MLK Day parades, festivals and more on deck for Tampa Bay this weekend

Local News

(WFLA Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – There are many festivals planned this weekend in the Tampa Bay area, in addition to parades and other events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Parades, celebrations and ceremonies will be held in both St. Petersburg and Lakeland to honor MLK.

Other events in the area include a manatee festival in Crystal River, as well as multiple races with scenic views for the St. Pete Beach Classic.

These events are presented in no particular order. If you know of anything going on throughout the area in the future, send an email to online@wfla.com.

1. 35th Annual Manatee Festival

Location: Downtown Crystal River, Citrus Avenue

The Florida Manatee Festival returns for its 35th year to downtown Crystal River this weekend. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The festival will take place on both sides of Citrus Avenue and will feature manatee boat tours, guided kayak tours, live entertainment on multiple stages, two food courts, two wine and beer gardens, craft vendors, a kids zone and more.

Tickets are $5 for adults and children 12 and under get into the festival for free.

2. CFA Cat Show 2022

Location: 303 BerryFest Place, Plant City

The Cat Fanciers Association is bringing a cat show to the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds this weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. both days.

Cats from around the country will be competing for titles and points toward regional and national wins.

There will also be competitions for pre-registered household pets, a coloring contest for children 12 and under and cat costume contests, which will take place both days of the cat show around noon. There will also be a “Meow Mall” of vendors, selling wares for both cats and their owners.

3. Clearwater Marine Aquarium Go Wild Weekend

Location: 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater

Clearwater Marine Aquarium will host a special experience in the R.O. Jacobson Education Center this weekend with rescued birds, reptiles and more, all included with the price of admission.

“Learn all about a variety of wild species with rescued animals from partner organizations and educational activities on biodiversity,” a press release from the aquarium says.

Rescued wildlife will be presented by Owl’s Nest Sanctuary, Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center, Seaside Seabird Sanctuary and FWC Gopher Tortoise Program.

4. Sarasota Big Bounce America

Location: 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota

The Big Bounce America will kick off its 2022 tour in Sarasota from Friday through Sunday at Nathan Benderson Park.

The Guinness World Record-holding bounce house has four inflatable attractions, a 13,000 square foot bounce house, a newly-added “Sport Slam,” customized sports area, a 900 foot-long obstacle course and a space-themed “wonderland” called “airSPACE.”

Tickets are sold in toddler, junior, “bigger kids” and adult sessions.

5. St. Pete Beach Classic

Location: 5300 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach

The St. Pete Beach Classic will welcome runners and walkers with races for every endurance level, including a 5K, 10K, beach fun run, half marathon, duo competition, individual marathon challenge and kids’ dashes on Saturday and Sunday.

All races began and end at the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center.

Other events held during the classic include a health and fitness expo, a craft show, a beach volleyball experience, a fine art exhibition, a beach clean-up and more. Saturday’s events will end with a free beach bonfire and live music.

6. Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Festival

Location: 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

The sixth Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Festival will take place outside at Phillippi Estate Park on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All artwork is original and handmade and includes paintings, sculpture, glass, fiber, photography and more.

A budding artist competition will be held as well, for artists in grades 6-12 or ages 9-19. Artists can enter their works to be publicly displayed and to win a $250 award.

Admission to the fine art festival is free, but $5 parking supports the Institute of Arts and Education.

7. MLK Music Fest and Fun Day

Location: Various locations throughout St. Petersburg, parade will take place down 16th Street to enter 17th Street

St. Petersburg will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy Saturday through Monday with live music, festivities and the country’s longest-running parade honoring MLK.

A music festival and family fun day will be held at Albert Whitted Park on Saturday. Sunday will feature an interfaith memorial service at St. Jude Cathedral, a MLK community gospel showcase at Friendship Memorial Baptist Church and a MLK band showcase at Campbell Park Football Complex.

Monday is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, beginning at 11 a.m.

8. Lakeland MLK Parade

Location: Parade route begins on Providence Road at the 14th Street intersection, traveling on Providence Road to 10th Street, before heading south on MLK Avenue

Lakeland will start off festivities honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its sixth annual MLK Jazz in the Park event on Friday from 5:30-9:30 p.m., which is free for all to attend.

The MLK Day Parade will take place Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. The parade will include professional floats, step groups, walkers, marching bands and more. This year’s theme is “Dream, Vision and Unity.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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