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Best bets

The Renaissance revisited

Published February 25, 2005

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival, with its 16th century village, jousters, street theater, food and spirits, kicks off for seven weekends Saturday. For the second year, the fest is next to MOSI on Fowler Avenue in Tampa. The summer's hurricanes wiped out the beginnings of buildings, so it's all in tents again. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, plus Friday, April 1. $12.95 adult advance or $14.95 gate; $11.95 seniors; $4.95 ages 5-12 advance, $6.95 gate. 813 983-0111, 1-800-779-4910;


Ybor City celebrates its heritage with salsa, flamenco, flan and other treats of the area's Hispanic past during Fiesta Day. But expect to see other cultures represented as well, both in the food and in the International Parade of Flags at the start and end of the day. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along Seventh Avenue, between 15th and 20th streets, Ybor City. 813 248-0721; Free.


The Florida African-American Heritage Celebration, one of the largest area events for Black History Month, on Saturday features African-influenced music: jazz, gospel, R&B and reggae. Activities include storytelling and puppetry, art, a marketplace, ethnic cooking demonstrations, food and historical exhibits, plus tours through Heritage Village, Gulf Coast Museum of Art and Florida Botanical Gardens. 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Pinewood Cultural Park, Walsingham Road and 125th Street N, Largo. 727 532-1698 or (727) 582-2123; Free.


Three music icons from different eras are in town: Tony Bennett, with his sandpapery croon, makes his annual appearance at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. today. Tickets are $60-$120. The two other big shows, both Saturday, are sold out: Jimmy Buffett at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa and Alicia Keys at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa.


The Academy Awards fun starts early Sunday evening. Joan and Melissa Rivers hit the red carpet from 3 to 5 p.m. for the TV Guide channel. Star Jones' greeting of Oscar guests starts at 6 p.m. on E! The Style Channel starts then, too. The annual Barbara Walters Special, with Jamie Foxx, Will Ferrell and Teri Hatcher, is at 7 p.m., followed by the Oscar preshow at 8 and the awards at 8:30, all on WFTS-Ch. 28. If watching the fashion and excitement at home seems too boring, try one of these shindigs: Oscar Night America, Tampa Theatre's black-tie optional party sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8 p.m. at the theater, 711 Franklin St. $35. 813 274-5507; A Night With the Stars by the Film Foundation of Tampa Bay, 6:30 p.m., Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa, 25 Belleview Blvd., Belleair. $40. But hurry. Reservations are due at noon today. (727) 464-7241 or (727) 791-0024; Or Sarasota Film Society's Academy Awards Party, 8 p.m. Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota. $25, $20 members. (941) 955-3456.

- WILMA NORTON, Times staff writer

[Last modified February 24, 2005, 10:20:04]

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