Hello, Tampa Bay!  Did you know you are on the verge of one of the BIGGEST Things to Do weekends in Tampa Bay? There are so many festivals, fairs, art shows, appearances by famous musicians and more taking place around Tampa we decided to sum it all up for you in this weekly series: Things to Do in Tampa this Weekend.  Look for our Things to Do in Tampa articles to post every Wednesday, giving you time to catch-up with family and friends and make plans. Use this handy Weekend Guide to discover new things to do and be sure to let us know in comments below what you did, where you went and your thoughts, we love hearing from readers like you!

Things to Do in Tampa this Weekend March 3-5

Renaissance Fest Pirates & Pets Weekend  March 4th & 5th 10 am to 8 pm Click over to find details and times for pet demonstrations, adoptable pets, wiener dog races, pet vendors, and a pirate peg leg relay race. Tickets: $17.95 advance, $20.95 day of; $9.95 advance, $12.95 day of (ages 5-12); $16.95 seniors/students; $10 dogs. This weekend if you ride a bike, show your license and receive a $3 discount on entry.

Gasparilla International Film Festival 2017 | Presented By Suncoast Credit Union continues through March 9th screening independent films at Muvico Centro Ybor 20. On Sunday, March 5th join Family Fun Day at Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla Film Festival at Centennial Park in Ybor City at 1800 E Eighth Ave., Mr. Tommy will make an appearance with free T-shirts for the first 250 kids, you can interact with animals from Lowry Park Zoo and relax during a screening of Zootopia. Cst to attend Family Fun Day is FREE.  Tickets to the movies begin at $10.

Gasparilla Festival of the Arts 2017 is Saturday, March 4th and Sunday, March 5th from 9 am to 5 pm. Celebrate the arts at the 47th annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of Arts at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the perfect venue for this event as you enjoy art alongside the Tampa Museum of Art on Tampa's famous Riverwalk! This event is FREE to attend showcasing artists from in and around Tampa. There are cash prizes for best of show and other prizes too. This event has plenty to offer including live entertainment, food, drinks, art, and more.

Gasparilla Outbound Voyage at the Channelside Bay Plaza  Join the festivities as we end Gasparilla season with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla dockside. Find live entertainment, mingle with your favorite pirates and take photos until the Mayor retrieves the key and kicks the scurvy bunch of plunderers out of Tampa. Watch YMKG sail out of Tampa marking the close of Tampa's 2017 Gasparilla season!  This event is FREE TO ATTEND & FAMILY FRIENDLY, it takes place Saturday, March 4th:

  • 2:00 pm – 6:00pm Live Music
  • 4:30 pm Pirates Arrive in Channelside Bay Plaza
  • 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm Live Music 
  • 7:30 pm Pirates Sail back out to sea with a final cannon salute

Florida Orchestra Masterworks: The Dali Experience takes place at Carol Morsani inside the Straz Center for Performing Arts Friday, March 3rd at 8 pm in Downtown Tampa.  Under the direction of Michael Francis and The Florida Orchestra flamenco guitarist Canizares will present a special tribute to artist Salvador Dali. Canizares composes music for the Spanish National Ballet Company. Tickets are $15-$45.

Tampa Bay Beer Week 2017 brings Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival Saturday, March 4th from 2 pm to 5 pm in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, Downtown Tampa. Sample more than 200 handcrafted beers from Florida breweries to kick off beer week in Tampa! The cost to enter includes unlimited samples and a commemorative tasting glass. Food trucks will be on hand for munchies, you must be 21 to enter. Tickets are $35-$65. On Sunday, March 5th hit the After-Party for the private Brewer's Ball at The Independent Bar and Cafe on N Florida Ave. in Tampa, The party starts at 5;30 pm with special brews, burgers, brats and live entertainment from Poetry in Lotion. There is no cover, beer prices vary. HINT: Be sure to click over to the  Tampa Bay Beer Week site and check the calendar. Local brewers will be offering special deals, new releases and more all weekend!

Skate-A-Thon with The Tampa Bay Lightning gives you an opportunity to skate for 45-minutes with Tampa Bay Lightning alumni players, the Lightning Girls and Thunderbug this Sunday, March 5th from noon - 3 pm. Benefits from the event support Moffitt Cancer Center. The venue is of course, Amalie Arena in Downtown Tampa at 401 Channelside Drive. Tickets are $35 for skaters and $10 for non-skaters.

