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April St Petersburg Area Events Splashy

April Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday ArtWalk

St Pete: First Friday

St Pete: Second Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

I’m afraid they’re going to get wet

St Anthony’s Triathlon

As I sit here nursing a foot energy, the thought if a Tri seems next to impossible.  

Perhaps you feel differently.  Or maybe you just want to show some support for those who are so ambitious.  At the very least you need to know where they’ll be and where the streets will be closed.

St Anthony Triathlon Maps

Clearwater’s Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, Clearwater

Ten days spent celebrating sand.  Activities include The Giant Sandbox (shh, don’t tell my cats), the Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit, sand sculpting classes, live music, fireworks., movies on the beach and more.

For the Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit, eleven world-class sculptors create sand sculptures according to a changing annual theme.  The Walk is housed under a 21,000 square foot tent.

https://sugarsandfestival.com

Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

This year’s event will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds on April 25th, 2020.

Now in its 15th year, this festival continues to preserve and enhance the cultural and historical legacy of Caribbean American heritage.

Events include exhibits, crafts, a street parade, a Steelpan Jamboree, top-name entertainment and vendors, a Jouvert morning experience, and high-stepping masquerade bands.  This might be the most colorful and lively festival the area has to offer and it is held in the beautiful month of April. I can‚Äôt think of a better reason to give it a go.

Green Thumb Festival

The Green Thumb Festival is St Petersburg’s annual Arbor Day celebration.

Plants, flowers and plant and flower lovers come together, along with individuals and families looking for a fund weekend activity.  

There will be more than 120 – yes one-hundred-and-twenty – plant and flower vendors and exhibitors. 

Held at Walter Fuller Park at 7891 26th Ave N on April 25th and 26th from 9 am to 4 pm

Check out the website here

Tampa Bay Blues Festival

A 3-day rite of passage for blues fans each spring.  Recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Best U.S. Blues Festival” in 2011, this event keeps people coming back year after year.  Unfortunately. this event is not pet-friendly. 

April 3, 4, and 5, 2020

Check out the history section of the website for a list of past performers. Held in Vinoy Park, downtown St Petersburg.

http://www.tampabaybluesfest.com

Mainsail Art Festival

Also held in Vinoy Park in downtown St Petersburg. Ranked one of the Top 20 Fine Art & Design Shows in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine.  2019 marked the 44th year of the festival.

April 18th and 19th, 2020

15th Annual Fun in the Sun Day

Family fun for everyone!  

April 11, 2020 from 10 am -12 pm at the Gulfport Recreation Center, 5730 Shore Blvd S)

Free festivities including an egg hunt, riding in a police boat, a fire truck an ambulance and more!

March St Petersburg Area Events Splashy

March Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday ArtWalk

St Pete: First Friday

St Pete: Second Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

Spring Training

Sometimes it just doesn’t get much better than lounging about, watching professional ball players warm up for the season.
While Florida teams are a bit more spread out than in say, Phoenix, you can still catch some spring training in Tampa or Clearwater. Check out the schedule here.

IndyCar Racing Series Grand Prix of St Petersburg

The Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg will be March 13 through March 15th in 2020.

This IndyCar race has been held in St Petersburg since 2009. And a recently renewed agreement means the race will be returning to the area for the next 5 years as well.

If you’re an IndyCar fan, the significance of the season opener needs no explanation for you. If you’ve never been to Grand Prix before, St Petersburg is a great place to get your feet wet.

Check out the website here and plan your adventure now.

Florida Strawberry Festival

Pop one in your mouth. Or maybe a few dozen

Did you know about Florida’s love affair with the strawberry? No, not the orange. (Or any citrus, really.) The strawberry! The first time I visited the Florida Strawberry Festival I thought it might be somewhat unique. It’s not. There are strawberry festivals all over the United States and even some in Canada, Australia, Italy and Japan. You can find a website with links to worldwide strawberry festivals here.

But we’re talking about the Florida Strawberry Festival, held in (where else?) Plant City, Florida in late February and early March. 11 days in all.

The website is https://flstrawberryfestival.com. You van find out about rides & attractions, musical talent and visit the livestock show. Visit the website and signup for updates via email including 2020 dates!

Gulfport Pink Flamingo Tour of Homes

Gulfport’s tour of eclectic homes returns on March 7, 2020.

This year’s event will focus on the east side of the historic downtown.

Tickets can be purchased online at visitgulfportflorida.com or at Gulfport Beach Bazaar on Beach Blvd.  Facebook page here.

 

Run for the sake of cupcakes in Pass-A-Grille, will ya already?

