Category Archives: Travel

Seventh Annual Clearwater Beach Uncorked November 2018 – Sip. Savor. Repeat.

Last year I had the amazing pleasure of being hosted at Clearwater Beach UnCorked. I’m tickled pink to report that this year they are hosting the event again, and this time it’s in November! This event is a fabulous way to try a bunch of different wines in one location, for one price. There are also lots of yummy bites. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, if I do say so myself. And, like any event in the Tampa Bay area, VIP is the way to go!  Below you’ll find all the details about this exciting wine fest. I hope to attend this year, and I think after reading about it, you will too!

Clearwater Beach Uncorked today announced the new dates for its highly anticipated seventh anniversary celebration, November 3-4. Located directly on Clearwater Beach (adjacent to the official host hotel, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach), just south of Pier 60, Clearwater Beach Uncorked is returning to celebrate the Bay area’s most renowned chefs, restaurants, and breweries in a culinary showcase served with 180-degree Gulf of Mexico views. Dubbed one of the best food, wine and beer festivals on Florida’s East coast, the event is the west coast sister of Cocoa Beach Uncorked, which took place in April. Tickets are now on sale and details are available online at ClearwaterBeachUncorked.com.

“The sugar sand of Clearwater Beach is an exquisite setting to host thousands of eager foodies, wine lovers and beer aficionados searching for the very best in culinary trends.  The Bay-area is quickly becoming a cutting-edge market for culinarians looking for a new dining and drinking adventure,” said Tammy Gail, event producer. “We love bringing together our new and old friends to indulge in an unforgettable beach weekend highlighting the best of Florida’s west coast gastronomic treasures. This is lucky number seven for the festival and we’re working to make it the best yet for attendees, partners and exhibitors alike. We advise all of our guests to be prepared to be WOWED!”

The two-day event will feature interactive experiences, tastings, cooking demonstrations and competitions between some of the area’s most notable and award-winning chefs and restaurants. Adding to the full weekend culinary experience, the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, the official hotel sponsor of the event, is offering a very limited special room rate of just $189 for an Uncorked Getaway during the weekend of November 3-4.

Event tickets are $75 per person, per day for general admission and $100 per person, per day for VIP access. All guests will receive a limited-edition wine glass, custom tote bag and enjoy the Grand Tasting Village with unlimited tastings from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests who purchase a VIP ticket will also enjoy one-hour early admission to the Grand Tasting Village and exclusive access to the Spirits Pool Lounge at the Wyndham Grand pool deck from 1 to 5 p.m. to sample exciting and intriguing crafted libations.

Each year, a portion of proceeds from Clearwater Beach Uncorked has assisted the community through various hospitality programs and has supported the University of South Florida’s Sarasota Manatee School of Hospitality and Tourism for the past four years. Funds are used to develop academic programs, scholarships, research grants and campus infrastructure.

For more information on Clearwater Beach Uncorked and to purchase tickets, visit ClearwaterBeachUncorked.com. Follow Clearwater Beach Uncorked on FacebookTwitter or Instagram #Uncorkedweekend and #CLBU2018.

# # #

About Clearwater Beach Uncorked:

Clearwater Beach Uncorked has been dubbed the hippest, most exciting two-day food, wine, and craft beer festival on Florida’s West Coast. The event welcomes thousands of attendees to Florida’s award-winning Clearwater Beach.  In celebration of its seventh anniversary, Clearwater Beach Uncorked will play host to foodies, wine lovers and craft beer aficionados who long to wiggle their toes in the sugar white sand as they enjoy some of the area’s most delectable offerings. The 30,000 sq. ft. Grand Tasting Tent will feature a vast array of mouthwatering taste experiences for discerning palettes.

 

Sun Safety Sunblock

Epic Guide to Sun Safety

Living in Tampa, FL where going outdoors is possible all year, sun safety is often on my mind. I’ve had sun poisoning twice, and more than my fair share of sunburns. Even when I thought I was being careful! The reality is that it takes less than 20 minutes to get a sunburn. And, on particularly sunny days, reports have shown you can get one in as little as SEVEN MINUTES! Can you believe that?

Well, with that in mind, I wanted to bring my readers an epic guide to sun safety. Regardless of whether you’re in Florida or traveling to another place this summer, you must protect yourself from the sun. Below you’ll find all kinds of tips and important information to keep in mind while playing outside this summer, and all year round!

