Your Guide to Valentine's Weekend Fun Across Tampa Bay

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.

VALENTINE'S DAY 

Couples Therapy Spouse Whisperer: Valentine's Day weekend might be a good time to take a date to comedian Mark Cordes' show, The Spouse Whisperer. The critically acclaimed one-man show is described as a comedic journey of the funny stuff that happens between love at first sight and till death do us part. $34.50. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Language of Love, Andres Bocelli: How about a man whose very name is synonymous with amore, Andrea Bocelli? He'll be joined by the Opera Tampa Festival Chorus. 8:30 p.m. Friday at Amalie Arena.

Anti V-Day Block Party: If Valentine's Day has you grumpy, put on an all-black outfit ("the color of our hearts") and join the party in front of MacDinton's and the Yard of Ale in downtown St. Petersburg, where revelers will find $4 anti-V-Day shots, a kissing booth, and prizes. No cover, and runs from 4-11 p.m. on Friday.

Dinner for Two: Our food critic Helen Freund has a roundup of the best places for two people to share a meal, from Tomahawk steaks to paella, here's some of the best https://www.tampabay.com/arts-entertainment/food/2020/02/11/sharing-is-caring-7-valentines-day-tampa-bay-restaurant-dishes-for-two/

FLORIDA STATE FAIR 

Fair Foodie Crawl: To eat your way around the over-the-top grub at this year's Florida State Fair. Designed for annual attendees as much as first-timers, the inaugural Fair Foodie Crawl features fair vendors through a prepaid menu of seven munchies both savory and sweet, including cheesy sriracha funnel cake bites and deep-fried strawberry lemonade shortcake. Best part is, you get to vote for your favorite item. Two 12-ounce beverages — adult or otherwise — are included with admission. $25. 5 p.m. Thursday. Florida State Fairgrounds.

Deep-Fried Dash: On Saturday, you can run in the new race, a5K & Fun Run that takes you on tour through the 116th annual event's main attractions. You'll run through the midway, the assembly of outdoor vendors preparing dreamy fair foods, the agriculture — starting and ending at one of the entertainment stages. Fair admission is included with participation. Benefits the Florida State Fair Foundation. $30 and up at bit.ly/deepfrieddash.

The fair continues through Monday with the country's largest midway, animal exhibits, and live music. $11-$14, $9 seniors, $6-$8 children; $20-$30 armbands. The gates open at 9 a.m. daily! 

CONCERTS 

Willie Nelson: It pains us to admit it, but Willie Nelson is almost 87, and the years are catching up to him. Last fall, he canceled tour dates due to what he called a "breathing problem." Shortly thereafter, he announced he had quit smoking pot for health reasons. (To be clear: He hasn't given up weed altogether. He's only given up smoking it.) There will never be another artist like Nelson, a stubbornly independent outsider who wrote and sang some of the biggest country hits ever (Crazy, On the Road Again, Funny How Time Slips Away). His show Friday is sold out AT Ruth Eckerd Hall. 

Beach Boys: Stamos alert! Saturday's Beach Boys concert in Clearwater is sold out. But we're reminding you about it here as a public service so that you can know to be on the lookout for John Stamos. The actor has been playing with the Boys since the '80s and has popped down to Florida a few times. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Florida Orchestra: Get ready for a sweet n' saxy Valentine's Day weekend with the Florida Orchestra. The highlight of this weekend's Masterworks series is Philip Glass' Concerto for Saxophone Quartet, performed with the Rascher Saxophone Quartet. The lively 1995 piece was commissioned by the renowned quartet, which was founded more than 50 years ago (although its members have rotated over the years). Stuart Malina conducts the program, which also features Bernstein's Candide overture, Gershwin's An American in Paris, and Christopher Theofanidis' Symphony No. 1. Tickets start at $18. The show is at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa.

