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Fun pervades Gay Pride Festival's opening


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 9, 2000

A weeklong Gay Pride Festival will be held in Sarasota beginning Sunday.

It starts with Pridefest 2000, from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. Entertainment includes Mona Q, Jasmine Skiies, Swing Sisters, Todd Heffner, Oliver Dill, the Florida Pride Singers Ensemble of the Gulf Coast Men's Chorus, Danielle Christal and Marsha Mellow.

Test your arm at the dunk tank or see just how hot you like your peppers in the hot pepper eating contest.

Area businesses and merchants will be available to answer questions at the Business Expo in the Potter Building.

Admission is $3. Proceeds benefit area AIDS and gay organizations. For Pridefest information, call (941) 366-8019.

Sunday also features Touching Hearts and Changing Lives at 7 p.m. in the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. Performers include the Gulf Coast Men's Chorus, Crescendo Womyn's Chorus and the Tampa Bay Gay Men's Chorus. Tickets are $20. Call (941) 366-8450.

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Southwest Florida Chapter will hold an open panel discussion and dessert reception at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Florida Studio Theatre Cabaret Club, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota. Topic for discussion is "We're Queer, We're Here, But Where?"

Admission is $5. Call (941) 955-5131.

The Community Voice presents the Sarasota premiere of Beefcake at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Burns Court Cinema, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota.

Admission is $10. Proceeds benefit Pridefest and various area nonprofit organizations. Call (941) 952-9915.

Beautiful balloons head up and away

[Times files 1998]
Hot air balloon rides and races are part of Tampa’s Balloon Fest 2000.
The sky over Carrollwood will be filled with a rainbow of hot air balloons this weekend. Balloon Fest 2000 takes to the sky at 5 p.m. today and 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Lake Park, 17302 N Dale Mabry Highway (at Van Dyke Road and Dale Mabry).

More than 30 balloons will participate in a balloon glow tonight and a competitive sprint across Tampa Saturday. Other activities include a pancake breakfast, children's play area and tethered hot air balloon rides.

A limited number of adventurous people can ride over Tampa's lakes, wildlife and scenery in a hot air balloon during the crosstown trip. Advanced reservations are required. Call (813) 969-1518.

Admission is $1 each day, children under 3 free.

Martial artists marshal skills

They whirl, kick, punch and chop. See some of the world's most famous martial arts celebrities at the 2000 National Association of Professional Martial Artists World Conference from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Harborview Center, 300 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Martial artists including Fumio Demura, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Joe Lewis, Ernie Reyes Sr., Stephen Hayes, John Graden, Mike Swain and Jhoon Rhee will be on hand to meet their fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures.

More than 100 exhibitors will demonstrate their arts, products and services in this free event.

Call (727) 540-0500.

A welcome Viking invasion

The Vikings are sailing into Clearwater Beach!

Approximately 16 lodges of the Florida Sons of Norway will sail full-scale replicas of Norwegian Viking (Fjord) boats in the Gulf of Mexico beginning at noon Saturday.

Best location for viewing the Viking ship regatta is on the beach behind the Clearwater Beach Hilton, 400 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach. For more information, call (727) 461-3222 and ask to speak to a member of the Sons of Norway.

Fishing rodeo hooks kid anglers

Children ages 5-16 can cast in and try their luck in the Youth Fishing Rodeo from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the Hillsborough side of the Friendship Trail Park Bridge, old Gandy Bridge.

This is a catch and release tournament only. Awards will be given in three separate age categories for biggest fish, heaviest fish and most interesting catch.

The first 75 participants receive a free rod and reel. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Fee for fishing is $15 and includes bait, lunch, gift and a Ducks Unlimited Greenwing membership. Fee for parents is $5 and includes lunch.

Call (813) 632-7534.

African Dance Festival steps out

Take a road trip and enjoy a weekend of African drumming, dance, discussion and folklore at the third annual Florida African Dance Festival Saturday and Sunday at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Jake Gaither Gymnasium is transformed into a bantabaa (sacred African dance space) filled with the rhythms, movements and the spirit of the festive African space reserved for dance and celebration. Dance folklorists and drummers lead participants through a two-day workshop from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Saturday features a special children's dance workshop for ages 5-12 by Mouminatou Camara, formerly of Les Ballet Africains. The workshop begins at 11 a.m.

Tickets are $5 (observers) to $125 depending on individual activity schedule. Call (850) 539-4087.

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