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A festival with lots of Sun andlots of Fun

Good timesabound as Clearwater puts on its annual party where sensible shoes and a spirit for amusement will serve you well.

By JILL ANN PERRINO
Published April 23, 2006


Fireworks. Baseball. Music. And more than 20 other events.

You might want to pace yourself as Clearwater celebrates its 53rd annual Fun 'N Sun Festival, which started Friday and ends May 7.

The festival kicked off with a two-day jazz fest at Coachman Park featuring Chaka Khan and Mindi Abair, among others.

Friday's events included an Olympiad for children ages 3 to 5. Saturday included a fishing rodeo for kids ages 6 to 12 and a charity run.

Today, visitors can check out a reptile show and vivarium contest, a baseball event for pet owners and their dogs and a Florida Orchestra concert ending with a fireworks display.

"We have something for everyone,'' said Terry Schmidt, special events manager for the city of Clearwater. "From senior citizens to little kids.''

Hoping to please the 150,000 to 200,000 people expected to attend at least one Fun 'N Sun event, Schmidt says organizers planned a variety of activities, from active sporting events to more laid-back spectator events.

"Everyone can find something to enjoy,'' he said. "And everything is inexpensive - or free.''

Even dogs are included in the fun at the "Threshers Bark at the Ballpark'' event tonight at Bright House Networks Field, 601 Old Coachman Road. Admission is $3 to $8 for humans, and $3 for dogs. Hosted by the Humane Society of Pinellas and Bright House Networks, the event features a dog/owner look-alike contest, a silent auction, a doggie concourse offering prizes, special ice cream treats for your furry friends and a Threshers baseball game.

Look for the Florida Orchestra at 7:30 tonight at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. There will be fireworks at 9 p.m. The park will also feature a different kind of music each Sunday ending with a fireworks display.

For those on the competitive side, there's a bridge tournament Wednesday and a horseshoe tournament May 6. Anglers will enjoy the fishing classic on Friday.

A few other highlights:

Wednesday

n Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane, offers a night walk. Starts at 7 p.m. $4 .

SATURDAY

n Rocks the Parks concert, Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. Music starts at 2. Free.

n Clearwater Community Sailing Center, 1001 Gulf Blvd., invites visitors of all ages for a free demonstration and boat ride, as well as other activities and exhibits from 9 a.m. to noon.

n Disc-catching dog championship at Clearwater High School stadium, 540 S Hercules Ave. Free to spectators, the event wows with its canine aerial acrobatics. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

n Disc golf tournaments will be at NE Coachman Park, corner of NE Coachman Road and Old Coachman Road on April 29 and 30 for the amateur division and May 6 and 7 for the pro division.

April 30

n Kick 'N Country music, featuring Josh Turner, Neal McCoy and others, Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. Gates open at noon. Music starts at 1. Free.

May 6

n Hospice stroll, Palm Pavilion, 18 Bay Esplanade. 9 a.m. (Registration, 8 a.m.) No fee, pledge walk.

n Sand castle contest, Pier 60, Clearwater Beach. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free.

n Fish fry at the Ross Norton Recreation Complex, 1426 S Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. $7 .

n Brunch with the Birds, Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane. 8 a.m. $4.

n The highlight of the festival, the Fun 'N Sun Festival Parade, starts at 7 p.m. Beginning at Crest Lake Park, the parade will head west along Cleveland Street through downtown, ending at East Avenue.

May 7

Cinco de Mayo celebration and fireworks, Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. Gates open at noon. Event is 1 to 9:30 p.m. $5; free for kids 12 and younger. Fireworks at 9 p.m.

[Last modified April 23, 2006, 10:50:00]


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