Archive for November, 2013

The Best Band In Trop Rock,

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The Survivors music is “ALIVE”. It’s a living, breathing
entity. Every time they play a song, it’s a bit different than the last time
they played it. There’s nothing sterile or canned about it and its seat of the
pants the whole way. Improvisation is a main ingredient of their music. This is
a fantastic feature as well, as it’s here that every version is different,
plus, for folks on the dance floor rocking to the Survivors, instead of dancing
to a song for 3:45, they are jamming for maybe 8 minutes into the coolest groove
you can imagine. And these guys are focused on the groove!  Who knows with the Survivors? They may just
get the impulse to sague into another song with no warning, no plan. It always
works too! Additionally, it never gets boring, as some improvisational pieces
are prone to get. They know how to keep it interesting.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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It is a frigid start to Thanksgiving this morning in Destin. It is currently 34 degrees but at least we have a bright sun shining. Sunshine Cindy and I want to wish everyone a safe and fun day. I hope you get to spend it with family and friends.

We have not got out and about this week as there was holiday prep work to do at home. The food is ready and the appetites are strong. It won’t be over the river and through the woods but rather over the Mid-Bay bridge and through the Eglin reservation to grandma’s house. LOL

I have heard of some more places opening and closing in the area. Over in Niceville where Helen Back recently opened in the K-Mart shopping center, Ed’s has closed their doors. Ed’s was the old Perry’s in the Food World shopping center. I heard they had their rent raised so much it was not worth staying open.

Also in Niceville, Ernie’s has moved from Northpoint Yacht Club to the old Giuseppe’s building. Giuseppe’s has been empty for a few years so I hope Ernie’s can make it a success again. Hurricane Ivan destroyed the original Giuseppe’s and when they rebuilt it did not have the same charm as before. I wish the Ernie’s team well. We liked them at Northpoint.

With Ernie’s moving from Northpoint, that left their space open. Big City has moved in to take it over. They recently had a grand opening. I didn’t hear many good things. Mostly about how they ignored people. Hopefully that was just a start up problem. Sunshine Cindy and I will need to get over there to check it out as well as Ernie’s.

Back in Destin I have heard the folks that run the Red Bar in Grayton Beach are opening a place in Shoreline Village shopping center at the entrance to Holiday Isle. They are remodeling the two story building that has housed several different places but none lasted very long. If this new place is anything like the Red Bar, it will be a great addition to the Destin bar/restaurant scene. The Red Bar is a funky place that is an institution in Grayton Beach.

Don’t forget you can “Embrace the Chaos!” with your Crab Island Mambo tees, tanks and long sleeve shirts all year long. Order yours here:

Have a great turkey day!!!! See ya Monday!

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Kala Uke Arrtists The Atomic Sharks

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Kala Ukulele Artists “The Atomic Sharks”

I (Bry) enjoy getting to know ukulele musicians and Kala uke players even more so.  I have interviewed several Kala musicians but this is the first duo/band that I have interviewed together. As I also play “island music” and ukulele (as well as playing occasionally for kids)… I was looking forward to getting to know the Atomic Sharks. Thanks, guys, for answering these questions!

The Atomic Sharks









Bio: from their website

The Atomic Sharks are Kris Hensler and Kenny Taylor.


Both Kenny and Kris share a passion for kids and music education. The Sharks were a perfect opportunity for both of them to combine their musical assets into one giant feeding frenzy of fun and mayhem. There’s one thing that the Sharks love as much as making great island music…and that’s teaching kids how to do it too. As musical ambassadors for Kala Brand Music Company, Kenny and Kris love to show kids how to have a great time while playing the ukulele.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Both born and bred in Fort Wayne, Indiana… although I’ve (Kris) spent time in Southern California and Chicago. We’ve both logged plenty of miles on the road in the 80’s and early 90’s.

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing drums when I was 4 years old. My uncle was a jazz drummer in and around Chicago back in the ’50’s so I was drawn to performers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.

As a teenager I got interested in songwriting and started to study the craft by listening to people like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, and later on, Sting. The best lesson I learned from those guys was to stay out of the way of a good song. You should be able to strip away all of the glitter and ego and still be left with a compelling statement, whether it be musical or lyrical.

These days I’m a big fan of the Zac Brown Band. Good songwriting and great musicianship.

For pure vocal beauty, I love listening to Darius Rucker. He’s got one of those rare voices that I never get tired of hearing. I always liked him in Hooty but even more now that he’s on his own.

And of course Jimmy Buffet. Even though I love his songwriting and live shows, what I really aspire to is his ability to turn his passion into a viable business. Brilliant!

Kenny Taylor:

My earliest influences were the country western music played by my father, a fiddle player, the jazz my much older brother played on records, and seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Yes, I remember it and I had just turned 3.

3) When did you start playing the uke?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing in late 2002. I bought myself a cheap 50 dollar uke for Christmas. So right at 11 years.  

Kenny Taylor:

I got to the uke late in life, when I was 30 yrs old. I started with a baritone, then a soprano, and then about 15 more sopranos over the years. I used them for theatrical and studio work. My 1990′s rockabilly band the Blue Moon Boys, featuring Nic Roulette, used the uke on several albums. We toured in a van a lot and a cheap ukulele I bought became the “bandvan” uke. Everybody in the band learned how to play it and countless musicians had a go at it, including cowboy band, Riders in the Sky and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers (both of whom signed it).

4) What Kala ukes are you currently playing?

I (Kris) play an all Mahogany Tenor with cutaway. The model is K-SMHTE – C.

Kenny plays the Tenor Acacia with cutaway.

We also bring several of the Makala ukes to lives shows so kids can play them. We often do a short session to show kids a few uke basics.

Atomic Sharks

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD’s)?

We are currently working on new material for the Atomic Sharks’ first CD. We’re still working on a title for the CD, although we’ll be releasing several of the songs as singles online before the end of 2013. The first single off the new CD will be “Smile.” It features Kenny playing the Tenor Ukulele like a Lap Steel.

We’re also working with WTIU in Bloomington on a video project. It’s a series of 12 music videos that will be aired on PBS stations in the Midwest as part of a series for kids called the “Friday Zone”.

In addition to that, we’re also producing a series of 10 short music education spots that will air on PBS stations across the country sometime in 2014.

