Weekend Platter: National Sandwich Day, food fests and more

Since it's noon and all, start getting your weekend on around town.

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What are you waiting for, Tampa Bay? You've got a lot of weekending to do — starting now.

On Friday, spend National Sandwich Day with Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There's a variety of jazzed-up sandos to choose from at the Grand Central District restaurant on this most tasty food holiday, including Mama Ling Ling's Thanksgiving — turkey, Gouda, stuffing, ginger cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and cream cheese with a side of gravy. Or, you could always look back at CL's Food Issue to map out the Sandwich Day of your dreams. Free, money for food. 2950 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-873-6992.

Kick off Rock Brothers Brewing's Beer Release Weekend by getting a taste of 311 Beautiful Disaster in the tasting room. A tapping party for the new imperial IPA begins at 3:11 p.m. Friday. This is also where the region's beer people can preorder bottles of Beautiful Disaster on-site, ahead of its official launch on Saturday morning. Free, money for beer. 1901 N. 15th St., Tampa, 813-241-0110.

Rapp Brewing Company has another craft beer celebration planned for Saturday. Hosted between 2 p.m. and midnight, the 5 Years of Great Beers anniversary bash features 40 house drafts, the Jimmy's Slider and Rocky's Wood Fired Brick Oven food trucks in the house, rare beer tappings, a raffle every hour, two new bottle releases, and new T-shirts. Free, money for beer and food. 10930 Endeavor Way, Seminole, 727-544-1752.

Now in its eighth year, Tampa Bay Veg Fest brings tasty vegan fare from local vendors — for both meat eaters and veg heads alike — to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Construction in the area might mess up your transportation plans, so peep the popular event's parking info. A Pinellas food fest goes down on Saturday, too: Largo Taste Fest. Expect tropical bites from the menus of area restaurants during the outdoor gathering — running from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Highland Family Aquatic Center — in addition to live music, art and a silent auction. Tickets are up onlineVeg Fest: Free, money for food. 601 Old Water St., Tampa. Taste Fest: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 400 Highland Ave., Largo.

On Sunday, explore Gardening with Florida's Native Plants. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve showcases a lineup of Sunshine State plants — that are definitely gardening material — during this educational workshop, where native greenery is also available for purchase at a discounted rate. The event is held from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and participants should be ages 18 and up. $5. 1101 Country Club Way S., St. Petersburg, 727893-7326.

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