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Getaway: hot ticket

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 2, 2003

Tarpon Springs' big day -- Epiphany

The largest celebration in North America of the baptism of Christ happens each Jan. 6 in Pinellas County's Tarpon Springs. The annual Epiphany celebration begins with a church service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, then a processional to Spring Bayou, west of downtown.

At the bayou, dozens of young men dive into the water, vying to retrieve the wooden cross tossed by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.

The church service, which usually lasts more than two hours, begins at 10 a.m. Monday. Those who want to watch the cross dive are advised to arrive at the bayou early to get a good viewing spot.

Glendi festivities follow in nearby Craig Park with food, music and dancing. Admission is $2. For more information, call (727) 937-3540.

Divers, the sharks await

The Florida Aquarium this weekend opens its Dive with Sharks attraction, the chance to swim in the 125,000-gallon tank among 13 sharks, including one 8-footer.

The experience costs $150, and only certified divers older than 15 can participate. Beginning Friday, the dives are scheduled for 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are required.

The aquarium is at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Admission is $15 adults, $12 seniors and $10 ages 3 to 12. (813) 273-4000 or www.flaquarium.net. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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