There are a few other projects in the early stages that I can’t talk about just yet. We work with a company called Creative Licensing Group (CLG). Our ongoing relationship with them will help us to extend the Shark brand around the globe in the next several years.

Plus live performances throughout the year.

2014 will be a busy year for the Sharks.

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? With answer of course

Kris Hensler:

Nobody has ever asked WHY I write music. I hear many people who profess to be songwriters say things like, “well, I just write for myself and if people like it then that’s great.” I don’t subscribe to that at all. And I don’t think too many others really do either. I just think that’s the answer they want people to hear. I write music because I have something that I want to share with the rest of the world. I want to write that ONE song that someone remembers 20 years from now and thinks to themselves…hey, that was a really catchy tune. If that happens even once, I’ll be a happy man.

Parrot Island Band update: It slows up a bit for us in the cooler months but this gives us time to record a few of our original songs.  I have a couple of songs to add congas and background vocals and we should have our CD “Parrot Island Ukulele” out early in 2014.

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away… we thank all of you who have listened to us and encouraged us this year… Have a blessed holiday season and I (Bry) hope we see you in 2014, if not before.

Blessings and beaches,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

Kala ukulele Bry


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Destin Life

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We had another fun weekend on the Emerald Coast. It started Thursday night. Sunshine Cindy stayed in but I went to Landshark Pizza for a while. Paige and Jason were working and there was a pretty good size crowd there. Julie and her husband came in with some friends to watch the Thursday night football game. Kerby also stopped in. I have not seen Kerby in a while. He is busy doing construction. I stayed long enough for some wings and to catch the start of the game. Then it was back home for the night.

I was off Friday. I ran some errands during the day as well as working on the Crab Island Mambo web site. When Sunshine Cindy got home from work we headed to the harbor to relax a little at Crab Island Cantina. The weather was nice. I still had shorts on and there was no breeze. The harbor was dead quiet. We sat at the bar. Judy was there keeping an eye on the staff. One of their girls was with her as she was not working due to the slow night.

Julie joined us and we talked to a military guy who was also sitting at the bar. He was in town for the week teaching at Hurlburt Field. He was an interesting fellow. We thank him for his service to our country! Carlos also came out and joined us. He was cracking jokes and having a good time. Carlos is usually so busy we don’t get to see that side of him too often. Tiffany also joined us when she got off from working at the Crazy Lobster. we had fun having a few drinks and some food. Carlos took a golf cart full of folks for a ride. We thought they were going to AJ’s but about 10 minutes after they left they came by again hooting and hollering. I wonder what they were drinking! LOL

We left the Cantina as they were winding down and called it a night. Saturday was still a nice day. I went for a bike ride to the beach. It felt good getting the fresh salt air. When I got back home I worked some more on the Crab Island Mambo web site and I did some writing for December’s Mullet Wrapper. Saturday afternoon we put the word out we were going to KC’s Tapworks. The Crab Island Mambo Christmas and Welcome to Winter Party will be held there on December 21st and I wanted to see how the layout will lend itself to music.

About 12 friends showed up to party with us. College football games were on the TV’s and popcorn was being popped! I tried some of their craft beers. They have 50 of them so I had a big selection to choose from! Mike and Bev, the owners, also partied with us. As the evening went on the place filled up. By the time we left around 10 pm it was packed in there. That is great for Mike and Bev as they have worked their fanny’s off to get their complex to where it is today. What started out as a snow cone stand is now a sand bar, sports bar and Tapworks. A micro-brewery is also in the works. The American Spirit is alive and well in Ft. Walton Beach.

Football Sunday saw Sunshine Cindy and I heading to Sago Sports Bar to watch the Browns/Steelers game. I should have saved myself the aggravation. The Browns sucked. Julie sat through the game with us but she was also watching her Rams play and beat the Bears. At least someone beside the Steelers fans that were all around me was happy!

The place was full. Tommy came in and he was amazed at all the people there. Each TV had a different game on and there were fans from each team at each TV. As the Browns debacle was ending we get a message from Alan and Jackie saying they were coming by. Then Sunshine Cindy gets a message from Stephanie that she and Mark were also coming to join us. Julie left but the second shift of friends showed up! LOL We had a great time talking to them while the second half games were going on. All in all it was a fun day despite the Browns!

If any of my blog friends want to “Embrace the Chaos!” Crab Island Mambo style, now is your chance. We have a full collection of “Embrace the Chaos” tee shirts, tank tops and long sleeve shirts plus bottle and can koozies. For all orders $30 and over, we are offering FREE shipping. Also, if you are in the area, we will hand deliver your order directly to you. We only sell “American Made” shirts and koozies so you know your purchase is helping our economy! Click here to take advantage of this special offer:
“Embrace the Chaos!” all year long!!!

It’s a short work week. Enjoy it and get ready for turkey day. See ya Thursday!

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Thanksgiving Note from Les Kerr

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IMG_20131107_181640_322-1As we head toward Thanksgiving later this week, I just want to thank you for listening to my music, reading these newsletters and blog and for supporting my music by your encouraging words. Thanks to those of you in the Nashville area for making our show at the Bluebird Café this week a sellout! If you couldn’t get tickets, there are always a few that open up at the last minute, so do call the Bluebird and ask. You can also walk up just before showtime (9pm) to see if there are any available.

Also, here’s my latest blog that goes back to my early years as a radio news director and brings it up to the upcoming burst of radio shows I’ll be doing in several cities, beginning this Tuesday on Nashville’s WSM AM. Memories of this young news director and the full schedule of upcoming shows with links to listen online are all here. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Please click here to read.

Again, thank you so much and I hope you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Your friend,

P.S. – my new CD, The Americana Boogie, is available at my web site, . As you begin your Christmas shopping, I hope you’ll consider this collection of new music as a stocking stuffer (or gift for yourself!).  CD Review HERE

Holiday Coastal Living

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Holiday boat parades

• St Pete Beach and South Pasadena Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

ST. PETE BEACH – The St Pete Beach and South Pasadena holiday lighted boat parade is Friday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. The event starts at the Blind Pass Bridge and heads south to the Bayway Bridge. There are cash and other prizes available to winning entries. Entry is free. Entries are limited. To register your boat or get more information contact Mandy Edmunds at 727-363-9245.