This post contains links to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

The Importance of Sun Safety

The truth about those UV Rays

Most people love to go out and have fun in the sun, but before you can do that safely, there are a few things that need to be considered. The sun, which is our source of light can be dangerous at times if the proper precautions haven’t been taken.

Since this is a known issue, a number of products that have been created to protect you from the light coming through the atmosphere are widely available at almost any store, but why do you need it? Here are some things to know about the importance of sun protection.

Ultraviolet A

The sun’s rays are great for a lot of different things like growing crops, but they also have a very destructive side. Ultraviolet A light has the ability to damage skin and cause premature aging. This damage can cause oxidative stress on skin cells, and can manifest in a variety of cellular anomalies like carcinomas.

This type of Ultraviolet light passes through glass, so you may be able to protect yourself using a UVA blocking film. When unprotected from the sun, these rays can penetrate deep into the layers of your skin.

Ultraviolet B

UVB is somewhat different than UVA in that it can’t pass through glass, but it can be responsible for some of the more serious cancers like melanoma that appear on the surface of the skin. This means that when you are out in the sun, you can be exposed to these rays during anytime of the day.

If you want to avoid exposure, it is recommended that you stay out of the direct sun light from 9:30am to 5:00pm on most days. When you are unprotected, these rays will produce either a skin color change or a burn.

Refracted Light

Even when the sun isn’t completely out, you are still at risk of exposure to the radiation coming from the sun. This is particularly true when the weather is overcast. Water particles that are free floating in the air can refract the UVA and UVB in every direction making you an even more easy target for skin issues.

Be sure to be mindful of how much time you spend in the type of weather to avoid burns. Remember that depending on the density of the cloud, a large portion of the UVB radiation will still pass through. It is also important to be extra careful if you are near water, as the light reflects and causes a bad sunburn.

SPF and Sun Safety

What You Should Know About SPF

When you’re thinking about buying sunscreen, making an informed choice isn’t as easy as simply buying the most recognizable name brand, or the one that says it’s good for babies. It’s important to know what the numbers mean, and how they can affect your skin health. If Sun Safety Sunscreenyou continue reading this article, you will find that it will share some important information on what you should know about SPF.

What It Means

The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF is a relative measurement of how much light energy it can protect against to prevent a sunburn versus plain untreated skin. A lot of consumers are under the impression that SPF is related to time in which they are exposed to sunlight, but that is a common misconception about sunscreen.

The truth is more nuanced, because there are a variety of factors and variables at work when you are spending time in the sun. These details influence the amount of time each person is able to spend in the sun, and even under a controlled circumstance, the results will vary from one situation to the next.

Variables Affecting SPF

Things like the time of day, the tone of a person’s skin, the amount of time between applications can drastically change the effectiveness of sunscreen. For example, a light skinned person will be more likely to get a sunburn during the afternoon portion of the day than a darker skinned person at the same time of day with the same exposure time.

If it were earlier in the day however, they could spend 2 – 3 times as much time in the sun. In reality, it’s best to always be sure to keep applying sunscreen if you want to stay protected, and it’s a good idea to catch some time in the shade even if you’re wearing it.

More SPF Misconceptions

Companies are well aware that most people don’t understand how SPF works, so they will make products with very high SPF, which gives most consumers the idea that they can put this sunscreen on and hang out in the sun all day. This simply isn’t true, because SPF is only a rating of how much light can hit the sun before a burn occurs. Higher SPF ratings are just saying that less UV light will get through to your skin, but some still does get through.

Sun Safety and Body Parts

Areas of Your Body That Burn the Easiest

Scientists have now discovered that some areas of the body burn very easily. The following explains some of the more vulnerable spots of the body, and what can be done to protect them.

Underarms

This is probably one of the last places on the body that you think of when you think about getting sunburned, but the armpits are a sensitive area, often not seeing light more than 5% of your day.

When you go shirtless or with very little covering, this sudden exposure can cause more damage than you would expect. It would be a good idea to limit exposure by seeking shade. This is more of a risk when you are laying out in the sun with your arms reached above your head, exposing the underarms.

Breasts

Generally speaking, women’s breasts spend a lot less time in the light that other areas. These sensitive areas can be burned very quickly depending on skin tone and frequency of exposure to the sun. Sunscreen would be an excellent way to protect the breast and make sure that they are less likely to be burned during your time in the sun.

