Turkey, TV and travel

It stretches before us, or before most of us: four days free of work and full of turkey, football, family, turkey, shopping, movies ... did we mention turkey? Here's a look ahead at the Thanksgiving holiday.

Published November 22, 2005

Tale of two airports

Travelers without tickets are probably out of luck at Tampa International Airport. Officials say flights on Wednesday and Monday are booked to 99 percent of capacity and 100 percent on Sunday. More than 110,000 passengers are expected to use the airport on each of those days.

PARKING AT TIA: Parking problems will continue, too, even with the new remote economy garage. While the short-term garage will have a few spaces available, the long-term and remote garages will be full well before Thursday, as will the remote lot and the traditional overflow lot. TIA officials are looking for space for a second overflow lot. Motorists should watch electronic signs for updates.

ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: The troubled mid-Pinellas airport has just the opposite problem - way more parking than airline service to fill the spaces. Officials say they don't expect even to fill up short-term and long-term parking.

Drivetime report

All construction work along the region's interstates will be suspended from Wednesday afternoon until Monday, including off-interstate work in downtown Tampa and along I-4 in Hillsborough County. But pay special care when driving this week. The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday for motorists. Last year, 55 people died in accidents statewide, including seven in the Tampa Bay area. Of those, nearly half were alcohol related. Early today, FHP was to begin a two-day intensive effort to identify speeders, even those going as little as 10 mph above the limit.

No weather woes

Weather this holiday weekend is expected to be near perfect, with daytime skies expected to be sunny to partly cloudy right through the weekend and no rain in sight. Highs in the high 60s to mid 70s are forecast for the rest of the week. Evenings might provide just enough chill to remind you that it is a winter holiday, with lows dipping to the mid-50s. Best weather news of all? Exactly one week after Thanksgiving, the 2005 hurricane season officially ends.

Holiday happenings

There's plenty to do this holiday weekend, if you're inclined to leave the recliner.

TIMES TURKEY TROT races begin at Clearwater's Jack White Stadium, 540 S Hercules Ave., at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

TREE LIGHTINGS: Among the tree-lighting ceremonies Friday evening are events at Tampa's Old Hyde Park Village, S Dakota Avenue near Bayshore Boulevard, (813) 251-3500; and at St. Petersburg's North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, (727) 893-7441. The annual Festival of Trees kicks off at 2 p.m. Thursday at Clearwater's Harborview Center, 300 Cleveland St., (727) 797-8712.

TV guide

Want to stay in that La-Z-boy Thursday? Just make sure someone hands you the remote.

PARADES: NBC and CBS plan holiday parade coverage from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday.

FOOTBALL: For your football fix, catch Atlanta at Detroit at 12:30 p.m. on Fox; Virginia Tech at Virginia at 3 p.m. on CSN; Denver at Dallas at 4 p.m. on CBS; Pittsburgh at West Virginia at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

HOLIDAY FAVORITES: Miracle on 34th Street, the definitive 1947 version, airs at 2 p.m. on NBC, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Times staff writers Jean Heller, Alex Leary and Wilma Norton contributed to this report.