Two big fests, both sides of the bay: Ybor City Heritage & Cigar Festival and Sanding Ovations

On Sat., Nov. 20, the annual outdoor festival – this year at Centennial Park – offers traditional foods, sports zone, kid's zone, antique car display, a beer and wine garden and an outdoor cigar exhibit.  Attendees can sample some of the world's finest cigars – brands include Arturo Fuente, Cuesta Rey, Rocky Patel, Los Blancos, Camacho and 601 – plus, see an on-site broadcast of the Cigar Dave Show or catch live entertainment by Hot Sun Quartet. The fest also marks the finale of the "Cigars for Soldiers" project, a cigar-donation drive for military personnel in Afghanistan. While you’re there, schedule a tour of the Ybor City Museum State Park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Nov. 20, Eighth Avenue, between? Angel Oliva and 19th streets, Ybor City. $5, free for children 12 and younger. For information, call 813-220-1474 or visit

[image-1]Here’s one of those beachy things to do that’s ideal for shuttling out-of-town visitors to or noting on your staycation itinerary.

The annual Sanding Ovations is an awe-inspiring, high-caliber competition of sand sculpture that takes place all weekend long on Treasure Island Beach. The contest and music festival takes place behind the Bilmar Beach Resort, and the lineup of sculptors includes Dan Doubleday, two-time World Champion and the 2009 Sanding Ovations winner, among other past winners. Artists compete for up $10,000-plus in awards presented at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, followed by fireworks after dusk. On Sunday, WMNF’s Pete Gallagher hosts the Florida Music Jam, a five-hour showcase featuring local musicians, and Sloppy Joe’s serves up a jazz brunch buffet 10 a.m. to noon.

Local bands include Second Nature, Tomkats Jazz Orchestra, Sunza Beaches, Upfront, The Rocket Man Show starring Rus Anderson as Elton John, and bluesman Sarasota Slim. Fri., Nov. 18-Sun., Nov. 21. Free. Parking on the beach is available at 112th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard for $10. For schedule, visit

Also, in brief ...

[image-2]Thurs, Nov. 18: Christmas Stopping Gorilla Theater makes mincemeat of the holiday season with the premiere of this dysfunctional comedy by James Rayfield. 8 p.m. Show runs through Dec. 12. $10-$20. 4419 Hubert Ave., Tampa. 813-879-2914.

Fri., Nov. 19: Fuzión at Dali The Sarasota-Bradenton contemporary dance company presents a series of vignettes inspired by the Dalí, Dance and Beyond exhibit. 7-9 p.m. $10, $15. 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg. 727-823-3767.

Sat., Nov. 20: Diana Ross The sugar-voiced superstar of yesteryear makes a live comeback, but you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny to see Ms. Supreme live at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Nosebleeds start at $63. 8 p.m. 727-791-7400,

Sun., Nov. 21: CraftArt Show Florida Craftsmen Gallery puts on a weekend-long, outdoor event featuring some 135 artisans. The juried sale and exhibition takes place on the corner of Fifth Street and Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The 12th annual Ybor City Heritage & Cigar Festival gets a-puffin’ this weekend with the fundraising kickoff party “Fire It Up” at the Ybor City Museum Garden Friday night (see details at

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