• Lighted Boat Parade and Tree Lighting

DUNEDIN – Lighted Boat Parade and Tree Lighting is Saturday, Dec. 7, 6 to 9 p.m., at Dunedin Marina/Edgewater Park, 51 Main St. Decorated, lighted boats will leave Marker 1 Marina at 6 p.m. and proceed south through the Intracoastal Waterway to Marker 2, turn around and arrive at the Dunedin Marina at about 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Dunedin Boat Club, Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department and Marker 1 Marina. Festivities also include Holiday music, s’mores and Santa arriving on the last boat and preside over the tree lighting ceremony. Free to attend. Bring lawn chairs. For boat registration, call 692-6440. For general information, call 812-4531.

• Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade

CLEARWATER – The 2013 Memorial Holiday Boat Parade, organized by the Island Estates Yacht Club, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be a pre-parade captain’s meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 S. Bayway Blvd., Clearwater. Call 447-6000.

The decorated boats will assemble in Mandalay Channel located between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the lead boat will proceed northward through Mandalay Channel. Then the parade will weave in and out of many of the Island Estate canals before heading over to Coachman Park around 8 p.m. From there the boats will go under the new Memorial Causeway Bridge turning into the Clearwater Marina Channel before navigating to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Cash and gift certificate prizes, donated by many area businesses, will be awarded to the best-decorated boats.

There is no parade entry fee. Anyone interested in participating can call IEYC Fleet Captain Paul Lightfoot at 744-1728 The Island Estates Yacht Club Boat Parade is one of the largest and most popular marine events in the Clearwater area. This is its 39th year. The parade honors the memory of Island Estates Yacht Club members who have passed away during the year.

• Redington Beaches and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade

REDINGTON BEACHES/INDIAN SHORES – The Redington Beaches/Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade Committee announced that the 2013 edition of the annual Holiday Boat Parade will be staged on Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6 p.m. Participating boats are requested to rendezvous just north of the Tom Stuart (Madeira Beach) Causeway at approximately 5:45 p.m.

This year, the committee hopes to increase the value of the prizes distributed to the winning boats. Last year, the total prize value exceeded $4,000, shared among the almost 30 boats entered.

As in previous years, the boats will cover a route following the Intracoastal Waterway from just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge (Redington Beach) to “The Pub” restaurant in Indian Shores. The route meanders into the creeks and canals that branch off the ICW, passing along the shoreline of each of the participating communities.

The Captain’s meeting for participating boats is Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., at the Town Hall of North Redington Beach, 190 173rd Ave., North Redington Beach.

The awards ceremony will take place at “The Pub Restaurant,” the major sponsor of the parade, following the arrival of the last boat parade participant. Again this year, Steve Westphal, owner of “The Pub,” has graciously extended an invitation to all participants to dock their boats overnight in the restaurant’s marina.

Major prizes, consisting of gifts and cash, are given to the top three boats in each category. The three judging categories are based on the lengths of the participating boats; typically, the categories break at approximately “less than 25 feet,” “25 to 35 feet,” and “over 35 feet.” The Committee tries to put equal numbers of boats in each category.

Prize donations were received last year from more 55 local businesses, such as the Salt Rock Grill Restaurant, Wilson Realty, Park Circle Bed & Breakfast and the Doubletree Beach Resort. Additionally, every boat that enters receives a gift, chosen by the Committee, as a remembrance of their participation.

Entry forms for the parade are available now at the Town Halls and Web sites of the participating towns. Entry forms will also be distributed to local marinas for boaters to pick up.

The Boat Parade Committee has also allocated up to $25 per boat for the rental of portable generators to operate the decorative lighting used by the boats. Boat captains should submit a copy of their rental receipt to claim reimbursement.

For more information about the Redington Beaches/Indian Shores Boat Parade, call Dave Will, Committee Chairman at 459-9710.

Holiday parades

• Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade

LARGO – The third annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade is Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 to 4 p.m., through Largo’s Old Northwest neighborhood. Last year, more than 2,000 people came out to watch more than 60 floats in the parade. The Largo High School marching band will participate this year.

Participation in the parade is $50 per decorated float. All proceeds go to the Suncoast Voices for Children Foundation. Sponsorship costs $250 and includes a business logo on the parade banner at the front of the parade. The parade is scheduled before the Holiday Stroll in Largo Central Park. For more information and to register, visit

• Holiday Street Parade

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach is planning its annual holiday street parade and invites groups and citizens to participate. The parade lineup converges Dec. 8 at noon at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Second Street. At 1 p.m., it will begin to weave throughout each finger, ending at Kolb Park, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. The parade route is 23 miles. After the parade, the city will host its annual children’s holiday party in the civic auditorium, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. Entry forms must be completed via mail or fax by Dec. 5. To obtain a form visit Call Diane Erb at 595-2517.

• Holiday Illuminated Night Parade

SEMINOLE – The ninth annual Holiday Illuminated Night Parade is Sunday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. on 113th Street North from the Seminole Mall to the Seminole Recreation complex. This event is co-sponsored by the Seminole Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seminole. For more information, call the Chamber at 392-3245.

• Palm Harbor Holiday Parade

PALM HARBOR – The 31st annual Palm Harbor Community Holiday Parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, hosted by the Palm Harbor Rotary Club, the Greater Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the Palm Harbor Historical Society and CSA Palm Harbor. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. next to the Palm Harbor Presbyterian Church at 2021 Nebraska Ave. And of course, bringing up the rear will be good old Jolly Saint Nick, the Santa Claus float that ends the parade each year. Persons or groups interested in participating can register through Nov. 30. Businesses must pay $30 per parade unit and nonprofit organizations $20. More information and registration forms can be picked up at the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce office at 1151 Nebraska Ave.

• Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade

DUNEDIN – Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, 4 to 9 p.m., in downtown Dunedin. Children of all ages can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, kids’ crafts and games, holiday music, live entertainment and photos with Santa. Free to attend. For more information, call 812-4530.

• St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade

ST. PETE BEACH – St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. Parade route and application for entry is on the St Pete Beach Recreation Department’s website at Category awards will be given out. For more information, call Mandy Edmunds at 727-363-9245 or

• Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade

TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade, sponsored by the city and presented by Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, is Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 10 a.m., on U.S. Alt. 19 (South Pinellas Ave.) and Morgan Street. Applications are available at the chamber office, call 937-6109, stop by the office at 111 E. Tarpon Ave., or The deadline for entering the Christmas Parade is Friday, Dec. 6.