Race for the Cupcake

March is all about races here, and this event is no different.
OK, well it is different in that it involves you moving at high speed. Ok just moving, maybe not a high speed. And not in an IndyCar or a boat.
So before you head out to the Pink Flamingo Tour of Homes, head out to Hurley Park at 1501 Gulf Way in St Pete Beach for the 2020 Race for the Cupcake.
Proceeds from this event benefit Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a non-profit program that encourages girls to develop self-respect, to be joyful and confident, and to live a healthy lifestyle through interactive lessons, running games, and a culminating celebratory 5k run.
Sounds worthwhile to me! Plus you get a cupcake! You can find the website here.

Cuban Sandwich Festival

If you’ve ever had a REALLY good cuban sandwich, the finding out that a Cuban Sandwich Festival exists is probably just a big dull “duh” to you. Am I right or am I right?
Ever since I fell in love with the idea of a Cuban sandwich after Jon Favreau’s “Chef” in 2014, Cuban sandwiches are on my short list of favorite foods to try at new eating establishments.
(If you must know the other items on the list are crab cakes, fish spread, flan, lobster bisque and tortilla soup.)
Now this is just a guess, but I have a hunch that a great place to sample some really tasty cuban sandwiches just might be at a Cuban sandwich festival. Just sayin’ I have the inside scoop on this.
The 2020 Tampa area event is on Sunday, March 29th at Centennial Park in Historic Ybor City at 1800 E. 8th Avenue in Tampa.
The event is an international competition that attracts cooks from all over the world.

Maybe not quite this small

2020 Florida Suncoast Tiny Homes Festival

Oh, the irony that the 2020 Florida Suncoast Tiny Home Festival needs a larger venue.

I should just stop there.

Anyway…The 2020 event will be held March 28 and 29th in England Brothers Park in Pinellas Park and will feature more than 30 tiny structures.

If you’ve been binge-watching Tiny House Nation, then this is for you. Where else can you try on so many small structures, even if just to assure yourself that your McMansion is perfect for you?

Still, as the owner of a 330 SF “tiny home”, I’m intrigued.

Website here: tinyhomestpete.com

Gulfport Grand Prix

It’s fair to say that this event is not without controversy in our sleepy little community. Because during this event the area is anything but sleepy.
Still, for 3 days at the end of March, this boat show and boat race is happening and Boca Ciega Bay is a rather unique area to experience an event like this.
Visit the event’s website for the schedule maps, and other helpful information.
And one thing is guaranteed – you’ve never seen Gulfport like this!
GrandprixGulfport.com

Reggae Rise Up Music Festival

It’s hard to think of better music for a festival than reggae.

And it’s even more difficult to think of a better location and time of year for any music festival than Vinoy Park in St Petersburg in March.

2020 Dates are March 20-22.

Visit the website at reggaeriseupflorida.com for festival info, including the lineup, tickets, what you can bring in and what you can’t and even how to get involved.

Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival

When an event is in its 46th year, I think it is safe to say it has been a success.
The 46th Annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival takes place March 14 and 15th in beautiful Craig Park. This park is ocated between Spring and Whitcomb Bayous.
Tarpon Springs was voted best Historic Small Town for 2018 by USA Today. Tarpon Springs is home to the Sponge Docks, brick streets, Victorian mansions and intimate bungalows.
The arts festival is juried, so you won’t find any mass-produced items here.

Tomilson Park in Gulfport

Green space and outdoor fitness done right

Can you say face-plant?

The recently renovated Tomlinson Park Complex in Gulfport Florida has a little something for everyone:

  • 1-acre man-made pond with fountain
  • Nature Boardwalk
  • Walking Trail
  • Playground equipment for children ages 18 months through 12 years old
  • Fitness and exercise area for adults
  • Batting cage
  • One softball and one baseball field

Spidey-wall contraption

I think half the challenge is figuring out what to do here

What do you even do on these?‚Äč

The park has both softball and baseball fields, providing one of two homes for Little League.

Insider Tip: Go early in the day or late in the day

Especially in summer. Most if not all of the equipment is in full sun. For a shaded playground try RW Caldwell Park.

There’s a pond with waterfowl and fish. ¬†Plus trees along the perimeter can provide a great backdrop for walking your furry friend.

Time to work on that upper body strength kids

This looks like hard work

Tree spears for climbing

Where to Find It

Tomlinson Park Complex Gulfport Florida
19th Ave S and 54th St S
Open 7 am to 9 pm.
Gulfport has two little league fields – this one at Tomlinson and one at Hoyt Field.

I like the imagination that went into some of these contraptions

The pond is home to a few waterfowl and fishies!

One of two places Little League plays in Gulfport

Chili Verde – Mexican Paradise Found Right Here in St Petersburg

This Newcomer is Getting Attention

The food at Chili Verde is awesome. Awesome as in I think about it even when I am not there. Awesome in that I think about it even when I have leftovers in my fridge.

Awesome in that I check my leftover container multiple times to make sure no one in the household is stealing bites. (Or worse, eating all of it!)

