1. St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market Opens
In 2002, the local farmers' market scene was limited, to say the least. Then a little market started on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. Since then, the Saturday Morning Market has boomed, becoming the largest one-day-a-week market in the southeast U.S., with almost 10,000 customers browsing the stalls each week.
Much of that success lies with the make-up of the market. Although it does feature a few actual farmers, and some non-farm produce stands, the sheer breadth of vendors is astounding. Listen to live music, buy veggies, eat breakfast and shop for Christmas, all in the parking lot of Al Lang Field.
2. Valencia Gardens Closes
This June, a padlock showed up on the door of iconic Tampa restaurant Valencia Gardens. After over 80 years in business — all int he same location — the iconic Cuban restaurant was closing up shop.
Besides being a neighborhood landmark, for decades Valencia was a must-visit spot for Tampa's political power-brokers. As former CL editor Wayne Garcia said: "It was THE place to be and be seen in Tampa politics, for fundraisers and just to see who is chatting up who at lunch. Now, the Valencia Garden tradition of political intrigue is over. (And I need a new spot for a lunch date I had set for there next Tuesday.)"
The building was purchased from Valencia owner David Agliano by the University of Tampa as part of its ongoing expansion.