Children of all ages are invited to the Candy Cane Hunt at Craig Park, 5 Beekman Lane, immediately following the parade. They can visit with Santa and his elves and hunt for candy canes in the park. The event is sponsored by the city’s Recreation Department. Call 942-5628.

Holiday events and light displays

• Lights in the Gardens

LARGO – The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation’s Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be open from Friday, Nov. 29, to Wednesday, Jan. 1, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Stroll through this year’s display of more than 750,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations. A donation of $2 per person (13 years and older) is recommended. Events scheduled during the Holiday Lights include a Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation gift and plant sale on Sunday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a dog parade on Sunday, Dec. 29, starting at 1 p.m.

The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. The gardens remain open from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours. For more information, visit or call 582-2100.

• Oakdale Christmas Light display

ST. PETERSBURG – The Oakdale Christmas Light display opens Friday, Nov. 29, and continues through Jan. 3, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at 2719 Oakdale St. S., St. Petersburg. The display includes about 500,000 lights on a half-acre lot. A walking yard tour includes an 18-train HO scale model railroad, moving and animated items, inflatables, lighted figures and displays. Enjoy hands-on games and bubble machines for the kids. Several trees tower over the display, including one rising to 70 feet.

The free Christmas display started in 1977 and was among the top three finalists on NBC’s Today Show, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” It also was featured on HGTV’s All Out Christmas Special and in People Magazine. It takes 10 people about three months to install. About 10 trailer loads bring items from storage. The display is powered by three electrical meters.

To get to the display, take I-275 to exit 22 (old exit 9), which is 175 E. Turn right on Fourth Street, heading south. Go 1 mile, crossing over 22nd Avenue South. Next street on left is Oakdale. Go two blocks, park or look. For more information, visit

• Largo Holidays in the Park Arts & Crafts Show

LARGO – Celebrate the holidays with a weekend of talented crafters and artists offering original and unique items Saturday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Largo Central Park. Largo Holidays in the Park Arts & Crafts Show includes specialty food vendors, Christmas carolers and spectacular holiday lights in the park. Santa Claus will visit, so bring the kids. There will be lots of giveaways and raffles for cash gift cards and grand prizes. Free drawings are held three times per day. Grand prizes are at end of each day. Visit loganjadepromotions.comor call 321-300-4509.

• Chanukah Extravaganza

ST. PETERSBURG – The 10th annual Chanukah Extravaganza is Sunday, Dec. 1, 4 p.m. The Pardes Rock Band will be rolling into town for a rocking performance. The Chabad Jewish Center invites the entire community to celebrate the Festival of Lights at the extravaganza, featuring the Pardes Rock Band. The event is free of charge. Pardes is a Jewish rock band that defines the current state in the evolution of Jewish music. The band brings positive spiritual content together with rock sound and a hint of Mediterranean and Hassidic influence, and creates today’s Jewish rock. The live shows performed by the band are always an uplifting experience where the audience is taken on an inspiring spiritual journey. Music is the path to the soul, and Pardes delivers.

Take a walk down memory lane while enjoying delicious hot brisket sandwiches, knishes, and jelly donuts, among other food concessions. Bring your family to enjoy flying on the bungee jumping and inflatable slide. Children will enjoy crafts and face painting. Public dignitaries and community leaders will attend the ceremony and will assist in kindling the giant Menorah. Chanukah, a celebration for all time is highlighted by the kindling of the Menorah each night of the holiday.

“It is a holiday that enriches our lives with the light of tradition,” said Rabbi Alter Korf, director of the Chabad Jewish Center. “In ancient times our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the Menorah. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place.”

Chanukah also propagates the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness. In its Chanukah outreach campaign, Chabad Jewish Center of S. Petersburg joins thousands of Chabad centers across the globe that are staging similar public displays of the Menorah and its symbolic lights. From Australia to Africa, Columbia to Hong Kong, New York City’s ground zero to the White House lawn, hundreds of thousands will experience the joy of Chanukah with Chabad. For more information, call the Chabad Jewish Center at 344-4900.

• Winter’s Miracle on Cleveland Street

CLEARWATER – Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc. and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium offer Winter’s Miracle on Cleveland Street Friday, Dec. 6, 5:30 to 10 p.m. The festivities kick-off with the official lighting of the all-new Capitol Theatre sign atop the nearly completed theatre by Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, city and business leaders and officials from Ruth Eckerd Hall. The first 250 children (age 12 and under) will receive an exclusive holiday Winter plush toy.

Presented by Bright House Networks, this free holiday festival returns for the sixth year when downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District is transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with Florida’s largest natural snow slide, holiday crafts, train rides, inflatable attractions and an outdoor ice skating rink. Entertainment will include the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts tap dancers and live music from Tampa Bay’s favorite party band, Late Night Brass. Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a founding member of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers Sha-Na-Na will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure, located in the Harborview Center at the corner of Osceola and Cleveland streets, will be open to the public with free admission. Children will be able to have their photograph taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the Hurricane Blizzard and the many educational exhibits inside.

Families can participate in a scavenger hunt along Cleveland Street to win great prizes including tickets to upcoming performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the all-new Capitol Theatre. Other prizes include a register-to-win for the opportunity to be an “extra” in the upcoming film Dolphin Tale 2, an exclusive behind the scenes Dolphin Tale 2 family experience and exclusive Dolphin Tale 2 prizes. The festival will feature a variety of vendors throughout Cleveland Street providing holiday-themed food and refreshments.

• Holiday in the Park

PINELLAS PARK – The 11th annual Holiday in the Park event is set for Friday, Dec. 6, 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, noon to 9 p.m., at England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave. N. This community-wide family event will feature children’s games, entertainment, photos with Santa, hayrides, a children’s train ride and more. Call 541-0895 for more information.

• There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS – The annual There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs festival is Friday, Dec. 6, 4 to 9 p.m. The festival area will cover Tarpon Avenue from Spring Bayou to Ring Street and Safford Avenue from Tarpon Avenue to Orange Street. The event includes horse-drawn carriage rides, falling snow and real reindeer. Take a Christmas hayride, do some holiday shopping or stick around for music, food and spirits at the main area, or watch an illuminated boat parade at the Spring Bayou. Children’s activities also will be available for families, as well as Santa’s Mailbox for all of your holiday letters.