Just go knowing there’s no memorable atmosphere, no famous chef, no killer margaritas and no hour-long wait. Just authentic food you may never forget.

You can get your tacos crispy

How I Found It

Ironically, my journey to Chili Verde started at VIP Lounge in Treasure Island.  After yet another trip to VIP where the wait was an hour or more in the middle of a weekday afternoon, Terry and I took to Yelp and Google. We were starving and we wanted Mexican. Now.  Deciding that both Agave and Chili Verde sounded like solid options, we let the direction the car was already headed make the decision for us. Chili Verde it was.

We drove onward, me chattering on about how it must be new because I drive that way all the time and I couldn’t place it.   We arrived at the appointed location and turned left into…a former gas station?

You know what I‚Äôm talking about. ¬†Once a gas station in appearance, always a gas station in appearance. And not what I was expecting. ¬†But my stomach, 170+ reviews on Yelp and almost 700 ‚Äď yes, seven hundred ‚Äď reviews on Google with an average rating of 4 1/2 stars suggested we give it a shot.

My Trifecta – Enchiladas Verdes made with ground beef, steak and chicken quesadilla and those beans!

And what a shot it was. ¬†I had the Enchiladas Verdes made with ground beef. I love enchiladas ‚Äď chicken enchiladas, cheese enchiladas, spinach enchiladas, seafood enchiladas ‚Äď you get the idea. ¬†If you love enchiladas you‚Äôve probably tried them every way imaginable. ¬†Enchiladas to me always seem decadent. ¬†Lots of cheese, usually.

The Enchiladas Verde

Chili Verde’s Enchiladas Verde are different.  Maybe it is the delicate corn tortillas that seem as though they were made seconds before moving on to the their enchilada destination.  Maybe it is the generous smothering of the light verde sauce. Maybe it is the delicate unmelted grated cheese on top of the mound of shredded lettuce piled on top.  After almost a dozen servings of this same dish, I’m still not sure.  But trust me, it’s good.

Accompanying the enchiladas are rice and beans.  I’m not a huge rice fan, but I usually end up eating it all.

Now for the beans.  I love beans.  Whole, refried, churro-style, black, pinto, you name it.  These are quite decadent and I have taken to ordering an extra side.  I want to know and don’t want to know how they’re prepared. I’m afraid my nutritionist might not approve…

Close-up of the enchilada goodness

The Quesadillas

Equally delicious but definitely heavier and more filling are their quesadillas.  We usually get the steak-chicken combo, and get an extra to take home nosh on.

This is the combo steak-chicken quesadilla with everything

Steak combo quesadilla – In case the first photo didn’t snag you

The Tacos

The tacos are little bits heaven.  Traditional Mexican street tacos with tortilla, meat, onions and cilantro.  If you want tomatoes, lettuce etc you can ask for it American style.

They’re sold individually, but I bet you can’t eat just one. ¬†Order 3 and try the Barbacoa. ¬†It is truly moist, flavorful and tender.

St Pete Foodies named Chili Verde one of the 10 Best Places to get tacos in St Petersburg Florida in 2018.  https://stpetersburgfoodies.com/restaurants/best-places-in-st-petersburg/10-best-taco-places-in-st-petersburg-fl-2018/

Barbacoa Tacos – looks pretty healthy to me!

 

Insider Tip: Yep, it used to be a gas station

Whatever you do, don’t let that deter you.¬†¬†

Hmm. I wonder what this used to be?

In 2018 St Pete Foodies included Chili Verde as a notable newcomer on its list of the 10 best St Petersburg restaurants list.  Since my personal favorites Red Mesa Restaurant and VIP Lounge are on that list I knew they were on to something.  But I was already on to Chili Verde.  And so were a couple of my friends! When I was so gracious to share my Chili Verde discovery with a couple fo so-called friends, guess what? They already knew.

My dream at present is to make it there some day before 10 am, so I can try the Chilaquiles.

I don’t believe the Cydesdales are real

The Details

Chili Verde, 2801 22nd Ave N, St Petersburg, Fl 33713-4248. ¬†They’re open late.

Yelp

Facebook page

Trip Advisor

It’s a small Mexican market too

Insider Tip: Second location coming to the Skyway Marina Village shopping center!

Stay tuned for more info

VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant – Treasure Island

Popular Gem Tucked Away

If you are new to the area, here’s what you need to know about VIP:

  • The food and atmosphere are addicting (watch out, waistline)
  • It has a cult-like following (do they put something in the food so I can’t stop?)
  • They don’t take reservations or call ahead orders (who wants to wait, right?)
  • It’s a TI landmark that is hard to find at night (maybe you shouldn’t be driving at night?)
  • VIP has an insane number of “regular” patrons (will there be any room for little ole’ me?)
  • Parking may be tricky. Free parking impossible really.  (I thought the best things in life were free?)
  • It’s small so best for smaller groups (But I want to go with all my Facebook friends?)