Nude Nite 2017 takes place Thursday, March 2nd, Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th at the Warehouse, 6818 S Manhattan Ave. in South Tampa. A three-night, 21-and-older sensual art event, Nude Nite turns an industrial warehouse into a pop-up gallery mixing art and entertainment in celebration of the nude. Tickets are $25 Thur., $30 Fri.-Sat and available at the door. Note:  No photos allowed.

Ceviche's Paella Porch Party South Tampa will be serving bottomless Paella this Sunday, March 5th  from noon to 4 pm. Stop by not only for the delicious paella but to relax and listen to music by DJ Fresh while you enjoy your endless paella and sangria. Caledon Concepts Hosts every Sunday. Other drink specials include a choice of either a Ketel One Bloody Mary, Don Julio Margarita, Tanqueray Cucumber Gimlet or a Bulleit Old Fashioned for $6 each.Tickets are $25.

First Friday: Art in the Heights  This March 3rd, and on the first Friday of every month from 6 pm to midnight, businesses in and around Seminole Heights extend their hours and feature artwork. Participating venues include Smoke Signals, Spaddy's Coffee Co., and Cleanse Apothecary, The price to attend is Free. Participating art studios include:

  • Bleu Acier - 109 W. Columbus Dr.
  • Phoenix Glass - 811 E. Knollwood St.
  • Tempus Projects - 4636 N. Florida Ave
  • Cunsthaus - 4634 N. Florida Ave
  • Red Door No. 5 - 1910 N. Florida Ave.
  • The Disco Dolls Studio - 4632 N. Florida Ave.
  • Cleanse Apothecary - 6400 N Florida Ave.
  • Urban Bungalow - 6500 N. Florida Av

2017 Florida Strawberry Festival begins today and runs through March 12th. This weekend, besides answering the question "Cake or Biscuit?" you can buy tickets to see famous musical acts. and participate in all the fun associated with the local event. On Friday, March 3rd,  Kip Moore appears in concert for an additional: $35 and Cabot Creamery will attempt to set a world record with a 1,000-gallon smoothie. On Saturday, March 4th  headliners Thre Doors Down take the stage at &:30 pm and on Sunday enjoy Little Big Town, The fair is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m Tickets are: $10, $5 ages 6 to 12, 5 and younger free. Concert tickets are extra and generally $35.

Bolts Bubble Run at Al Lopez Park will have runners taking off into a bunch of free-floating bubbles for this 5K or 1-mile run and 100-yard dash on a flat loop course with restrooms. Finishers receive a custom Bolts Bubble Run medal and super cool official race t-shirt if registered in time. The race ends with a bubble filled party in the park including food, awards, music by DJ Iron-Mike Housefield, and more bubble fun from Master Bubble Performer, Blaise Ryndes! Your family friendly event costs  $10-$35.

Busch Gardens will stage Lee Greenwood March 3rd and 4th.  His concert does not require an additional ticket. Regular admission puts you front and center for this country icon who loves the USA! Performances take place at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Daily admission is $99, $79 for ages 3-9

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival not only offers foodies exceptional food and wines during the Festival which takes place every weekend on Saturdays & Sundays March 4 through April 30. This weekend you can see American Idol's Daughtry on Saturday, March 4th and Andy Grammar this Sunday 5th. The annual festival runs from noon to 9 p.m. with concerts starting at 7 p.m. You'll find sample size portions of gourmet food, wine and cocktails, horticultural masterpieces and festival related games throughout the park. A ticket to enter the park is $99, $79 for ages 3-9, additional tickets are not needed for the food and wine festival, food is purchased separately.

Picnic in the Park at HB Plant Plant Park This family-friendly event on our list of things to do in Tampa invites you to pack your lunch this Sunday, March 5th. Grab a blanket and chairs for this old-fashioned Victorian picnic with sports, games, kids activities, and live entertainment. Tickets to enter the museum are discounted to $1 each. Event price is Free (food/drink are additional if you want hot dogs and water) The party starts at 10:00 am and goes till 3:00 pm.

New York Yankees Spring Training games have begun!  Our Spring neighbor will offer baseball fans an opportunity to see the Yanks take on the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, March 5th at the newly renovated George M. Steinbrenner Field/. Read more about the upgrades in Dave Wirth's article New Look Steinbrenner Field Opens To Rave Review.  

This weekend we need 4 days to do it all! From Family-Friendly events like the Victorian picnic at Plant Park to Nude Nite, there is something for everyone on this list.  We can't wait for you to connect, let us know what you attended! And while you are out there celebrating the weekend like the warrior you are; keep an eye out for our professional photographers, when they take your pic, it appears on the site and is FREE for you to download! #HappyHumpDay

(Cover photo from Florida Strawberry Festival courtesy of Flikr)