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.
Cinco de Mayo
Lots of Cinco de Mayo parties can be found here.
The biggest will be in Dunedin, where the cool funky restaurant Casa Tina hosts a huge community party in the park with music and even a traditional parade of giant paper-mache puppets. 4 p.m. Sunday @ Casa Tina’s, 365 Main St., Dunedin.
RELATED: If you want to ditch the margarita, my colleague Meaghan Habuda has a list of the top places to get a cool cocktail made with mezcal.
The first Saturday in May brings the most exciting 2 minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby. And there’s lots of parties for that too, but to get a sense of the real deal, the horse track at Tampa Bay Downs has a 12-race card before the Derby. There, you can sip a mint julep from a commemorative glass as you watch a simulcast of the 145th Run for the Roses. $10-$350. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Tampa Bay Downs, 11225 Race Track Road, Tampa. (813) 855-4401. TV: 2:30-7:30 p.m., NBC; post time: 6:50 p.m.
RELATED: Speaking of drinks, I have a fool-proof mint julep recipe. Check out this story I did on food and drinks to serve at your own Kentucky Derby watch party here.
The Tampa Riverwalk has grown into one of the area’s favorite gathering spots. Soak it in at the fifth annual Riverfest 2019. It’s a free lineup of entertainment, from concerts to events at eight locations along the river Friday and Saturday. There’s a Taste of the Riverwalk from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and a gorgeous night-time hot air balloon glow at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (weather permitting). Curtis Hixon Park will have a Taco Festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. And don’t miss the return of the Wiener Dog Derby, a full day of racing among eight divisions of dachshunds and small breed dogs (the Wiener Wannabe division for dogs that can fit into the starting gates comfortably), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. There will be contests for best tail, best kisser, best nose and more. Benefits local animal rescue. Free to watch and $10 and up to compete at floridawienerdogderby.com. 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Find the full Riverfest lineup at thetampariverwalk.com
- Tampa International Fringe Festival for the third year is a place where experimental performances thrive. Jobsite Theater artistic director David Jenkins and William Glenn bring eclectic performances to venues around Ybor City Thursday through May 11. The lineup includes solo performances, comedies, satire and even two children’s shows. The festival’s headquarters, Fringe Central, is at Gaspar’s Grotto, 1805 E Seventh Ave. $5-$13 per performance, passes available @ tampafringe.org.
- Podcaster Joe Budden is as the New York Times put it, “the Howard Stern of Hip-Hop”?... Being afraid to speak his mind hasn’t hurt. The man has beefed with the likes of Eminem, Meek Mill and even Chance the Rapper, and he’s lived to tell about it all on his Joe Budden Podcast. Along with co-hosts Rory, Mal and Parks, Budden dissects the state of modern rap with such uncensored frankness that it led to an exclusive deal with Spotify. The podcast will host a live taping at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center. $33.75 and up.
- Comedian Vicki Barbolak was a finalist on America’s Got Talent and is at the Improv in Tampa 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Monday.
- Veteran comic Nick DiPaolo, who has been twice nominated for an Emmy for his writing on The Chris Rock Show, is at Sidesplitters at 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
- Indigo Girls The Grammy-winning duo consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers has found an elusive sonic sweet spot to blend folk, rock, pop and classical. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $38.25-$68.25. (727) 791-7400.
- MercyMe: Contemporary Christian superstar band had the second-highest-grossing music biopic of 2018, behind Bohemian Rhapsody. Crowder and Micah Taylor open. $25-$75. 7 p.m. Sunday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
- Florida Orchestra: For percussion fans, head to the Masterworks concerts this weekend by the Florida Orchestra; the sprawling, percussive Symphony No. 1 is the main course at two performances. Michael Francis conducts. $18 and up, free for 18 and younger in advance. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
- Free Comic Book Day: One of the most beloved pop-culture holidays has been going on since 2002 to encourage longtime fans and curious newcomers to visit their local “mom and pop” comic shop. That’s where they will find more than 50 titles on Saturday, including superhero stories like Marvel’s Avengers and Spider-Man, as well as kiddie titles like Minecraft and The Incredibles. And stores like Yancy Street Comics, 13944 W Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa, and Emerald City, 4902 113th Ave. N in Clearwater, will also have raffles, giveaways and appearances by authors, artists and cosplayers. Find a participating comic shop here.
- The spring tradition of sunflower mazes returns this weekend at two of the biggest farms in the Hernando County town of Masaryktown. Both Harvest Moon Fun Farm, which has a 5-acre maze, and Sweetfields Farm, with its 6-acre labyrinth, open this weekend through the end of May, and both have a bushel of side activities such as farm animals, crafts, tractor and train rides and kiddie play areas. Flowers don’t all open up and mature together, but that’s part of the charm, Sweetfields’ website notes: “As it undergoes its beautiful life cycle it brings through amazing butterflies, birds and memorable experiences.” Both are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $11.95, 3 and younger free at HarvestMoon Fun Farm, 15990 Stur St. $9.50, $5 3-11, 2 and younger free at Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road.
This Week In Dress-up
It started as an inside joke among Star Wars fans who greeted each other every May 4 with “May the fourth be with you.” It has turned into a full-fledged geek holiday. Not that we need an excuse, but Saturday is Star Wars Day, full of Star Wars-themed parties and related nerdery. The Castle in Ybor has its seventh annual Star Wars Party, with a costume contest, a Wookiee howling contest and themed drinks starting at 10:30 p.m. 2004 N 16th St., Tampa. $15.
The Clearwater Threshers game is getting in on the Star Wars action on Saturday with dozens of characters from the 501st Legion on hand for photos. A postgame fireworks show will be set to the film soundtracks. $6-$10. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. Spectrum Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.
Speaking of Star Wars, I got to go behind the construction walls this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and see the Star Wars land under construction there. It’s opening Aug. 29, take a look at what I saw here.