• Holiday concert

BELLEAIR – The town of Belleair’s holiday concert is Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Call 518-3728.

• Christmas lighting ceremony

ST. PETE BEACH – Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church will host a Christmas lighting ceremony Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., outside the church at 107 16th Ave. All residents are invited to attend and join in the singing of Christmas carols while enjoying hot cocoa and homemade cookies. For more information on this and other church activities, call the church office at 360-5508 or email

• Dunedin Youth Guild Tour of Homes

DUNEDIN – The Dunedin Youth Guild is hosting the 44th annual Tour of Homes on Saturday, Dec. 7. The tour will begin with a tea served at Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church, 75 San Salvador Drive, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Guests can shop for holiday gifts at the guild boutique and with local vendors that will have a variety of merchandise for purchase.

Five homes will be on the tour this year. Tour prices are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets may be purchased from any guild member or by calling 734-0394 and leaving a message. The Dunedin Youth Guild fundraising proceeds are 100 percent donated to schools, college scholarships and other activities benefiting the children of our community.

• Trees and Traditions

LARGO – Heritage Village will present Trees and Traditions, a Pinellas holiday celebration from 1850 through 1950, on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This special day of holiday-related activities includes children’s activities and crafts, holiday music, tours, a special visit from Santa Claus and a Holiday Marketplace.

Guests may visit the Heritage Village’s historical houses, many of which will be decorated true to their period, locality and lifestyle, from an elaborately decorated Victorian home, to a simply adorned 1852 log cabin. Visitors can also find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Beach Cottage Gift Shop.

Even Santa will join in the fun, reading letters aloud that children wrote to the St. Petersburg Times in the early 1900s. Children of all ages can enjoy “G” Scale Model Train layout as well as displays from the Tampa Bay Miniature Enthusiasts.

Admission is free to children younger than 12. Suggested minimum donation of $2 per adult. The event is sponsored by the Pinellas County Historical Society.

Free parking will be available at the Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road and the Heritage Village/Florida Botanical Gardens parking lot at 12211 Walsingham Road. Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo. For information, visit or call 582-2123.

• Dunedin Chorus Holiday Concert

DUNEDIN – Dunedin Chorus performs its holiday concert Sunday, Dec. 8, 3 p.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Donations accepted. For more information, call 812-4530.

• Holiday showcase

LARGO – Enjoy an afternoon of dancing and singing Largo’s Holiday Showcase Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m., at the Largo Community Center. The Tutterow Dancers, The Mcmillans, The Bates, The Indian Rocks Christian School Student Choir and the Strolling Carolers all will perform in the grand ballroom. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road. Visit Largo CommunityCenter.comor call 518-3131.

• Safford House Victorian Christmas

CLEARWATER – Annual Safford House Victorian Christmas, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 12-14, at Safford House Museum, 23 Parkin Court. Hours will be Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and $6 for members and children age 3 to 18. Attendees will have an opportunity to ring in the holidays and stroll through the 1883 Safford House beautifully decorated for the holidays in Victorian style. Guests may enjoy refreshments and the unique holiday gift shop and tour the house with “Governor Anson Safford” (Bruce Miller) as he describes Victorian holiday traditions and life. There also will be live performances of holiday music during the tour. Special Victorian games and activities will be scheduled for children on Saturday. Call 942-5605 or visit

• Dunedin Concert Band

DUNEDIN – Dunedin Concert Band plays for the holidays Friday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. Donations accepted. For more information, call 812-4530.

Holiday entertainment

• The Greatest Christmas Villain

LARGO – “The Greatest Christmas Villain,” a musical by Richard Budin, Nov. 15-24, at Largo Community Center, 400 Alt Keene Road, Largo. Tickets are $20 for adults or $10 for children. Performance times are Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Matinees are Sunday, 2 p.m. Gateswing, president of the world’s largest toy company, plans to trick Santa and take his toys. Can he be stopped? What will happen to Christmas? Will the elves lose their jobs? For more information and to purchase tickets, call 518-3131.

• Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013

CLEARWATER – Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013, Saturday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets start at $35. Call 791-7400 or Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013 is an uplifting, high-energy show the whole family will love. Get into the holiday spirit as some of music’s biggest names jam on fresh, lively arrangements of seasonal favorites, led by multi-Grammy nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz. Joining Koz this year are Japanese born pianist/composer/producer Keiko Matsui, who has shared the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis; world-renowned singer Oleta Adams, who first came to prominence when Tears for Fears asked her to appear on their “The Seeds of Love” album and who has released eight acclaimed CDs of her own, crossing effortlessly between R&B, jazz, popular and gospel music; and Jonathan Butler, who was the first black artist played on white stations in his native South Africa and has since earned accolades in the R&B, contemporary jazz and gospel fields.

• Trans-Siberian Orchestra The Lost Christmas Eve

CLEARWATER – Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Sunday, Dec. 1, 3 and 7:30 p.m., at Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets start at $32.75. Call 813-301-2500 or visit TSO will celebrate their first 15 years of touring with an encore and final performance of their multi-platinum rock opera, “The Lost Christmas Eve.” TSO, whose phenomena has grown year after year, has played over 1,500 shows for more than 10 million fans in the past 15 years, and quietly became one of the world’s biggest arena rock acts. The unprecedented fan driven growth is a testament to TSO founder Paul O’Neill’s vision of “Rock Theater,” the perfect amalgamation of Broadway storytelling with the spectacle of rock, delighting audiences of all ages year after year.

• Holiday Party of One

CLEARWATER – “Holiday Party of One,” by Alison Burns with musical arrangements by Stan Collins; Dec. 5-20, at New Stage Theatre, inside Country Day World School, 11650 131st St. N., Largo. For performance times and ticket information, call 813-817-2585 or This Tampa Bay holiday traditional finds a home at New Stage Theatre after its highly acclaimed run in 2012. Written by local talents Alison Burns and Karla Hartley, this hilarious holiday treat follows three overworked, out of touch, people as they, once again, get caught up in the mad rush of the holidays – that is until Lucky, a Christmas elf, comes to the rescue. The second half of the evening is a unique cabaret of holiday favorites. This production is fun for the whole family.

• Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Holiday Party

CLEARWATER – Sixth annual Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Holiday Party hosted by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets start at $35. Call 791-7400 or visit The show will feature Lesley Gore, Lou Christie, Lenny Welch, Joey Dee, Bowzer & The Stingrays and Rocky & The Rollers with special guests Johnny Contardo and Henry Gross, formerly of Sha Na Na. While attending Columbia University in New York in 1969, student Jon Bauman along with his fellow classmates combined their love for the classics of Rock & Roll with a dynamic theatrical approach to form Sha Na Na. The a’50s legends eighth professional gig was opening for Jimi Hendrix 44 years ago this summer at The Woodstock Festival. Bauman went on to become a VJ on the music channel VH-1 during its first two years. He’s appeared on several television series, such as “Miami Vice.” He also hosted the Hollywood Squares half of the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. Bauman has spoken on behalf of musicians and helped pass legislation, known as the Truth in Music Act, that compels any group using the name of a classic group have at least one of the original members.

• Christmas with the Baltimore Consort

TARPON SPRINGS – Christmas with the Baltimore Consort, Sunday, Dec. 15, at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for members and students. The Baltimore Consort has delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and earned their CDs a place on the Billboard Magazine Top 10 list. The Baltimore Consort’s arrangements of early music from England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Spain speak to the heart as well as the mind, and their love for the early music of English/Scottish heritage has led them to delve into the rich trove of traditional balladry and dance tunes preserved in the Appalachian mountains and Nova Scotia. The group features Ronn Mcfarlane, lute; Mindy Rosenfeld, flutes, fifes, recorder, crumhorn; Larry Lipkis, viol, recorder, crumhorn, gemshorn; Mark Cudec, cittern, viol, recorder, crumhorn, guitars; Mary Anne Ballard, viols, rebec; Danielle Svonavec, soprano; and Jose Lemos, countertenor. Call 942-5605 or

• Russian Christmas

CLEARWATER – A Russian Christmas performed by the State Choir of Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets start at $29.50. Call 587-6793 or Celebrate the holiday season with this unique cultural experience. This company of 45 singers was founded from the merger of the USSR State Chamber Choir and State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR. Music critics have praised this spectacular group and rave of the flawless vocal technique and crystal-clear, precise intonation.

• Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits

CLEARWATER – Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $82. Call 791-7400 or With a career that encompasses five Grammy Awards, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. From ’70s-era Doobie Brothers classics such as “What A Fool Believes” and solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown covers albums and recent genre-busting guest spots with alternative buzz bands “Grizzly Bear” and “Holy Ghost,” McDonald is an artist whose work is both timeless and ever-evolving.

• Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour

CLEARWATER – Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Adkins will release “The King’s Gift,” a Christmas album of Celtic carols, in October. He will be touring in support of the album, including a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The show will be a reverent theatrical and musical production for the whole family. The Christmas Show Tour begins a new Adkins holiday tradition for years to come. Envisioned as a theatrical production, Adkins will alternate between fireside storytelling of anecdotes (both personal and historical) and performances of classic carols with a 12-piece ensemble – a quartet string section, female vocalists, and a range of traditional instruments. The tour is inspired by Adkins’ annual hosting duties at Disney World’s Candlelight Processional, where his deep baritone narrates Christmas stories while a full choir and orchestra performs.

• Sleigh

TARPON SPRINGS – “Sleigh,” written by PB&J Theatre Factory, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19-22, at Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S. Pinellas Ave. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for members and students. Directed by Rick Bronson, this G-rated comedy will have audiences laughing through the holidays and will do it without the spoken word. Call 942-5605 or visit

• Rockapella’s holiday show

CLEARWATER – Rockapella, Friday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $30. Call 791-7400 or The world’s most loved five-man contemporary pop vocal phenomenon is known for its astonishing live performances and Rockapella’s holiday show is a “must see” event. With their completely original take on the holidays, Rockapella creates a light-hearted and unforgettable holiday experience as they travel the country spreading musical holiday cheer. From unique takes on classic favorites to brand new originals destined to become classics, audiences of all ages can expect to be charmed by a holiday performance like no other.

• Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet holiday concert

TARPON SPRINGS – Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, Sunday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m., at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for members and students. Attendees will have an opportunity to ring in the holidays with the Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, who deliver Christmas cheer with virtuoso flair. The ensemble will perform Handel, Bach, and a glorious fanfare of Christmas favorites such as “Joy to the World” and “White Christmas.” Known for their great versatility, entertaining narratives, and musical skill, the quintet is made up of principal players from The Florida Orchestra, including Robert Smith, trumpet; Kenneth Brown, trumpet; Andrew Karr, French horn; Dwight Decker, trombone; and William Mickelsen, tuba. Call 942-5605 or

• A Christmas Carol

CLEARWATER – Nebraska Theatre Caravan presents “A Christmas Carol,” Monday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Call 791-7400 or visit Tickets start at $35. A cherished tradition, this is the longest-running production of “A Christmas Carol” in the United States. In this beloved Dickens classic, ghosts of Christmases past, present and future guide Scrooge on a journey of redemption as he discovers the spirit of Christmas and a new life filled with joy and love. This show is part of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Adults at Leisure Series.

Special community events

• South Pasadena Best of Lights contest

SOUTH PASADENA – The city of South Pasadena is conducting a Best of Lights Contest for 2013. All businesses, homeowners and multi-family complexes (condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) are invited to display lights during the holidays for consideration. Lights can be placed on the storefront or the exterior and need to be visible from the street. Holiday signs, window painting and twinkling lights are allowed.

There will be two winners in each category: first place and first runner-up. First place winners will receive a framed award certification and an official yard sign. Runners up will receive certificates. The first-place winners and runners up will be selected by the Beautification Committee on Dec. 12. Signs and certificates will be presented at the city’s regular commission meeting on Jan. 14. The city’s cable channel 615 will display winners’ names throughout the holiday season.

• Deck the Doors Holiday Decorating Contest

SAFETY HARBOR – The city of Safety Harbor is sponsoring a Deck the Doors Holiday Decorating Contest. Residents can snap a picture of their decorated door and send it to The deadline for residents is Sunday, Dec. 8. The residential winner will be announced at the holiday parade. Also, downtown merchants are also hosting a Holiday Stroll/Decorate-A-Door contest that kicks off right after the tree lighting at the Gazebo on Friday, Dec. 6 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. Shoppers can stroll from store to store and mark their ballots for their favorite door. One lucky shopper also will win a prize basket worth more than $250 of gift certificates and gifts from the participating merchants.

