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Fiesta cheers immigrant stew

By AMY ABBOTT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 8, 2002

The Tampa melting pot called Ybor City celebrates its Cuban, German, Italian, African-Cuban, Jewish and Spanish immigrant roots with this 56-year-old street festival Saturday.

After breaking away from the Knights of Sant'Yago Illuminated Night Parade in 1998, the festival continues to grow, attracting more than 50,000 people each year. But it still remains close-knit with the Ybor community, more so than mega-events of Guavaween and Gasparilla.

The feel is festive and focused on an ethnic theme, not beads and booze.


International Food Fair: More than 60 vendors serving Cajun, Spanish, Asian, Greek and Italian dishes. Don't miss the giant paella from Columbia Restaurant.

Kid's Fiesta at Centennial Park: Burn off kids' extra energy with a climbing wall, swings, bounce tent, duck pond and a music stage.

Arts and Crafts Market Place: Paintings, glassware, wind chimes and more augment the usual Ybor Fresh Market. You could be there all day looking at the 75 booths.

Flag Parade: Topping off the day's festivities is the 4 p.m. parade. Marshall Fernando Noriega will lead marching bands and groups in colorful ethnic costume, and of course, flags, flags, flags.

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Ybor City. Call (813) 283-5023.


8 -- TODAY

Julio Iglesias. The self-made king of Latin didn't shake his bon-bon to become a world sensation. He earned it with a string of hard-won accomplishments. He earned a law degree from Cambridge, then won the 1968 Spanish Song Festival. In the 1970s, he toured Europe and Latin America to get a contract with CBS International. He topped the charts with singles in Spanish, French, Italian and English. Then came some more hits -- this time with Willie Nelson, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder -- in the 1980s. Now, resting on his laurels and singing mostly in Spanish, he sells out venues where ever he goes. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Call (727) 791-7400.

REO Speedwagon. Their power ballads pull like puppet strings on your mouth every time you hear them. You probably know more of their songs by heart than just Take It on the Run and Keep On Loving You. 7 p.m. Fri. Florida State Fairgrounds, Entertainment Hall No. 12, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. Call 621-7821.

Big River. Spirited county and gospel music sets the scene in this classic Mark Twain tale and seven-time Tony winner. When Huck runs away from an abusive home life, he discovers his compassion when he helps Jim, a runaway slave. Their flight for freedom is inspiring. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, Bayfront Center, St Petersburg. Call 1-800-874-9015.

Dead Kennedys. Was it the message or the messenger? Were they popular for their political views, slashing and burning a path for hard-core heavy metal? Or was it lead singer Jello Biafra's highly visible activist postions? In any case, the whole mix landed them in court over obscenity charges long before 2 Live Crew took the stage. Dismissed by a hung jury, the band didn't fare so well and broke up in '87. Now the crew is touring without the flavor of Jell-O. 7 p.m. Fri. Jannus Landing, 16 2nd St. N, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 896-1244.

John Lennon artwork. Take a dead cultural icon, add his prized artwork to sell and name it after one of his most notable songs and you have All You Need Is Love. That's the equation Yoko Ono and Channelside came up for the display of John Lennon's artwork. 5-9 p.m. Fri.; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Channelside, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Call 223-4250.

Owen. Another incarnation of what has been the Owls, Joan Of Arc and Capn'Jazz, lead vocalist and songwriter Mike Kinsella takes this evolved, yet still hard-core, version to the Ybor masses. 9 p.m. Fri. Orpheum, 1902 Avenida Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. Call (813) 248-9500.

Myths & Dreams: Exploring the Cultural Legacies of Florida & the Caribbean Exhibition. today-May 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Tampa Bay History Center, 225 S Franklin St. (Convention Center Annex), downtown Tampa. Call 228-0097.

Carl Hiaasen book signing. In Carl Hiaasen's Basket Case, a renegade reporter is banished to the lowly obit desk but stumbles on a Scooby Doo mystery involving the death of a rock star. Hiaasen, a Miami Herald columnist, will be in town to personalize his piece of fiction. 7 p.m. Tampa Tribune auditorium, 202 S Parker St. Call 253-2638.