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Why You Should Go

However, if these things sound like reasons not to go, think again:

  • Tomorrow is always a great day to start a diet.
  • Yeah, they do put stuff in the food. Spices.  Peppers. Cheese. Tortillas.  It’s a restaurant, not a grocery store.
  • If you don’t want to wait go in the afternoon! You are on vacation so your day probably started late anyway.
  • I bet your Uber or Lyft driver can find it. Better yet, put the address in your GPS map app and then just stop your car in the middle of the road when she says you have arrived.  Take your time looking around while you hold up traffic. Its cool – everyone does it.
  • VIP is friendly but not clique-y. It isn’t high school all over.  You’ll be welcome.
  • Free parking? Even love isn’t free.  There are diamonds, Tinder subscriptions, diapers…
  • All 12 of your real Facebook friends will fit.  For those of you with thousands of Facebook friends, they’re probably already at VIP.  You don’t really know all those people anyway.

The chips are so good you don’t need the queso and guac, but get them anyway

Because VIP has been around since the 70’s, locals and visitors who have been coming here for years have grown with the restaurant. It’s a true Rapisardi family affair, and one that’s focused on making your experience here as memorable as possible.

Two words: The Three Amigos

The Food

So here’s one thing I always forget between visits to VIP: The food can be spicy.  Really spicy.  So much so that your beverage of choice will become your BFF.  And if that BFF involves a VIP margarita, you may need a “Lyft” or Uber home.  Even items that aren’t labeled spicy are spicy, so you know if they mark an item “Spicy” AND mark it “No Returns Please“, they mean it..

Can’t handle spice? Then ask your server about the menu item you’re considering or eat from the Gringo menu. Gringo food includes the mandatory chicken tenders loved by children everywhere, along with hot dogs and hamburgers.

VIP Enchiladas

Insider Tip: Better for small groups

It’s pretty small inside and very popular.  Even at off times you’ll have trouble seating a large party.

VIP Perfect Meal

I’ve heard the fajitas at VIP are phenomenal.  I’ve only smelled them, and always too late when I’ve already ordered. (If you’ve had them feel free to leave a comment below and tell us what you thought.) Having lived much of my life in Texas, I have a thing about fajitas.  The best place in Austin for fajitas used to be the Hyatt Regency on Town Lake. And it was THE place for runners to go post Cap 10K.  Then Pappasito’s arrived on the scene, with garlic butter poured over tender, sizzling fajitas.  That’s the bar VIP fajitas have to beat.

I’ve also heard folks get quite emotional talking about their Wet Burrito.  It’s actually the Tinga Chicken tacos that make me cry.

If you could only feel the heat this dish packs

The Parking

So more about parking.  Because let’s face it, you’re at the beach so parking is limited to begin with.  But then you put it in a tiny little center next to Ricky T’s Bar & Grille and Sweet’s n’ Treats ice cream shop, and put it right on Gulf Blvd where Central Avenue comes over and you can imagine the difficulties.

Paradise parking has a large lot located behind VIP, where Park Place dead ends at 106th Ave.  It’s paid parking but unless you have a parking fairy on  your shoulder this will be your only shot.

However, if you park back in this lot and walk in through the back entrance (through the patio section), you’ll likely see cars parked 3 deep.  Don’t be tempted, dear tourist.  This is not for you.  This is for those locals I mentioned earlier that frequent VIP so often that other frequent patrons know who’s car is whose and therefore who they can park behind and block in. I only wish I could drink margaritas and eat Mexican food so often that I could be a regular there.

Anyway, walking in through this entrance also means you will walk through the kitchen to get to the dining area.

Chips up!

Insider Tip: One small bathroom

So maybe go before you go, if you know what I mean.  And don’t wait until the last minute.  It’s all nice and friendly until a line forms for the potty.

One word: Mango.  Your reward for a life lived well.

The Details

VIP Mexican American Cuisine  – 10625 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, Florida  727-360-5062.  Enhance your visit to the VIP by visiting their website, Facebook page and Trip Advisor!

Visit the news page of the website to find out about special events (Cinco De Mayo is one) and daily specials.

Website

Facebook page

Trip Advisor

February St Petersburg Area Events Splashy

February Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday ArtWalk

St Pete: First Friday

St Pete: Second Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

Gulfport’s Get Rescued, Gulfport

Continuing into its 16th year, this event is one of the largest animal rescue events in the state.  All profits benefit participating non-profit rescue groups.  From 10 am to 6 pm Gulfport’s historic waterfront district is overtaken by these organizations to raise awareness and find homes for pets.

Learn about pet health, see training demos, find a new friend and participate in the pet parade with your beloved companion.  The event is free and parking is available in the area.

The 2020 event is on Saturday, February 22nd in the Historic Gulfport Waterfront District.

