Do It This Weekend: Honda Grand Prix, Sensory Overload, Jannus Live, Festa Italiana, Guiding Light and more

It's a huge weekend in Tampa Bay, full of ways to celebrate that the long winter of our discontent is over, and that spring (cross your fingers) is finally here.

Two big events take over downtown St. Pete this weekend. The roar of the engines is almost as loud as the hype for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a mega-mix of thrilling IndyCar auto races, celebrity meet-and-greets and non-stop partying that kicks off with a street party tonight, Get Downtown Fast Friday, at 6 p.m. on Central Avenue between 2nd & 3rd streets. Qualifying and practice rounds take up much of Saturday, and then on Sunday it's off to the races: Star Mazda at 11:50, Indy Lights at 12:45 and IndyCar, the main event, at 3:45. Bring earplugs and sunscreen (or maybe, judging by forecasts, an umbrella) and enjoy the spectacle of St. Pete's scenic waterfront turned into a racetrack-with-a-view. Tickets: Call 727-898-INDY, email [email protected] or visit

The grand reopening of Jannus Landing as Jannus Live (VIP lounges! a koi pond!) continues with Friday's concert featuring .38 Special. While many bands have come, gone and reunited years later, the Jacksonville-bred band has been going strong throughout their 30-year career with a sound described by lead vocalist Van Zant as “greasy, loud and proud.” Saturday night's headliner is Grammy-winning country rebel, the antithesis to country music’s current infatuation with blonde hair and big ballads. Finally, Jannus Live closes things out on Sunday with a Honda Grand Prix Victory Party featuring DJ Irie and friends. Thurs., March 25, 6:30 p.m.-late, Greg Billings Band w/Tom Gribbin and Gale Trippsmith, free admission; Fri., March 26, 8 p.m., .38 Special w/Molly Hatchet, $35 in advance/$40 dos; Sat., March 27, 8 p.m., Gretchen Wilson, $40 in advance/$45 dos; and Sun., March 28, 6 p.m., DJ Irie and friends, free admission. All shows at Jannus Live, First Avenue N. and Second Street N., downtown St. Petersburg. —Matt Spencer

Warning: There is so much cool stuff going on at CL’s fifth annual Sensory Overload, your brain might just go into overdrive. The smorgasbord of stimulating events takes over CL’s new home, historic Ybor City, where you’ll have access to The Roosevelt, New World Brewery, King Corona Cigar, Redletter1 Gallery and The Honeypot. Revels include live music and performances,  visual art, video installations on the streets, and models clad in Dali-inspired, Ivanka Ska-created couture working the whole shebang (pictured; photo by Ungala). Plus, like any good party, there’s food, beer, wine and hand-rolled cigars (hey, we’re in Ybor after all). Some of the highlights include Sons of Hippies and DJ Cub at The Roosevelt; Joe Popp and Have Gun Will Travel onstage at New World Brewery; a freaky food tasting at King Corona Cigar (we’re giving away samples of the Miracle Fruit, which makes hot sauce taste like donut glaze and Guinness taste like a chocolate milkshake); art and tattooing at Redletter1; and the official VIP Sensory Overload after-party at Honeypot. 7 p.m. Sat., March 27, Ybor City, $10 in advance, $15 night of event, visit for full schedule of events. —Lily Reisman