Weekend Platter: Nosh on fried Oreos, local eats & more

Don't miss food and fun at the Greek Food & Wine Festival, In the Dip and more this weekend.

This weekend has a locals-only food and drink festival, Greek celebration, more Halloween events and the best kind of fried foods planned for the region.

At the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Community Center, guests of the annual Greek Food & Wine Festival will enjoy Greek delicacies like pastries alongside Greek beer and wine, starting Friday. Now in its fourth year, the three-day festival will also showcase live music and folk dancing. $2 for adults, free for kids ages 12 and under. Fri., noon-10 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 348 N. Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs, 727-937-3540.

Feast on fried, handheld foods during the Hillsborough County Fair , which takes place until Sunday this weekend and then picks back up Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. With the theme "Blue Jeans and Country Dreams," this year promises items like elephant ears, deep-fried Oreos and roasted corn. The fair's open for snacking throughout its run, but folks will have the opportunity to dine for a cause 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Proceeds from a $10 barbecue meal will go toward helping the county's 4-H Foundation and Brandon South Rotary. Tickets come with a plate of 'cue and free fair entry.  $7 for adults, $5 for students, free for kids 5 and under. Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.  215 Sydney Washer Road, Dover.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, get over to St. Petersburg's In the Dip festival for food and fun across from the Manhattan Casino in The Deuces. Part of Localicious Week, a St. Pete celebration that highlights and promotes local food and drink, the huge event (the largest of the week) will feature food trucks and artisanal vendors, craft beer, a bounce castle for kids, live music, and workshops on sustainable drinking and eating. Grab a bite from places like the Latin Lunchbox, or attend the Soul Food Luncheon at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum nearby. The workshops are focused on topics like keeping chickens, brewing kombucha and hydroponic gardening at home. Visit the Facebook event for more details on what's in store.  Free. 22nd Street South and Sixth Avenue, St. Petersburg.

Get into the Halloween spirit a little bit early with your pooch between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday at Tampa's Le Méridien   hotel. Each ticket to Howl-O-Ween  will benefit the Animal Coalition of Tampa, and admission includes two drinks, a food ticket and entry into the costume contest (open to owners and their pets) and raffle drawing for prizes like a dinner for two at the hotel's Bizou Brasserie. This Halloween party lets animal lovers drink with their dogs and support other canines while doing it. Sounds like a doggone good time.  $25. 601 N. Florida Ave., Tampa.

Even though it's not this weekend, locals should reserve their pumpkins in advance if they plan on attending the Independent Bar and Cafe's popular 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest . However, bringing your own gourd to carve is encouraged, too. Hosted 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, this neighborhood event will offer pizza and drink boxes for kids, as well as an award for best carving job. Tools and sharpies won't be provided. Free, money for beer and food. 5016 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-341-4883.
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