Published: November 27, 2012 Updated: November 27, 2012 – 1:32 PM
It may be 70-something degrees outside, but there’s snow in the forecast around the Tampa Bay area this holiday season. Here’s a list of events that allow you to play in the powder while still enjoying the mild Florida winter.
Erick Morillo’s Winter Wonderland – Colombian-born DJ and producer Erick Morillo is a legend in the world of house music. His DJ set in Ybor will combine high energy dance music with LED walls, lasers, confetti blasters and lots of “cascading snow.” 10 p.m., Nov. 29, $25, The Ritz Ybor
Christmas Town – In addition to concerts, colorful lights and Sesame Street characters, Christmas Town features Coca-Cola SnowWorld, an area that Busch Gardens promises will bring “real snow” to Florida, allowing parkgoers to make snowmen, snow angels or just flop down in the soft white powder. 6 p.m., Nov. 30 to Dec. 23; $39.99 adults, $9.99 children; Busch Gardens
Jingle Jangle Jam – The fifth annual upscale holiday party benefits Eckerd, a non-profit working to help thousands of abused, neglected and at-risk children. The party features a seated gourmet feast, elaborate holiday decorations and “falling snow.” 7:30 p.m., Dec. 6, $150, T. Pepin’s Hospitality Centre
Tree Lighting – The annual Christmas tree lighting will feature carols, desserts and a movie on the lawn, in addition to “snow.” Guests are asked to bring a new toy or gift for the St. Nicholas Toy Drive, and an outdoor-friendly ornament to hang on the tree. 6:30 p.m., Dec. 1. Nativity Catholic Church, Brandon
Symphony In Lights – More than a quarter million lights dance in concert to the music of Trans Siberian Orchestra, while sporadic “snow flurries” fall on the crowd, transforming the center court of the shopping center into a wintery scene. 6 p.m., through Dec. 31, free, The Shops At Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Ave. –The first annual city of Tarpon Springs Christmas celebration will bring live reindeer jingling down Tarpon Avenue as “snow” falls along their route. There’s also storytellers, hay rides and craft vendors. 4 p.m., Dec. 7, free, starting at 153 East Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs
Snow Fest Sarasota –The 10-day festival billed as “Florida’s only snow season” will bring in more than 70 tons of ice to feed through chippers, creating snow for snowmen, tubing and four giant snow slides. The event, which according to organizers drew nearly 15,000 people last year, will also feature ice skating, stage shows and a 20-foot snow globe. 5 to 10 p.m., Dec. 15 to 23, free, Sarasota County Fairgrounds, Sarasota
Snowfest St. Pete –Close to 65 tons of chipped-ice “snow” will fall on North Straub Park at the annual holiday festival that lets kids and adults make snowballs and ride an icy toboggan slide in downtown St. Petersburg. There’s also a climbing wall, reindeer races and “glice” ice skating. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 1, $5, North Straub Park, St. Petersburg
Miracle on Cleveland Street –Downtown Clearwater’s free monthly street festival gets dressed in white with ice-chipped snow falling on the Cleveland Street district. Santa Claus is scheduled to make a visit, and there will be live holiday music as well. 5:30 p.m., Dec. 7, free, Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, Clearwater
Christmas Wonderland – Oldsmar gets into the holiday spirit with a “giant snow slope” that makes for some great sliding on the saucer-shaped discs that the event provides for free. Pictures with Santa, pony rides and food are available for purchase too. 6 p.m., Dec. 7, free, R.E. Olds Park, Oldsmar
Safety Harbor Snow Fest – All-you-can-ride wristbands are available to slide down the snow ramp with a sled, bounce in the inflatable bounce houses or go down the 37-foot inflatable slide. 4 p.m., Dec. 8, $2 entry or $7 wristband, Safety Harbor City Park.
Don’t want the hassle of stuffing a turkey and dealing with leftovers — or company? Here’s a sampling — by no means a complete list — of restaurants serving a holiday feast.
Columbia, various locations. The historic restaurant will serve Thanksgiving dinner at multiple locations from Sand Key to Ybor City. FYI, the café at the Tampa Bay History Center will be closed. You can go the traditional route or order from the regular dinner menu. Cost for adults is $21.95, $5.95 for children younger than 10. Make reservations at www.columbiarestaurant.com.
Yacht StarShip, Channelside, Tampa, (813) 223-7999. Cruise Tampa Bay aboard this yacht that departs from the Channelside District. Two cruises feature a Thanksgiving buffet, entertainment and a cash bar. The first cruise boards at 11 a.m. for an 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. cruise; the second cruise boards at 2:30 p.m. for a 3 to 5 p.m. cruise. Cost is $44.95 for adults and $29.95 for children. (Buffet prices do not include tax and other surcharges.)
Don CeSar, 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-1881. The Thanksgiving buffet is set up in the King Charles Ballroom, complete with a beautiful view of St. Pete Beach. The buffet includes seafood and traditional fare. Eat a few less mashed potatoes because there’s a room devoted only to desserts. Cost is $64.95 for adults and $29.95 for children (free for kids younger than 4). Seating is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and reservations are required.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 5223 N. Orient Road, Tampa, (866) 502-7529. The Fresh Harvest buffet is so plentiful, it will make your head spin. Not only is there a traditional turkey carving station, but also sushi, raw bar, grill station and pasta. It costs $27 and is served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, (813) 874-1234. The newly renovated hotel is offering holiday buffets at two of its restaurants — Oystercatchers and Petey Brown’s. Both will be serving traditional comfort foods but also fresh, locally grown produce. Petey Brown’s is serving from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $40 adults and $16.50 for children. Oystercatchers is serving from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., $65 adults, $25 children. Children age 5 and younger eat free at both. Reservations recommended.