Sun Safety EarEars

The skin of your ears is very thin and sensitive, so it should be of very little surprise that the ears can sustain such heavy damage very quickly.

In fact, this thin skin is easily penetrated by harmful UV rays that cause the blood vessels to burst. This can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.

SPF 30 sunscreen and a shaded area will go a long way to helping you to prevent such an uncomfortable burn.

If you are prone to burn, you should not only wear sunscreen on your ears, but try to wear a hat if you will be outdoors for long periods of time. This will help to protect them from being cooked in the midday sun.

Tops of Your Feet

When applying sunscreen to your legs, don’t neglect your feet. The majority of people spend most of their time in shoes and socks, which gives their feet very little time in a day to build up a stronger defense against the rays of UV that beat down onto them.

A sudden exposure to heavy amounts of UV radiation could result in a serious burn in you aren’t paying attention. Using sunscreen, and being sure to apply it at least one every 2 hours should help to keep your days returning from work from becoming a foot burning nightmare.

Backs of Knees

Even if you do remember to put sunscreen all over your legs, it’s important to note that applying it again is key to making sure that you keep yourself well covered and free from burns. The backs of your knees tend to sweat, which can leave them vulnerable to the UV light that penetrates the sensitive skin back there.

Scalp

Lastly, it’s very important to pay attention to where your hair parts. If you have a prominent part in your hair and you haven’t protected your scalp with a hat or sunscreen, you are likely to get a sunburn. Be sure to always keep you scalp protected, and you can avoid an unpleasant time the following day.

Summer Sun Safety

How to Protect Your Skin Under the Hot, Summer Sun

Wear A Big Sun Hat

Sun Safety Beach Hat

This stylish and popular beach item can help you to keep your face and head protected. When the sun makes your shadow shorter than you, the sun is at its highest point in the sky, and sunburns can result easily if you are exposed to it directly.

A sun hat can protect your skin by shading your face and head, but it won’t be able to give you much coverage other than that. This will leave your shoulders, back, stomach, and legs exposed, so it would be good to use it alongside another method of protection.

Use A Beach Umbrella

This one is simple and effective. Buying a beach umbrella is inexpensive, and can provide shade for more than one person depending on which size you choose. When you need a break from sitting in the sun, you can simply run and get under your beach umbrella.

The only drawback of the beach umbrella, is that it won’t protect you from the ultraviolet radiation being reflected by the sand around you. In order to give your skin better protection, other methods of protection are needed.

Try A Type of Sunscreen

The best way to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen. This is a specially formulated liquid that can block and protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation that penetrates the skin when you are in direct sunlight.

If you are being very active is a good idea to reapply your sunscreen so that you are making sure that it is working at its most optimal level to protect you. If you are swimming, or sweating heavily then it is recommended that you apply it to your skin every 45 minutes to an hour. Keeping up with this practice will protect your skin from cancers could develop without its use.

Water Sun Safety

Protecting Your Skin in the Water

Sun Safety Pool

Everyone loves to get into cool water when the weather begins to heat up. Every year people rush to their favorite water spots to swim, hang out with family and bask in the sun, but there are additional things you should keep in mind if you’ll be in the water while trying to protect yourself from the sun.

Also check out my post that is a fabulous pick me up for all ladies!

Chlorine Kills Sunscreen

Have you ever noticed that your time in the pool has been cut short by the beginnings of a burn even though you were wearing sunscreen? If you haven’t you’ve been very fortunate, because studies have shown that chlorine in pools has the ability to lessen the effectiveness of most sunscreen. This means that using it is practically useless in that sort of environment and other solutions are needed.

Use Waterproof Sunscreen

Waterproof sunscreen can be a good option for people looking to spend time in the water but it’s important to note that even a really high SPF sunscreen will lose its effectiveness in an hour or two of play. It is strongly recommended that you apply fresh sunscreen to any areas of the skin that are exposed directly to light.

SPF is a rating of how much UV light gets through to your skin and has nothing to do with how long it will be effective. That being said, there are no sunscreens that are 100% effective at blocking out radiation, so it’s important to take breaks from sitting in direct sunlight.

Shading

Even if you are wearing sunscreen and taking the time to apply sunscreen frequently, there’s no guarantee that you can avoid all of the harmful rays of UV light that can penetrate and damage your skin. If you combine the use of sunscreen with sitting under shade, you are more likely to leave the scene without a sunburn.