• Holiday Bargain Bazaar

SAFETY HARBOR – The city of Safety Harbor is hosting the annual Holiday Bargain Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Community Center, 650 9th Ave. S. While giving vendors a chance to make an extra dollar for their own gift buying, the city of Safety Harbor will provide shoppers the opportunity to score some of the best bargains around.

This is the third year Safety Harbor has hosted the Holiday Bargain Bazaar event. Bargain hunters won’t want to miss this rain or shine event. Vendors will set up inside and outside the Safety Harbor Community Center. In previous years, the Bazaar has been a huge success, so this year, the city is spreading the word and offer more vendors a chance to sell items all for under $25. An outdoor space is $10, and an indoor space is $15. Rent for an 8 foot banquet table is $5.

Vendors can register at the Safety Harbor Community Center to reserve a spot. Vendors who have participated in city programs before can register online at For more information, contact Autumn Lewis at 724-1530.

• Soccer with Santa

SEMINOLE – The Seminole Youth Athletic Association hosts its seventh annual Soccer with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 12100 90th Ave., Seminole. The event includes a Seminole Elks Basketball Shootout, soccer games, pictures with Santa, craft fair, sports vendors, bounce houses, raffles, silent auctions, team photos and more. Lunch is $3 and includes pizza, ice cream and a drink. Free booths for vendors. For more information, email Sherri McCarthy at or call 235-3378.

• Breakfast with Santa

DUNEDIN – Breakfast with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 to 11 a.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Join Santa for a delicious pancake breakfast and let him know how good you’ve been and what you would like this year. Ages 8 and younger. Cost is $6 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information, call 812-4530.

• Santa’s Calling

DUNEDIN – Santa’s Calling is Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Children, ages 7 and younger will receive a personal phone call from Santa or Mrs. Claus. Must preregister. Forms available at the Dunedin Library, 230 Moray Place, and the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. For more information, call 298-3299.

• Breakfast with Santa

TREASURE ISLAND – The St. Petersburg Lions Club plans its annual Breakfast With Santa event Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Lions Club Beach House, 9300 W. Gulf Blvd. Admission is free but those attending are asked to bring a can or bag of pet food for Santa and his reindeer. The pet food will be donated to the PetPal Animal Shelter. Those planning to attend should register by Dec. 6. Call Sally at 813-965-2534 or email

• Santa tours Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS – Santa Claus will be touring tarpon springs again this year courtesy of Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue. Santa will depart from the main station at 444 S. Huey Ave. on December 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18 for a tour of different sections of the city. On Dec. 19, Santa will greet children at the main station on Huey Avenue from 6 to 8 p.m. for refreshments and Christmas fun. Find maps of Santa’s routes

• Santa Claus visits Oldsmar

OLDSMAR – Oldsmar Fire Rescue is once again sponsoring a children’s holiday program that features a personal visit from Santa Claus for homes that are in the city of Oldsmar. Santa and his elves, riding a fire truck, will visit the children in the evenings from Dec. 17 through Dec. 21 and Santa will bring the child their present at that time. Dates will be set by a lottery system.

Families should mail a 3-inch by 5-inch card with their name, address and daytime phone number printed on the card. The card should be mailed to Oldsmar Fire Rescue, 225 Pine Ave. N., Oldsmar, FL 34677.

As each card is drawn, that household will be called and their appointment set. After setting an appointment, parents are to bring a small, gift-wrapped present for their child to the fire station Dec. 9 through Dec. 13. The gift should have their child’s name, address and the date and time of Santa’s visit written clearly on the outside of the package.

If there is a group of children, packages should be wrapped as above, put into a large plastic garbage bag, with the last name of the host family, address and date and time of Santa’s visit on the outside of the bag.

Events outside Pinellas

• Christmas Town

TAMPA – Christmas Town transforms Busch Gardens Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas for 18 select nights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 23. Special Christmas entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling lights will fill the senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors to create a memorable new family tradition. Everyone’s favorite attraction, SnowWorld presented by Coca-Cola, returns with three times as much snow! Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special $10 advance tickets for their youngest members. Visit

• Nights of Shimmering Lights “Drive-thru” Light Park

DOVER – Nights of Shimmering Lights “Drive-thru” Light Park is Nov. 30 through Dec. 29, 6 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 6 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, at 217 Sydney Washer Road, Dover, approximately 8 miles east of I-75 on State Road 60 at the County Fairgrounds. Cost is $15 Monday through Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday.

Nights of Shimmering Lights’ third season illuminates the night with a million twinkling lights this holiday season. Enjoy the 1-1/2 mile lighted trail with over 1,000 lighted elements. Ride the new Light Express ride thru the “”mini”” park in the Holiday Village. Watch the Rays and Sox slug it out in lights in our new baseball field. The children are sure to delight in the Story Book area with our new additions. Plan some extra time to spend in the Holiday Village and get your “”free”” digital picture with Santa. Watch a holiday movie under the stars. Call 813-389-6858 or

• Victorian Christmas Stroll

TAMPA – Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 32nd annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, Dec. 1-23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There are 14 exhibit rooms, each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories. This year there will also be a special exhibit, Toys Then and Now, highlighting antique toys and toys from modern times. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 10 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths. Visit

• Holidays at Lowry Park Zoo

TAMPA – Meet Santa and his merry mammals – real reindeer – at Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats create a whimsical world of holiday magic from 6:30-10 p.m. on Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23 and 26-30. On Dec. 13, you can also celebrate the season with the Zoo’s primate family as the primates open special presents from Zoo staff and docents as part of their enrichment program. The Presents for Primates is included free-of-charge with Zoo admission.

• Holiday FantaSea

TAMPA – The Florida Aquarium will host Holiday FantaSea, a family-friendly celebration featuring real snow, dazzling holiday lights and more. From Dec. 26-30, Santa and his swimming elves, as well as special holiday mermaids, will swim throughout the massive tanks alongside all the amazing aquatic creatures each night during Holiday FantaSea. In addition, the Florida Aquarium will host two dazzling light shows each night, a huge holiday model train display, and extended hours during the Holiday FantaSea event. Visit


CD Review – Greg Dillard “Trapped in Paradise Again”

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Greg Dillard‘s debut album “Trapped in Paradise Again” is an instant hit. Trop Rock / Country / Americana or however you decide label it, you must get your hands on it. The album starts with ‘Trapped in Paradise Again‘. This is one we can all relate to in our day to day lives. ‘Out of My Life‘ and ‘Part of You‘ are both soul searching songs with beautiful lyrics. ‘T.U.I.‘ is a whimsical song that unfortunately some might be a victim of. There’s no point in speculating whether its success will be based on its quality; what we have here is a case of widespread crowd pleasability, which the album has in slabs.