The event’s website is here.

St Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival

Fresh and local ingredients means the St Pete Beach Seafood & Music Festival should be on your list

2019 marks the second year for this new event.  Held on Corey Avenue in St Pete Beach Feb 1-3, 2019.

Expect a laid-back vibe with live music, shopping marketplace and tasty foods. ¬†This food won’t be your normal craft-fair food. ¬†Instead it will be food cooked onsite using fresh ingredients and seafood dishes from Florida¬† coastal waters.

Hours, directions, parking information and a list and schedule of musical performers can be found on the event’s website.

2Cool Art Show – Gulfport

February 1-2, 2020 at the Gulfport Casino at 5500 Shore Blvd.  The 2Cool Art Show is hosted by the Professional Association of Visual Artists.

Thirty-five juried artists will participate in 2019, showing and selling a variety of hand crafted visual and functional works in paint, wood, ceramics, photography, metal, glass, mixed media and jewelry.  Admission and parking are free!

There’s a sister event to this show in July, for summer visitors – the Cool Art Show.

Check out the 2nd annual Peace. Love and Pride festival

Gulfport Peace, Love & Pride Festival – 2020

2019 was the inaugural year for this event celebrating Gulfport’s commitment to diversity.¬† 2020’s event will take place on February 16, 2020 from noon to 5 pm in and around the Gulfport Casino.

You can read more about the inspiration for this new event here.

Gulfport has two juried art festivals during the month of February!

4th Annual Gulfport Fine Arts Festival

Formerly know as the Gulfport Masters, this festival takes place in Veteran’s Park at 5350 31st Ave S in Gulfport.

The event takes place February 8-9 in 2020 from 10 am to 5 pm both days. ¬†It is also a juried event. ¬†If you don’t know what a juried event is, it means that artists have to apply and their works are determined to be found worthy of entry by a panel of judges. ¬†The process of reviewing the submissions is intended to raise the quality of the show and help the event stand out from the sometimes busy field of art and craft shows.

Visit the events Facebook page for a short video about this year’s event and a preview of a few artists participating this year.

Florida Strawberry Festival

Did you know about Florida’s love affair with the strawberry? No, not the orange. (Or any citrus, really.) ¬†The strawberry! ¬†The first time I visited the Florida Strawberry Festival I thought it might be somewhat unique. ¬†It’s not. ¬†There are strawberry festivals all over the United States and even some in Canada, Australia, Italy and Japan. You can find a website with links to worldwide strawberry festivals here.

But we’re talking about the Florida Strawberry Festival, held in (where else?) Plant City, Florida in late February and early March.¬† 11 days in all.

The website is https://flstrawberryfestival.com.  You van find out about rides & attractions, musical talent and visit the livestock show.  Visit the website and signup for updates via email including 2020 dates!.

Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival

I don’t know about you, but for me blues festivals always seem to come with hot & steamy weather.¬† In Summer.

Summer can be a four-letter word in the South. So how about a blues festival in February, and in Florida. Seems hard to pass up. 2020’s event takes place Feb 21-23.

I suggest liking them on Facebook to get updates on the festival.

Cupid’s Undie Run 5K

A bunch of strangers in their underwear.

Running. What could be better than that? I’m sure everyone will look like a model.¬† Not.¬† ¬†But hey at least you’re not doing the run in Minnesota. Or Philadelphia.¬† Or Chicago.

But in all seriousness, the proceeds go towards the search for a cure for neurofibromatosis, a genetic tumor disorder that affects 1 in every 3,000 births.¬† They run in their undies because those affected with NF can’t cover up their tumors to feel more comfortable, so why should we?

The 2020 St Pete run is Feb 8.  Find out more here.

Yum!

St Pete French Fry Festival

So what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say St Petersburg?

French fries?

I didn’t think so.

Still, there must be something to it, because this festival goes for 2 days.¬† This isn’t Fred and a few buddies getting together to celebrate pomme frites.¬† I think of chocolate for Valentines Day.¬† The Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association thought potatoes were more fitting.¬† Go figure.

Straub Park, downtown St Pete.  Find info on their Facebook page here.  And send some pictures, will ya? Feb 14 and 15, 2020

St Petersburg Super Greek Festival

Lots of towns have Greek festivals, but St Pete has a Super Greek festival.¬† I’ll be there, doing my super greek version of Rick James’ “Super Freak”.

While just sampling a wide assortment of Greek food should be enough incentive by itself, at the Super Greek festival you can also shop, watch traditional Greek dance performances and send the kids on some amusement rides.

The 2020 dates are Feb 21- Feb 23 at St Stefanos Greek Church, located at 3600 76th St N in St Petersburg.  Check out the facebook page here.