You can even wear your own shade in the form of a sun hat to help protect your face, and shoulders. These areas are highly vulnerable to the sun and will likely burn before a lot of other areas of the body. If you think ahead and plan for your fun times in the water and sun, you can save yourself the pain of a bad sunburn.

If you are going to spend a lot of time in the water, just be sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours.

Sun Safety – Naturally Protecting Yourself

Did you know that you can protect your skin with natural methods outside of over the counter solutions for sun protection? Fortunately, information has become available to those who want to seek more natural means due to preference or allergy.

These natural methods are easy, inexpensive and can help you to take a healthier approach to your efforts to keep your skin healthy and free of chemicals.

Hang Out in the Shade

This of course is the easier and least expensive to a certain extent. Simply seek cover and shade. You will be able to avoid a lot of the rays that cause damage but beware of reflected light that is more difficult to detect.

Eat Food High in Vitamin D

When you spend time in the sun, your body produces a vitamin that gives your skin a more resilient quality in the form of vitamin D. Studies have shown that consuming more vitamin D rich foods can go a long way in the fight against skin damage by bolstering your skin’s natural defenses from UV radiation.

Foods that are fortified can be a great option for this, but many foods like fatty fish, liver, cheese and eggs. Another positive is that if you do end up with a sunburn, you are more likely to heal in a shorter period of time than if you had less vitamin D.

Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

In ancient time, some cultures would spread coconut oil on the skin before long periods of spending time in the sun or other outside activities. Studies have shown that while the oil itself isn’t as effective as a sunblock, it adds a large portion of the vitamins and minerals that are needed to protect the skin from damage resulting in prolonged exposure to UV radiation.

Eat Heavy Fats

After numerous studies, science has discovered that eating a lot of saturated fats can also have a profound effect on your skin’s ability to protect itself from UV radiation. Many of these fats can be derived from plant means, so that won’t exclude anyone who doesn’t eat meat.

Eat More Tomatoes

The naturally occurring chemical Lycopene, is also associated with a stronger skin defense against UV light. If you were to increase your intake of tomatoes, you would get a heavier dose of lycopene. While all of these methods work, it’s more likely that a combination of them will get you better results.

Sun Safety for Babies

Sun Safety BabiesPlaying in the sun is essential for childhood development, but the dangers of sun burns and other sun-related illnesses can be a cause for worry in a lot of families. Small children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and other skin issues.

Even though people want to protect their children from harm, well-meaning parents still forget that their children have not yet gained a substantial amount of physical defense against the environment around them.

Children Under 7 Months

If you’re out at the beach, the chances are that you will see some people out there with their 2 – 3-month-old babies. It’s fairly common, and yet the truth is that these people don’t know that the sun can be extremely harmful to children of that age group. In fact, it really isn’t a good idea to take any children under 7 months to spend time in the sun at all.

They are far too undeveloped, and even the sunscreen that is marketed as child safe can be harmful to very young and sensitive skin. The best thing to do, is to wait until they are closer to a year old before you decide to spend extended time outside in direct sunlight. It is also important to remember that light refracts, and reflects off multiple surfaces including sand, so there isn’t really any safe way to have your baby out in those environments.

Children Over a Year

Once your child has reached an age where they have built up some natural defense against light exposure, it’s time to start considering how they will be protected. It would be advisable to limit their time spent in direct sunlight by using a combination of methods. You can buy a large beach umbrella and use sunscreen to help your child to take breaks from sun exposure. When they are under the shade, you can apply a fresh coating of sunscreen to exposed areas.

Considerations

It’s important to remember that SPF is simply a measurement of how much UV radiation is being blocked, which means that your child won’t be protected absolutely. Applying new sunscreen should be done at least once every 2 hours, but you might want to do it once every hour and 30 minutes.

If they are getting in the water, the applications need to be more frequent. A recommended interval would be an hour or less.

Sun Safety for the Inevitable Sunburn

How to Treat a Sunburn Naturally

Try as you may to protect yourself, you still might end up with a sunburn. If this does happen to you, you’ll need some form of treatment to lessen the symptoms and manage the pain. If you don’t want to use a bunch of chemicals, what are your options?

Get Hydrated

When you get more hydrated, it will help you to fight off the damage that you get from a sunburn. Directly following your exposure to the sun, go drink some water. A more hydrated body will distribute fluids to the areas that need hydration, and your body can more easily begin the process of healing that is going to follow. It also helps if you go ahead and run some of the cool water over your burned area. This will stop the heat from continuing to cook the layers of skin where the heat is trapped.