Basically Bernstein. Bernstein's distaste for '50s suburbia is evident in his many satirical works, and we celebrate him for it, probably because it still translates to today. Especially with the fully-staged one-act opera, Trouble in Tahiti. A dissatisfied thirtysomething couple engross themselves in work, the gym, shopping sprees and psychiatric visits, all to avoid each other. The fact that the protagonists had the same name as Bernstein's parents is not thought to be a coincidence. In a less in-your-face production, the second half is a concert-style sampling of Candide and West Side Story staged by Opera Tampa. 8 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. $9.50-$46.50. Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Carol Morsani Hall. Call 229-7827.

Florida Orchestra kicks off Centro Asturiano centennial celebration: Saturday, 8 p.m. Centro Asturiano Theatre. Call 229-2214.

Peter Rabbit Tales: This puppet program teaches children early about overwhelming temptation in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, party crashers in The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse and bad advice from relatives in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. 2 p.m. $4 adult, $3 children. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. Call 274-8981. Gasparilla Distance Classic: If you have to get out of bed at this hour on a Saturday, it better be for a good reason. This is one of them. 8:15 a.m., $25. Downtowm Tampa to Bayshore. Call 224-1733. Ice Hockey: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning. 7:30 p.m. $8-$80. Ice Palace, 401 Channelside Drive. Call 301-6600.

16th Annual Steve Otto Chili Cook-off. Cooks try to please judges' palates with their fiery concoctions. You can try a bowl without signing a waiver for burned tongues. Just fork over $5. Florida State Fair, I-4 and U.S. 301, Entertainment Hall No. 12, Tampa. Call 621-7821.

Web Skills for Business and Marketing certificate program. A combination of day and evening seminars for people who want to create Web sites designed specifically for business. Saturday mornings and certain weeknights. Registration is required. University of South Florida, MHH building, room 116, Tampa. Call 974-5201.

10 -- SUNDAY

Cake. The Sacramento-based quintet delivers funky lyrics with poker faces and peppy riffs that leave you wondering if they're joking. After skyrocketing to university pop stardom with Going the Distance in '96, each of the next three albums has produced chart-topping, radio-friendly sing-alongs. 7 p.m. Jannus Landing, 16 2nd St. N, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 896-1244.

On the Waterfront. "I coulda been a contenda." See where the infamous line all started in this 1954 winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. Leonard Bernstein launched his career when he composed the film's score. 3 p.m., $5. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St. Call 274-8981.

Burn the Floor: Expect to see breathless rhumbas to heavy metal renditions in this dance competition, which was inspired by Elton John's 50th birthday party, created by a man with a hand in "Lord of the Dance" and fashioned after a Vegas show. Championship dance couples from 15 countries will shake it to make sure you get your money's worth. 2 and 7 p.m. $35-$45. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Call (727) 791-7400.

Walt Willey: His character Jackson Montgomery isn't a stand-up kind of guy on All My Children, but that doesn't stop Willey from touring the comedy circuit. 8:30 p.m., $18-$20. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Call 960-1197.

Viola Studio Recital. 8 p.m. $3-$4. University of South Florida Music Recital Hall, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Call 974-2311.

An Affaire of the Heart. Annual fundraiser for Stageworks Theatre featuring silent auction and musical entertainment by Nathan Burton. 4-8 p.m., $30. Don Vincente Restaurant, 1915 Avenue Republica de Cuba, Ybor City.

Tampa National College Fair. "What do you want to do with the rest of your life?" Many times that is an easier question to answer than issues concerning admission, financial aid and entrance exams. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. Call (703) 836-2222.

11 -- MONDAY

Marshall Tucker Band. Suited perfectly for the State Fair, these down-home tunes bring back the glory days of '70s Southern rock with ditties such as Heard It In A Love Song and Can't you See. Yee-haw! 7:30 p.m., $7 plus fair admission. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. Call 621-7821.

Verizon Classic. Like golf? You live in Florida, you have to like it. (Like it or not.) The 15th annual Senior PGA Tour's Verizon Classic attracts some of the tour's biggest moneymakers. Viewing should be fair in this stadium golf course if you're trying to take a peek at Arnold Palmer. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Feb. 17, $20-$80. Tournament Players Club of Tampa Bay, 5300 W Lutz-Lake Fern Road, Lutz. Call 265-4653.


Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. The 76-year-old Davis has been playing music professionally since he was 14 and revamped the sound of country to incorporate his instrument, the horn. For 33 years, Davis and the Nashville Brass have been whooping up country fans. 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., $7 plus fair admission. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. Call 621-7821.

Merle Haggard. He's the original bad boy of country that everyone tries to emulate -- except for his stay at San Quentin. 7:30 p.m., $7 plus fair admission. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301 Tampa. Call 621-7821. Larry Reeb. He gives tips on everything you would gamble on, from marriage to the lottery to children, when he's performing as the black-sheep, politically incorrect, Uncle Lar persona. 8:30 p.m. Tues.-Feb. 14 and Feb. 17; 8 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16. $5-$14. Side Splitters, 12936 N Dale Mabry Highway. Call 960-1197.


Pablo Francisco. He proves stand-up doesn't have to be stand-still. Creating audio and visual pictures to get a laugh has landed him a regular spot on FOX's Mad TV, and time on Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater and Make Me Laugh. Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., C-112, Ybor City.

Gov't Mule. There's more to Southern rock than the slimy antics of Kid Rock. When Warren Haynes and Allen Woody broke off from the Allman Brothers Band and debuted in '95, they attracted the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea to Phish bassist Mike Gordon wanting a little taste of what these Southern rockers cook up. 7 p.m. Wed. $17-$20. Jannus Landing, 16 2nd St. N, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 896-1244.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band: What started as a place for New Orleans jazz musicians to jam in the '50s has evolved into a four-decade-long collaboration named after the hub that once housed them: Preservation Hall. 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., $7 plus fair admission. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N U.S. 301, Tampa. Call 621-7821.

Basketball: UT Spartans women vs. Florida Tech, 5:30 p.m., UT Spartans men vs. Florida Tech, 7:30 p.m. $5 adults, $3 seniors and students. University of Tampa Sports Arena, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.


Patti Labelle. This diva has what many are lacking: grace. It paid off. She was the first African-American act ever to appear at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. Other career highlights include teaming with Burt Bacharach and a Grammy in 1994 for Best Female R&B Performance. Now, she's back with When a Woman Loves. 8 p.m., $40-$75. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Call (727) 791-7400.

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long. Don't know what to do with those old floral curtains? Wrap yourself up and go as the von Trapp family children to the Sound of Music Sing-A-Long. Or just go as yourself and be part of the interactive touring movie. Subtitles are provided for people who forgot the words. Charmian Carr, who played Liesl in the musical, will be there to meet and greet. Proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters. 7:30 p.m., $25. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. Call 274-8286.

Florida Orchestra: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. The Orchestra strums up a wide array of examples from this songwriting duo such as It's A Grand Night for Singing, South Pacific, Carousel, Oklahoma! and more. 8 p.m., $24.50-$42.50. Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Carol Morsani Hall. Call 229-7829.

Evening Drawing and Painting Classes for Adults. If you were more of a papier-mache person in art class, play catchup in this beginners class in drawing and painting taught by local artist Tim Gibbons. If you show promise, stick with it for the continuing portion. 6:30-8:30 p.m., both courses $40 for five weeks. Advance registration required. Life Enrichment Center, 9704 N Boulevard, Tampa. Call 932-0241.


David Copperfield: Unknown Dimension: Feb. 15-17, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center

Swing: Feb. 15-17, Ruth Eckerd Hall

Rosie Flores and the Falcons: Feb. 15, Skipper's Smokehouse

Fort Foster Historic Site Rendezvous: Feb. 16-17.

Sant'Yago Knight Parade: Feb. 16, Ybor City

Youth/Rec, School, College Cheer Championships: Feb. 16, Florida State Fair

Antique Evaluation Saturday: Feb. 16, University of Tampa

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Express: Feb. 16, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center

Jimmy Vaughan with Lou Ann Barton: Feb. 16, Jannus Landing

Neil Diamond: Feb. 16, Ice Palace

Roy Yamaguchi at Roy's: Feb. 16, Roy's

* * *

Want to send out an RSVP to the Tampa area? Fax press releases at least 10 days before publication to Amy Abbott at 226-3381, or mail to 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602. Amy's phone number is 226-3408 and her e-mail is

City Times: The rest of the stories

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  • Compromise brings K-8 program to Roland Park
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