On the Radar: Outdoor delights at Festa Italiana, Mainsail Arts Festival and Child of Sun Jazz Festival

[image-1]On Friday night, attend the festival’s free Cinema Italiano, which includes a screening of Foccacia Blues. Produced and directed by Nico Cirasola, the movie tells the story of two Altamura bakers who put the local McDonald's out of business. The comedy is based on a true story, inspired by a 2006 New York Times article, and it won a Best Picture award from the Association of Italian Film Critics. USF Professor Patrizia La Trecchia, Ph.D., introduces the film and provides a Q&A, and if you have the munchies, espresso, dolci and popcorn will be sold. Cinema Italiano showings continue at The Italian Club throughout the day Saturday.

[image-2]On Saturday, catch the annual Bocce Ball Invitational Tournament, and see an Italian Idol contest. Sample food at the fresh market and homemade vino at a competition and tasting.

Kick it old-world-style Sunday with a Catholic Mass and procession at 10:15 a.m. After that, entertainment on the main stage features returning headliners Sonny Geraci and Dennis Tufano. You might recognize Geraci as the former frontman of the Outsiders ("Time Won't Let Me") and Climax (“Precious and Few”). Tufano sang lead for the Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag”).

[image-3]Make like Lucile Ball at the fest’s grape stomping competition and be entertained ­– and fed – at Vigo & Alessi’s cooking demonstrations. The

Kidz Zone offers Italian costumed characters, children's activities, amusement rides, magic shows and face painting. Wind things down at the Italian Club’s cultural and genealogical exhibit.

Festa Italiana events take place at and around Centennial Park, 18th Street and Eighth Avenue, and the Italian Club, 1731 E. Seventh Ave, Ybor City. Admission to Sunday’s festivities is $5; Saturday is free. Proceeds go to the Italian Club restoration fund. festaitaliana.com.

[image-4]Meanwhile on the other side of the bay, the 36th Annual Mainsail Arts Festival sprawls out across Downtown St. Pete's waterfront, offering the city's biggest outdoor visual arts event of the year.

On display will be 250 juried fine art and craft exhibitors, live music, the Young at Art student show, Kids Create art tent and a culinary arts food court. Top-notch rockabilly band Midnight Bowlers League performs 3 p.m. and reggae favorite Tribal Style hits the stage Sun. at 1 p.m.

Free admission. Sat. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 16-17. Vinoy Park, Bayshore Drive and Seventh Avenue N.E., St. Petersburg. mainsailartsfestival.org.

[image-5]It's a hike for Tampa Bay residents, but well worth the hour-ish drive to picturesque downtown Lakeland for the Child of Sun Jazz Festival. The festival from noon to 10 p.m. on Sat., April 16, at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater, offers great music, food, fun and fireworks at dusk.

Notable locals performing include Buster Cooper Quartet (Cooper of Duke Ellington fame) at 3:45 p.m. and Trio Vibe (Sam Koppelman, vibraphone; Philip Booth, bass and Jose Munoz, drums) at 5 p.m.

For more information and a full schedule, visit cotslakeland.com.

With two major outdoor events happening Saturday and Sunday, this would be the wrong weekend to get one of those storms that get our local meteorologists all in a tizzy. Thankfully we're just at 10 percent chance of rain as of this writing.

So what if there are some showers here or there, don't let a little drizzle keep you from finding your inner Italian Stallion at Ybor’s Festa Italiana this Thurs.-Sun., April 14-17. The 14th annual celebration is bigger and better this year with a wine fest 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Italian cinema and street fests Saturday and Sunday.

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