Baking Soda Paste

A baking soda paste can help you to heal your burn more quickly. All you have to do is mix some warm water into a cup with a hefty portion of baking soda so that is has a consistency much like a paste. Once is soft enough to rub onto your burn, gently spread the baking soda paste over the burned area of skin. This will help you to alleviate some pain, and allow the body to heal a little more quickly.

Organic Aloe Gel

Sun Safety AloeIf you can, pick up some organic aloe gel. This marvelous gel will help to both sooth and heal your skin. It is great for bringing down the inflammation that is caused by burns and will put your skin on the right path to healing.

Oatmeal Bath

With this remedy, all you have to do is put some uncooked oatmeal in the bath. If you don’t want the oatmeal freely floating around in the water then you can place the oatmeal into a sock to make it like a large teabag, but you don’t want the water to be too warm or too cold.

It should be water that is about temperature of a bath that has gone cold. One the oatmeal has soaked for about 30 minutes, get into the water.

When to See a Doctor For a Sunburn

Sun Safety Sunblock

For most people, a sunburn is a minor inconvenience that they will treat with remedies found in the home that are kept in a medicine cabinet, or the refrigerator. A good amount of the time, it’s a simple case of resting indoors and rubbing on some aloe, but how do you know when you should seek actual medical attention? Skin burns can be a serious issue, because the sensitive tissues can become inflamed and infected when they are damaged in this way.

When It’s Not Too Bad

Sunburns are super common, so there are a lot of ways that you can treat these burns. The most notable way that you can treat burns is with aloe vera which helps the healing process. You don’t want to apply ice to a burn, which can irritate a fresh burn and make the healing process a more painful and annoying experience.

Instead simply run cool water over the burn to reduce the temperature and stop the damage from progressing any further. You can also take aspirin or any other acetaminophen product to reduce pain.

When You Should Keep Watch

The normal redness that forms in the sunburned area can be expected, but when any more than that can be an indication that you have received a severe burn that has penetrated into the deeper levels of your skin. One major sign of this is when you develop blisters in the burnt area. As soon as you see this symptom.

It is time to get out of the sun and get to treating the area. It would also be a good idea to begin hydration to counteract the skin damage. It may take a full day to see how much damage has been done, so it will warrant close monitoring.

When You Should See a Doctor

When you have experienced not only the redness, but also blisters it can be cause for concern, but anything past those symptoms should move you to seek medical help immediately with urgency. Some of the other factors that can occur could be vomiting, nausea, or disorientation of any kind.

Ignoring these symptoms can be very dangerous and can ever be signs of other more serious conditions like sunstroke. Being aware and knowing what to look for can help you to save a life.

If you have an infant or young child with a burn of any degree, you should bring them to a doctor for proper treatment.

Additional Posts You May Enjoy:

Destroying Your Skin

J. Joseph Salon – Grand Opening Details and More

I partnered with J. Joseph Salon to write this post and give them love on social media in exchange for a hair makeover. Though the hair makeover was free, it did not impact my write up. All opinions are my own.

Have you heard?!? J. Joseph Salon is opening its third location, this one in Citrus Park. Come to their grand opening on 6/20/18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Address is 8616 Citrus Park Drive

Enjoy complimentary drinks, giveaways, raffles for Redken and other hair products, instant savings on a future appointment, plus enter to win a hair makeover valued at $300.

Enter to win HERE: https://www.jjosephsalon.com/citruspark/
Please type “Ashley Grant” into the field that says “How did you hear about us?”

Can’t make it to the grand opening? The salon is scheduling hair appointments for new guests. Call (813) 235-6848 to schedule your appointment.

I’m getting my hair cut there Saturday 6/16/18! I’ll be back to share before and after images. So stay tuned for the update!

About J. Joseph Salon

J. Joseph Salon – Who they are:

J. Joseph Salon is a group of upscale hair salons located in Pasco and Hillsborough County, Florida. They offer European decor, creative roots, and an ambiance of hospitality and elegance.

When you arrive you’ll be met with complimentary beverages and a chic environment, as they believe in catering to their clientele, and making them feel like the VIPs they are.

J. Joseph Salon offers top tier products such as Redken and Pureology hair care, coloring and styling products. They also feature expertly trained and well-versed stylists that  will assist you in creating and managing your look.