Florida Food & Brews Festival

Feb 1, 2020 England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave N, Pinellas Park.  (Rain date Feb 8)

Enjoy fantastic food. Sample some of the areas best craft brewers. Support local rescues. Be entertained.  What more could you want?  Find them on Facebook

St Petersburg Fine Art Festival

The 7th Annual St Petersburg Fine Art Festival showcases original artwork by more than 100 artisans from throughout Florida and across the United States.¬† It really is a don’t miss event, and given that the event spans 2 days you really have no excuse not to go.¬† Dates in 2020 are February 22-23. Location South Straub Park, St Petersburg.

Night Market St Pete

For night owls, vampires or just those who are otherwise not afraid of the dark, there is the Night Market.¬† It’s located in the St Pete Warehouse District next to 3 Daughters Brewing and its held sort of whenever they feel like it.¬† The next one is February 27th, 2020.¬† And about 2 weeks after that, so mid-March, they’ll let you know when the next one will be.¬† So I suggest following them on¬†Facebook¬†or something so you can stay in the know.¬†¬†

September St Petersburg Area Events Splashy Ventures

September Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday ArtWalk

St Pete: First Friday

St Pete: Second Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

Top Chefs

This dress-up worthy event benefits programs of PARC. ¬†PARC’s mission is to provide opportunities for children & adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest.
The Top Chefs event offers open bar drinks, samplings of entrees and amazing desserts prepared by some of the Bay Area’s best chefs working with students from PARC’s Culinary Program.
Proceeds benefit PARC’s programs. Read more about the history of PARC here.

Sample decadent desserts at PARC’s Top Chefs event

Night Market in St Pete

The Night Market in St Pete’s Warehouse Art’s District takes place about 5 times a year in the St Pete Side Lot located at 2133 2nd Ave South. ¬†The best way to stay up to date on the events is to sign up for one on Facebook and then you’ll be alerted to future events.
Attending a market at night is so unusual that its worth a trip.  Local vendors dominate the event and there is plenty of food, shopping and drink.  The market is family and pet friendly.
The market typically lasts from 6 pm to 10 pm, but the 3 Daughters Brewery next door stays open later for an AfterParty!

Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Festival

180 mph of fun.  Big. Fast. Super Boats.  The 2017 event saw 2,500 boats lining the beaches of the 2.5 mile-long race course.

VIP watch parties are available from sponsor hotels, restaurants and condos along the route.

Parades.  Food vendors. Live Music. More. Oh, and boat races!

2020 Dates: September 25-27

Clearwaer Super Boat 2017

Gulfport Gecko Fest

GeckoFest¬†is Gulfport’s wacky answer to the end of summer. ¬†As noted previously, Gecko’s are Gulfport’s unofficial mascot and definitely the town’s favorite reptile.

GeckoFest takes place in Gulfport’s Waterfront District and is family friendly. There’s food, live music, kids’ activities, street performance artists and a parade.

It might occur to you that a festival named after a gecko might have a colorful backstory and you’d be right. You can read the¬†short history¬†of how the festival got its start, or you can read the¬†O-FISH-al GECKO legends!

(The date for GeckoFest moves between August and September each year, but the Gecko-related events that lead up to GeckoFest are almost always in August.). 2020 Date: September 5th.

10 am to 10 pm. ¬†The Gulfport Trolley and Gulfport’s GetGO offers transportation options so you can attend without worrying about where to park.

Gulfport Gecko Fest Mascot

August St Petersburg Area Events Splashy Ventures

August Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday ArtWalk

St Pete: First Friday 

St Pete: Second Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday ArtWalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

August Special Events

Great St Pete Cupcake Contest

Held at the Morean Arts Center. 420 22nd St South in the Warehouse Arts District.
Sample and get some ideas of your own, and help St Petersburg choose the Peoples Choice!  Your sweet tooth will thank you.

Great St Pete Cupcake Contest

Pet Pal Pub Crawl

Organized by the Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St Pete, this pub crawl benefits you and animals in need.  Raffle tickets available, Doggie Biscuit Bars at every stop and drink specials.

Art Gecko Show Opening Reception – Gulfport

Artists create larger-than-life geckos in the theme of the current year’s GeckoFest. ¬†In 2018 the theme was Geckocon, so geckos were to reflect the artists’ interpretation of superheroes, villains, cult characters, imaginary locations and more, from comics, books, movies, etc.
After the opening reception the geckos are moved to preview locations in venues throughout Gulfport’s Waterfront District. ¬†The geckos eventually go up for auction at the Gecko Ball.

Gecko Crawl – Gulfport

A limited ticket event, the Gecko Crawl helps usher in “Gecko Season” in Gulfport. ¬†(And believe me, fall is indeed Gecko Season. ¬†They’re everywhere! Babies, tiny babies and more babies!)
Tickets are only available at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar at 3115 Beach Blvd in Gulfport.
Participation in the crawl includes a free drink at each location, a poker run and an after party.  The after-party includes a band and an award ceremony.