Pelagia Trattoria, 2223 N. West Shore Blvd., Tampa, (813) 313-3235 or www.pelagiatrattoria.com. Dozens of dishes are on the buffet, from the traditional carving stations to pastas, pizza and sushi. There also will be supervised activities for children and complimentary sparkling wine for adults. The restaurant is serving from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., $40 adults, $16.95 children age 3 to 12. Reservations required.
Timpano Italian Chophouse, 1610 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, (813) 254-5870. The restaurant in Hyde Park Village is offering a three-course meal that includes butternut squash soup, roasted duck and turkey and pumpkin cheesecake. They are serving from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; dinner is $26.95.
Saddlebrook, 5800 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel. (813) 907-4401. Feast and then work off the calories playing golf or tennis at this resort and spa in Pasco County. The Tropics Restaurant buffet boasts seafood, carving stations, paella and a sweet endings bar chockfull of desserts. Dinner is served from noon to 5 p.m., $48.95 adults, $18.95 children ages 5 to 12. Reservations are required.
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, 807 Gulf Way, St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-9558. This restaurant in historic Pass-A-Grille on St. Pete Beach offers two buffets, one traditional with turkey, cornbread stuffing and pumpkin pie, another with Alaskan snow crab legs and shrimp and oysters on the half shell. Buffet is $25.99 for adults; $10.99 for children 5 to 12. Reservations are recommended.
Photo Courtesy of Chip Weiner
TAMPA — TBO.COM
Prepare for a “sensory overload.”
That’s how event organizer Okesene Tilo describes the experience newcomers should expect at Invincible Summer, the fifth installment of the Square One artist collective’s yearly hybrid arts extravaganza in Ybor City.
The event, taking place Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Ritz Ybor, combines dance performances, art exhibits, live music and fashion under one roof.
“There really is something for everybody. No matter what you like, you’ll be thoroughly surprised,” said Tilo, who has seen the event grow from a small, arts community affair into a popular yearly event with thousands of attendees.
In addition to the 75 artists exhibiting works Saturday, the event will feature a multimedia art, dance, aerialist and speed-painting show called “Forever 27,” put on by 7th Avenue Dance Company.
Other performers include fashion-dance hybrid Bella Danza, dance troupes DNC, Kinetic Dance and Yoga Loft Tampa, as well as local rock bands Rising Down and The Northwest.
The art and performances are inspired by the theme “invincible summer,” which comes from a quote taken from author Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
“It’s about the summer being hope, when light prevails over the dark,” Tilo said. “That’s the spirit of the event, but we’re playing with that name Invincible Summer literally, too. You’ll see that in the way we’ve covered the inside of the Ritz with snow, but also have plants bursting through that snow to show the theme of light, life and hope.”
The audience is encouraged to participate by incorporating the theme into their wardrobe and wearing orange or yellow to the event.
Invincible Summer is open to all ages. There will be a requested donation of $5 at the door, with a portion of those proceeds benefitting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
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Welcome to The Short List. Each week we’ll pick a topic and share our favorite — or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite — things about the Bay area.
James Bond is celebrating 50 years on the big screen with the release of “Skyfall” this week, and we won’t deny that we’ve spent a considerable amount of time fantasizing about stepping into the shoes of the British super spy. That’s why we’ve rounded up five ways that anyone can do just that, without straying too far from Tampa area.
Drive an exotic ride — Bond has driven a variety of lust-worthy cars (Lotus Esprit, Mustang Mach 1, BMW Z8), but no automaker is as connected to 007 as Aston Martin. Prestige Luxury Rentals will put you behind the wheel of a 420-horsepower Aston Martin Vantage convertible for about $1,100 a day, including delivery and pickup at your Tampa home. On a budget? Browse the Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Aston Martins at the Dimmit St. Petersburg dealership, and try not to drool.
Shoot to kill — In “Skyfall,” Bond’s iconic Walther PPK, semi-automatic pistol is coded to his palm print, so that only he can fire it. Shoot Straight Clearwater doesn’t have that version (yet!), but they will rent you a Walther PPK to shoot on their indoor range. You must become a member for $35, but your first gun rental is free. Amateur? Shoot Straight has concealed weapons permit classes to teach you everything. They do not issue licenses to kill.
Dress better than everyone — A few basics of Bond style: Sleek, dark colors, slim-fitting cuts and a very clean shave. Forget buying off the rack, Kirby’s Menswear in Tampa has tailors that will size you up and create a made-to-measure suit, sport coat, tux or dress shirt. On a budget? Put on some swim trunks, douse yourself in water and channel your inner Daniel Craig.
Drink like a spy — Bond’s love of martinis, shaken not stirred, is legendary, but he’s also sipped an old fashioned, a negroni and countless glasses of champagne in the movies. Hit the bar at Bern’s Steak House. Like Bond, it’s classic, and the bartenders take their cocktails seriously. Also, the opulent red and gold entryway could totally be a bond villain’s foyer. On a budget? Slum it with a Heineken like Bond does in “Skyfall.”
Do something death defying — Has there ever been a better entrance than this summer’s Olympic opening ceremonies, when Bond surprised the London crowd by parachuting out of a helicopter. Jump Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales will let you experience the rush of free falling from 11,000 feet up with a $199 tandem dive. Bring someone to play Queen Elizabeth. Scared of heights? iFLY in Orlando offers “indoor skydiving” in their vertical wind tunnel.