Ding dong, Tampa homophobia is dead! A ban has been lifted on municipality-blessed LGBT Pride. To make up for lost time, community leaders have been hard at work bringing a banging Pride Parade to the Tampa side of the bay. See their efforts realized at the inaugural Tampa Pride, a daytime parade along Seventh Avenue,and a street festival on Eighth Avenue between 14th to 17th streets happening throughout the day. Grand Marshals are Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and community leader Kurt King, owner and operator of Hamburger Mary’s in Centro Ybor. More details at tampapride.org.
Sonorous Safety Harbor splendor: Syd Entel Galleries will host a kickoff party for this weekend's big SongFest in Safety Harbor. Meet Songfest headliner, the charming and charismatic painter and poet Joseph Arthur. He was a big hit at WMNF's Tropical Heatwave last year and returns play the fest this Saturday along with a performance and live art happening on Friday 6-8 p.m. 247 Main St., Safety Harbor. 727-725-1808.
Prepare to be surprised! tonight at Gasp!, the Gasparilla Fringe Festival, at the Tampa Museum of Art, also Friday evening. Click here for the details about the highly anticipated entertainment spectacle.
Vroom vroom! The city of St. Petersburg is kicking off its Firestone Grand Prix weekend with the free Fast Friday Grand Prix Block Party at Second Street N and Central Avenue, St. Petersburg bands and kid-friendly fun at 5:30 p.m., A free shuttle from Tropicana Field alleviates parking headaches ($10).the Grand Prix events cost around $20-$55 for general admission.gpstpete.com.
Hearts of darkness: See a macabre art show that doesn’t wear its creepy factor on its mesh-black sleeve like some Marilyn Manson fever dream. In Tempus’ Darkness Invisible, artists Sarah Emerson, Amir H. Fallah, Langdon Graves (work pictured), Trenton Doyle Hancock, Gigi Lage and Noelle Mason use a wide of range of media to bring us a bogey man/woman who’s either missing, unseen or transparent. The show also coincides with Quaid’s new exhibit in the same space, Slime Dunes, featuring new paintings by Anthony Record. The opening reception is Saturday, 7-10 p.m., and is sponsored in part by The Mermaid Tavern, after-party headquarters. tempus-projects.com.
Scot spree! Scottish cultural festivities are underway with the Dunedin Tide Festival of Piping parade in downtown Dunedin Friday evening. The 49th Annual Dunedin Highland Games offers competitions and revelry all day Saturday. Bagpipes, athletics, Highland dancing, music, Sheep Dog demonstrations, Celtic vendors and more. Tickets are priced at $16 in advance, $18 at the gate. Children 12 and younger get in free. 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. dunedinhighlandgames.com.
All's fair at these folksy fests: If Tampa Pride and St. Pete's Grand Prix are too hectic for you this weekend, head north, my friends. A northeast Pinellas founder's day fair of sorts, Oldsmar Days, offers classic cars and live rock and a carnival. Fri.-Sun. at R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive W, Oldsmar. Free. Ride wristbands $20-$25. Click here for a schedule. New Port Richey's Chasco Fiesta has a midway and other big doin's. Friday and Saturday at Sims Park, 6341 Bank St., New Port Richey. Free admission; wristband for carnival rides, $20. chascofiesta.com.
Last call for film fest fun: Winding down this Sunday, the Gasparilla International Film Festival continues with its plethora of movie screenings at Channelside Bay Plaza throughout the weekend with fun, after-parties and even some freebies. Friday's Bacardi Nights Party starts at 9 p.m., and is just $10 (or free with any film ticket or pass). Saturday's Big Party by New Amsterdam Vodka is $65 (including drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres) and kicks off at 10 p.m. GIFF Suncoast Credit Family Fun Day events on Sunday include Ghost Squad at 3:15 and The Goonies at 5. At 6:30 p.m., see the closing Night Film, Preggoland (click here for review), and at 7 p.m., and a free GIFF Wrap Party takes place in the Channelside Cinemas Lobby. gasparillafilmfestival.com.
Last chance to BARF: The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is open for Festival Friday and comes to a close this Sunday; theme: Barbarian BBQ Bash (March 28-29). At Fowler Avenue and 46th Street, Tampa. bayarearenfest.com.
Buy, gorge! As if there weren't enough fests to hit this weekend, the World's Largest Food Truck Festival (Ever) is parked out at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Rescheduling note: If you made plans to trek to Sarasota for Chillounge Night Friday night, the event has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 28, in anticipation of inclement weather. The event starts at 7 p.m. All tickets purchased for Friday, March 27, will be honored on Saturday.