1) Trapped in Paradise Again
2) Out of My Life
3) Part of You
4) My Favorite Place
5) We Can Make It
6) T.U.I. (Texting Under the Influence)
7) Don’t You Want To
8) Just to See You
9) Uphill Battle

Bio – Greg Dillard is a Trop Rock Singer/Songwriter currently residing in Tupelo, MS. Greg performs at venues all over the southeast and averages around 150 gigs a year playing his originals and a wide variety of covers that span numerous genres and decades of music.

Greg is currently working on his first solo project, “Trapped in Paradise Again,” which is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2013. Greg has also recorded CDs with full bands Bliss (Uphill Battle) and Busted Screen Door (Southern Belles and Shotgun Shells).

Greg is a member of the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Americana Music Association (AMA).

Greg’s Website and Contact Info can be found at



Kenny Chesney Turns Negatives to Positives

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Kenny Chesney“We live in a world that, if you let it, can be an insanely negative place,” Kenny Chesney said. “We wanted to write lyrics that would be as positive as we could get.”

He was talking about “Spread the Love,” a new song he’s singing which includes the chorus, “We’ve got to spread the love, spread the love all over the world.”

It’s a song Chesney wrote with Brett James, and the way he described each part of the song in new country special issue of People magazine makes me want to believe in all the good in the world.

As for the opening lyric, about how we’re all God’s children, Chesney says he really believes that.

“I’m spiritual in that way. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Love is the answer,’ but I wish we could learn to love everybody a little better,” he told the magazine, adding that he thinks music is the most powerful thing in our lives. “It helps us heal our hearts and our souls.”

The song is straight-up reggae. He collaborated on it with the late Bob Marley’s band, the Wailers, which is very obvious about three seconds in. And Chesney told People it “really ended up being a gospel song.” So I guess you could call is reggae-gospel fusion? But if you were expecting a new country song from Chesney, this ain’t it.

The proceeds from the song’s downloads go directly into the Spread the Love Fund and will help people who were severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing.

“Not every song you record gets to help people. That’s why I’m insanely proud of it,” Chesney admits. “When I hear it, it puts a huge smile on my face.”

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Destin Wedding plans

Posted in Island Enthusiasts | Comments Off on Destin Wedding plans

Sunshine Cindy and I continue to make plans for our upcoming wedding. We are getting hitched in May down on the harbor here in Destin. Tuesday afternoon we met with a wedding planner. We need to have someone to help us pull this all together and make sure everything is a go for the big day. We met with Christine from RSVP events in Destin. She knows her business and will be a big help to us.

We are getting all the outside vendors to supply what we need, we have booked Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef to play music for us, Crab Island Cantina will host the wedding and reception…everything is falling into place. Being a guy I think this is all so simple and will handle itself. But we are looking at 200 people there, details to be finalized, rooms to be booked….even what color tablecloths we will use! LOL Just give me a beer and tell me where to go and how much money is needed!

When we left RSVP we stopped in at Island Wings for a beer and a bite to eat. As we found a seat at the bar we saw Alan and Jackie. We sat next to them. We seem to always run into those two. I had some craft beers and chili to eat. It was just the right spice and very good. Sunshine Cindy had a tuna sandwich. She also enjoyed her food. It was a nice visit with Alan and Jackie. Island Wings was not overly crowded so the noise level was not too bad like the first time we stopped in there.

Trying to get home from work on Wednesday was a chore. First the road in front of my office was backed up. I tried to go one direction but it was at a standstill. After only going a few hundred feet in about 10 minutes I turned around sat in more traffic but at least it was moving. I took some back roads and got back to Hwy. 98 thinking I was home free. Nope. I got onto the Island I could see flashing lights ahead. I came to another dead stop. Turns out a car was upside down in a sand dune.

There was emergency vehicles everywhere. It didn’t look too good. I heard this morning two people were in the car and taken to the hospital. I hope they are okay. After getting past that I seemed to get behind every slow driving snowbird in town. It took almost an hour to get home. Oh well, that does not happen too often.

Down on the harbor, the land that was Aloha Rentals is now roped off. This is the land that Johnny O’Quigley bought. He is waiting for a development order from the city of Destin to start work on his latest Ale House. What is really sad is the Tipsy Turtle tiki hut is gone. I am not sure where it went but there is a big empty space where it used to sit. There were a lot of great memories from that spot going back to when Baby J’s sat at the dock. Hopefully the new place will have some of that same charm.

Over in Shoreline Village shopping center a new coffee shop has opened. We seem to be getting coffee shops left and right in this town now. That entire shopping center is undergoing a massive renovation. I will be interested to see what ends up there. It is in a good location right at the entrance to Holiday Isle.

Not much planned for this weekend but we will find something to keep us occupied. Enjoy your weekend. See ya Monday!

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Download Green to Go for free at

Posted in Jimmy Buffett News | Comments Off on Download Green to Go for free at

Green To Go by John H. Cunningham is FREE on Amazon

The parrotheads, treasure hunters, adventures seekers, island hoppers, rum drinkers, seaplane devotees and conchs have all come to love John H. Cunningham and his Buck Reilly Adventure Series. Currently GREEN TO GO, the second book in the series, is free on Amazon through November 22. You can download it here:

In GREEN TO GO, good news turns bad fast, and the bad just keeps coming…The unexpected contents of his parent’s Swiss bank account offers Buck Reilly a chance to dig himself out of the hole he’s been in since the recession hit, but first he must recover the treasure maps and clues he lost at sea. Those plans get put on hold when a friend is accused of orchestrating the biggest theft in Key West’s sordid history, and the FBI uses Buck’s past against him to demand that he search for the thieves who fled aboard a hundred year-old schooner.

No good deed goes unpunished, and Buck’s dogged by greed and double-crosses from Key West to the Bahamas and points south. His hunt for the missing treasure pits him against a crazed mercenary, Peruvian rebels, rogue Cuban Secret Police and a beautiful woman torn between turning Buck over to the authorities or succumbing to his easy charm.

written by admin

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