COMEDY

Marc Maron: Okay, people, let's do this. Well, not "this," in the same way that Marc Maron means it each time he opens his hugely popular podcast WTF With Marc Maron. Dutiful WTF listeners know the dark, confessional places that can take him. Before he became arguably the best podcast host in America, Maron spent decades honing his chops as a standup, only occasionally working in film and TV. WTF has not only taken him from clubs to theaters, but it's also earned him prominent roles in TV shows (Glow, Maron) and films (Joker, Sleepwalk With Me). If you've ever wanted to hear what he sounds like outside your earbuds, you finally have your chance. $37.50 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Straz Center 

STAGE

Shen Yun: Got tickets to Shen Yun, the colorful, acrobatic celebration of traditional Chinese culture? Don't worry about catching coronavirus. That's the message the company wants to impart to ticket-holders to its upcoming performances, including seven shows in St. Petersburg. "Shen Yun is based in New York, not China," the company wrote in a statement on its website. "Performers have not been to China in years, have not had recent direct contact with people from China, and Shen Yun is not even allowed to perform in China." The culture portrayed in Shen Yun, based on the religious practice Falun Dafa, is banned in China by the Communist regime. The performance celebrates that culture with soaring dancing and incredible sets, costumes, and music. The show opens Friday and runs through Feb. 20. Tickets are $80-$200 at the Mahaffey Theater.

Les Ballets Trockadero: Fresh off their documentary Rebels On Pointe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo pirouettes through town. The all-male dance troupe performs in drag and serves sassiness and humor, spoofing classical ballets. But seriously, their ability and artistry are no joke. Tickets are $39-$75, and the show is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre.

FESTIVALS 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival: The sixth annual showcase of barbecue, bourbon, and beer bring more than a dozen tasting stations and unlimited beer and bourbon sampling, with some live bluegrass thrown in. Led by master distillers, brewers, and pitmasters from the South, seminars are also planned for the Tasting Theater. VIP sold out. $39. 2-6 p.m. Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park.

Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival: Food, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and shopping drive the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival, where food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin serves as the keynote speaker. You can learn how to build a sustainable garden or how to cook a vegan dish, as well as peruse Florida produce in the farmers market, get your fitness on or help crown the "Festival Favorite" in the third annual Collard Cook-Off. Meanwhile, children 12 and younger should head for the kids zone to compost or garden. Free, food, and drink additional. It runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

French Fry Festival: The Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association's famous food truck rally expands to two days, offering french fry-driven items from more than 35 mobile kitchens. You're welcome to order off their regular menus, too. Other highlights include beer and wine, craft vendors, and live music. Early access to the grub and an alcohol fast pass are included with $15 VIP. Free, food and drink additional. 6-11 p.m. Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday at North Straub Park.

Home Runs and History: Baseball great Lou Piniella serves as host, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor throws out the "first pitch" for this baseball festival with team mascots, games, Major League Baseball alumni, music and a high school coaches panel. Free, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Park Ybor City.

THIS WEEK IN DRESS-UP

Renaissance Festival: This is the event that started this weekly feature! I recalled the first time I went to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival and thought I was sitting next to a worker on a break when it turned out that fans of Ren Fest get dressed up in period attire, buy a turkey leg and stroll the grounds. 

This weekend, say huzzah to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, back for the first of seven weekends of time travel. Join kings queens, jugglers, mimes and madrigals for archery contests, jousts and a human chess match in the acreage next to the Museum of Science and Industry. Ren Fest fans are known to dress up in costume, grab a turkey leg and wander the grounds. The festival has themes, starting with this weekend's Wine, Romance and Song featuring a chocolate festival with free samples, "Cupcake Crusades" and a banner and mural competition. Other themed weekends are Highland Fling (Feb. 22-23), Pirates and Pups (Feb. 29-March 1), Barbarian Brew Fest (March 7-8), Shamrocks and Shenanigans (March 14-15), High Seas Adventure (March 21-22) and Wonders of the World (March 28-29).

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 
PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman

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