FishKids

If you’re going to be in the area in August and you have an aspiring angler in your midst, I don’t think you can go wrong with Fish Kids.
Dedicated to “shaping the next generation of anglers”, this event, or really series of events, promises something for all. ¬†There are learning labs, demos, knot tying, seminars, castnetting, games and a seawall fishing tournament. Get your youngsters educated and involved in the water and conservation now.
Held at ROC Park in Madeira Beach.

Gecko Ball

Another staple in Gecko Season is the Gecko Ball.  Past themes have included Geckocon, Geckostock, GeckoGras, Roaring Geckos and more.
The ball is held at the Historic Gulfport Casino ballroom. Tickets are only available at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar at 3115 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport.
Dress to impress! Scenery and decor provided at the event, along with a cash photo booth, dancing, live music, a live and silent auction and tasty treats.
This ball sells out every year so it is important to get your tickets early.  The 2020 ball will be held on August 29th.

It’s Not Every Day You Get to Dress Wacky!

Geckofest

GeckoFest is Gulfport’s wacky answer to the end of summer. ¬†As noted previously, Gecko’s are Gulfport’s unofficial mascot and definitely the town’s favorite reptile.

GeckoFest takes place in Gulfport’s Waterfront District and is family friendly. There’s food, live music, kids’ activities, street performance artists and a parade.

It might occur to you that a festival named after a gecko might have a colorful backstory and you’d be right. You can read the short history of how the festival got its start, or you can read the O-FISH-al GECKO legends!

(The date for GeckoFest moves between August and September each year, but the Gecko-related events that lead up to GeckoFest are almost always in August.)

10 am to 10 pm. ¬†The Gulfport Trolley and Gulfport’s GetGO offers transportation options so you can attend without worrying about where to park.

Festival Goers

Great Bay Scallop Search

Not your usual wine, dine and relax event, the Great Bay Scallop Search is an annual resource monitoring event.
Organized by Tampa Bay Watch, the event recruits volunteers to snorkel along set transect lines to search for scallops in select areas within Boca Ciega and Lower Tampa Bay. The search needs volunteers with shallow draft boats and limited spots for canoes and kayaks.
Bay scallops are important due to their ability to filter water. ¬†They’r extremely sensitive to pollution, thus serving as useful “underwater canaries” to signal changes in water quality.
Bay scallops disappeared from Tampa Bay in the early 1960’s due to highly polluted bay water. ¬†You can see scallop search counts since 1996 here.
Even if you can’t volunteer, it is worth a few minutes of your time to learn about these delightful creatures.

  • If you think sea turtles have challenges, know that of the 12 million eggs a single scallop releases, only one may survive to adulthood. ¬†
  • Tiny blue eyes along the outer rim of the shell detect movement and serve as an early warning system for scallops.
  • Although clams may live 40 years, the average life span of a bay scallop is 12-18 months.
  • An adult scallop can pump as much as 14.7 liters of water per hour by funneling water across open pathways on its gill covers.

Great Bay Scallop Search Helps Count Bay Scallops

Tampa Bay Comic Con

My guess is if you’re interested in a Comic Convention, you probably already have the dates for this one on your calendar. ¬†In advance. ¬†Way in advance. These things are a big deal and attract huge crowds in almost every city that has them. And Tampa is no different.

This event features a roster of comic industry professionals, as well as related celebrities.  Exhibitors reflect a wide variety of interests Рcomic books, toys, games, Star Wars, manga, artwork, clothing, magazines, and, of course, comic books.

2019 dates are August 2-4, 2019.  The event is family-friendly and FREE for children. Tampa Convention Center; 333 S Franklin St, Tampa

November St Petersburg Area Events Splashy Ventures

November Recurring Events

Gulfport: First Friday Artwalk

St Pete: First Friday

St Pete: Second Saturday Artwalk

Gulfport: Third Saturday Artwalk

Gulfport: Tuesday Fresh Market

St Pete: Saturday Morning Market

St Pete Beach: Corey Avenue Sunday Market

Treasure Island: Open Air Market (Fridays)

November Special Events

Tampa Bay Holiday Market

November 17 and 18, 2018 at the Coliseum, 535 4th Ave N. Free parking. (pay attention to the N or NE or S or SE on the end of street addresses when you head into downtown St Petersburg.  For the sake of your sanity.)

Santa will be there both Saturday and Sunday.  Just in case you need your Santa fix.

Check out the event’s Facebook page here.  They promise to help you with your holiday shopping list.

Tampa Bay Holiday Market is a must for your holiday shopping list

Ribfest

Nov 9-11 Vinoy Park. Tagline – Rockin’ Ribs – Helpin’ Kids.

There’s some really good musical talent at this event. Both mainstream and cover/tribute bands. Check out the lineup here.

