofs on O.J., Oprah and Michael.
Tim Meadows, one of the longest running cast members on Saturday Night Live, was supposed to come to Side Splitters Comedy Club on March 29, but he rescheduled. The new dates are May 17, 18, 19 and 20, according to the comedy club's web site. (With two shows on that Friday, two shows on that Saturday).
Meadows is known for his send-ups of famous African-Americans, including Tiger Woods, Ike Turner and Sammy Davis Jr. Anyone remember the 2000 film, "The Ladies Man?" The one where his character, a radio host, claims to have had sex with every type of woman under the sun? It's become something of a DVD classic.
How about the Herman Cain's sexual harassment training video he did? Did you see it? It's funny.
If YouTube videos are to be believed, Meadows doesn't recreate his famous SNL characters during his stand-up routines. He tends to do things like riff on his kids being half-Jewish, how he gets confused with the actor Don Cheadle, or silly things stars like Rihanna do. Whatever he says at Side Splitters is sure to be hilarious.
For tickets, visit this link: Tim Meadows at Side Splitters 2012
"The Freak," "King Kahn," and "King Kong Kahn." The 31-year-old bodybuilder, who was born in Pakistan, divides his time between the United Kingdom and the United States. He suffered some injuries some time ago, but he's working his way back to the stage. In the process, he has made a series of motivational videos for Nutrex Research, a company that makes and markets an array of supplements, including the popular Hemo-Rage shots.
He is currently on a nationwide tour on behalf of Nutrex, and has two stops in Tampa on March 31. He is expected to stop in at DNC Supplements, at 4115 Gunn Highway, Tampa, at 10 a.m. for a few hours. Then, at 3 p.m., he'll stop in at Southern Muscle, 2056 Badlands Drive, in Brandon, for a couple of hours.If you are an aspiring or professional bodybuilder, you should probably try to make it to one of his appearances.
The videos he's made in concert with Nutrex appear on the Nutrex Research web site, and separately on YouTube. You should watch them if you're trying to motivate yourself to get off the couch and work out.You should also watch them if you want some sort of insight as to why The Freak works out. Sure, it's to achieve your personal best. But Kahn also says it's a kind of meditation for him, a way to deal with stress and anger. Kahn will sign autographs at the appearances, and there will be free T-shirts and swag bags.