Weekend Platter: Drink in your santa suit, buy organic plants & more

From beverage samplings to a chef encounter, here are CL's favorite tasty events for the weekend.

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click to enlarge St. Pete's Bad Santa Bar Crawl and more are in store for the weekend. - Bad Santa Bar Crawl, St. Pete via Facebook
Bad Santa Bar Crawl, St. Pete via Facebook
St. Pete's Bad Santa Bar Crawl and more are in store for the weekend.

Tastings, a holiday-themed bar hop, a cookbook signing with the mind behind 4 Rivers Smokehouse, and a bountiful plant sale round out this weekend assortment of food and drink happenings.

Plan and pair dinner favorites with seasonal spirits at Whole Foods Market in Carrollwood. Throughout its Cheers to the Holidays event from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, the store will sample bubbly, brews, wine and appetizers to guests while they shop. Free. 3802 Northdale Blvd., Tampa, 813-264-3600.

In Tampa, meet chef and author John Rivers of the popular 4 Rivers Smokehouse. From noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Rivers will sign copies of his newest cookbook, The Southern Cowboy, as well as present a cooking demo at International Plaza's Williams-Sonoma store. Free. 2223 N. Westshore Blvd. #249, Tampa, 813-353-0700.

Seminole Heights' Jug & Bottle Dept. will hold the Sanoma Cider & Cheese Sampling between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday. Wash down all those cheesy bites with select ciders, and maybe even take a few bottles home. Free. 6203 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-675-4522.

Kicking off at 260 First at 6 p.m. Saturday, drink and be merry during the Bad Santa Bar Crawl. Drinkers, whose wristband comes with food and drink specials at the participating venues, will make stops at bars and pubs around downtown St. Pete, and they're also encouraged to dress up for the holiday costume contest. The event will benefit Backpack Pinellas County, The Children's Dream Fund and Hands 4 Hope. $25. 260 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg, badsantabarcrawl.com.

Take a drive to Largo's Florida Botanical Gardens for its giant plant sale starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. The event will offer tropical and rare plants, orchids, herbs, bamboo and more from 50-plus vendors, including Learntogroworganicfood.com. A selection of handmade goods — dog treats and honey among them — will be on hand, too. Free, money for goodies. 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, 727-582-2100.

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