A list of “Ribbers” can be found here.

Shopapalooza

Nov28-29, 2020.  Vinoy Park, downtown St Petersburg.  Or more specifically, 198 Bayshore Drive. 10 am – 5 pm.  Admission is free. There are other ways they will get your money.

This event features more than 130 local shops.  There’s a kids’ zone so you can let them exhaust themselves for a bit, then get back to your shopping.

Well-behaved pets on leash are welcomed.  

Where shoppers go to really shop

St Pete Power & Sailboat Show

Heralded as the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, this event runs from November 29th to Sunday, December 2 at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts, Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St Petersburg, Florida.

Clearly displaying boats takes up a little space.

In addition to boats you will find marine gear, special events and educational activities. Hopefully no cooking demonstrations for the latest miracle cookware.

Click here to plan your visit! This event is big so you need to know where you’re going.

Kenwood BungalowFest Tour

Nov 3, 2018, 10 am – 4 pm.  This event is in its 20th year and will feature 10 homes that reflect the historic architecture and character of the Kenwood Neighborhood.

Kenwood’s roots are in an avocado grove in 1912, when the grove was subdivided and developed.  Craftsman homes were common, with most homes built between the 1920’s and 1950’s.  However, as suburbanization occurred, many homes fell into disrepair over the next 3 or 4 decades. Revitalization began in the 1990’s, as a few people began buying and restoring these homes.

Historic Kenwood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Purchase tickets in advance here.  (They are also available the day of the event.)  A trolley is available to take you from house to house.

You can read more about Kenwood here and watch a video.

 
Old Salt Foundation Fish Spread Contest

In 2018 this delicious event is being held on November 13th at Gators Cafe at John’s Pass.

Not familiar with fish spread? Check out our blog post on fish spread here.

This is not an observation-only event.  For a $2 donation you can sample all of the entered fish spreads and vote for the Peoples Choice Award winner.  And if making fish spread is your thing, you can enter for only $10 per entry!

Smoked fish spread at its finest

Treasure Island Sand Sculpture Competition and Music Festival

Also known as the Sanding Ovations Master’s Cup.  November 20-24, 2019, near the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Boulevard.

Several tons of sand, a bit of water, a vivid imagination (and a plan!) and you find the largest masters competition in the southeastern U.S.

The competition is invitational and will feature at least ten master sculptors.

The event’s website is here and the Facebook page here.

View our blogpost on the 2018 event (with tons of photos!) HERE.

Sand sand everywhere

Sponge Docks Seafood Festival

The Sponge Docks are in Tarpon Springs, so a little more of a drive than we normally consider for the St Petersburg calendar of events, but the docks are so different that it is worth the drive.

This event is in its 31st year, so they’ve clearly figured this festival thing out. Admission is free and there is limited free parking at Dog Splash Park at 508 Live Oak Street, Tarpon Springs.

The Tarpon Springs and Greektown Historic Districts (separate areas) ae listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you may wish to make this an all-day trek and visit them while you’re in the area. The Tarpon Springs Historic District is bounded by Read Street, Hibiscus Street, Orange Street, Lewis Avenue, Lemon Street and Spring Bayou.  The entire area is about 700 acres and it contains 145 historic buildings.

The Greektown Historic District is Florida’s first Traditional Cultural Property listing. Check the App Store Icon on your phone and search for “Florida Stories”.  You can download the app and click the “Discover” tab to find the Walk: Tarpon Springs tour.

Live music, local seafood, arts and crafts and specialty vendors. Insider tip: Visit Spongeorama while you’re there.  There’s an exhibit center inside along with a short movie/video and the people that work there are extremely knowledgeable.  We wanted to pull up a chair and listen for hours!

You may find a sponge or two. Or three.

Clearwater Beach Uncorked – Sip Savor Repeat

Uncorked is not just a food and wine event in a beach town.  The trademarked phrase for the event is “Wine in your hand, toes in the sand”.  This event is held directly on Clearwater Beach, south of Pier 60.  The event is held rain or shine and there are no refunds for inclement weather.

Children under 21, pets, outside food and drink and backpacks not permitted.

Uncorked

Craft Beer Festival

Get a souvenir tasting mug and sample over 100 craft ales. It’s not every day you can find this many choices in one place.

Hosted at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou in Pinellas Park.  2 – 6 pm November 3, 2018

Fall King of the Beach Fishing Festival

Another great event sponsored by the Old Salt Fishing Foundation, the fall Kingfish tournament Nov 8-10, 2018 is being held in Maderia Beach Florida.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the tournament, so there’s sure to be some celebrations to make it even more memorable.

King of the Beach Fishing Festival

St Pete Beach Bike Fest

Nov 14 -18, 2018 St Pete Beach, Tradewinds Resort.

Five days of motorcycles, music and mayhem. You can find the event calendar here.