They believe consistency is the key to beauty, and as a result they will make professional recommendations best suited for the integrity of your hair.

Along with Redken and Pureology, J. Joseph also uses Pravana and Joico to maintain longevity between scheduled appointments. Olaplex and Heatcure are available for in-salon and take-home hair treatments.

Their Specialty Treatments Include:

  • GKhair Juvexin Keratin Treatments at both Pasco County locations.
  • DreamCatchers and Great Lengths Hair Extensions are available upon request/consultation by certified stylists.
  • Brow and facial waxing
  • Makeup applications with jane iredale skin care cosmetics.
  • Classic OPI or shellac manicure (Land O’ Lakes only)

The Mission of J. Joseph (directly from their site):

“J. Joseph Salon believes in commitment and creativity. Not only do we strive to give each guest our undivided attention but also encouragement and support as they venture into new looks, styles and color. Your satisfaction is our number one priority and we want our professional skill set to meet the needs and desires of your heart. We understand that beauty is personal; we understand that beauty is intimate and we thank you, for your trust.”

Have a place or product you want me to review? 
Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly 😉

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Also check out my review of my day at Grand Beauty Spa in Tampa

The Straz Was Alive with The Sound of Music

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to "The Sound of Music". This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria Rainer and the von Trapp children. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Have you seen the Sound of Music Musical? I had the amazing opportunity last night to watch it at Straz Center. It did not disappoint!

The Sound of MusicWhat Straz Said About it

The hills are alive! The brand new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC is returning to Tampa. The beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as a live television production when The Sound of Music Live! aired on NBC in December 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50TH anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

The Sound of Music – My Review (Spoilers ahead!)

Even though I’ve never seen the movie (Gasp! I know!), I knew almost all the songs from my days in chorus, and therefore enjoyed every bit of it that much more. I even sang one of the songs in my second grade talent show! I’ll give you a hint as to which one:

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings….

Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria Rainer. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The sets were not extravagant, but in truth they didn’t need to be. The wow factor truly was within the music itself. The way that the cast members were able to hit those high notes, and even the low ones, they gripped you, and entertained you, and simply left you wanting more. The STAGE was alive with the Sound of Music!!!

Personally for me, I couldn’t keep myself from singing along to some. And I was amused by how many others in the crowd suffered the same issue. LoL

The story itself began innocently enough. A tale of a girl, Maria, trying to find her way, and a widowed man, Captain von Trapp, with several children looking for a new mother to raise them. He’s courting a pretentious gal that only cares about money, and is willing to sell her soul to keep her life of luxury.

Maria comes to be the governess caring for the von Trapp children, and she is contemplating becoming a nun. She can’t help but sing every chance see gets. Music has been with her all her life, and she finds that it is music that helps her connect with the children, and helps her to feel alive.

Then, the Captain and Maria find love in the most unexpected place – with each other. All the while throughout the show we have the background story of the Nazis trying to take over Austria. The story culminates with the decision the von Trapp family must make to avoid living under Nazi rule.

Bottom line – I say go watch this show!

Mike McLean as Captain von Trapp and Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria. Photo by Matthew Murphy

I’m so glad I attended the show. Despite the sadness of a family leaving their possessions and everything they know behind to ensure their freedom, it was ultimately a feel good tale of people finding love, and then doing all they must to protect those they care most about.

I would HIGHLY recommend this show to everyone.  It’s family-friendly, and a wonderful production. Now, I’m off to find a copy of the movie! 

The Sound of Music is playing at The Straz Center now through June 10, 2018. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!

Check out two more of my recent posts:

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival Review and Why VIP is the ONLY Way to Party

 

Thanks to BigCityEvents FL I was given two sponsor tickets to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival in exchange for this review and social media love. Though my tickets were free, this has not impacted this review. All opinions below are my own.


VIP is the ONLY Way to Party at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

Once you’ve been VIP, it’s hard to ever imagine general admission ever again. You see, when VIP tickets are done right you typically receive better drinks, more drinks, better seating options, and shorter lines for bathrooms and beverages for one all-inclusive price.

All this and more is exactly what I experienced during my day at the festival. Not only was there a separate entrance allowing my date and I to get in faster, we had:

– comfy couches to lounge on
– a large tent to protect from the elements (hugely beneficial due to the fact the day and time I was there it is was raining buckets!)
– short lines at the bar with premium liquor for our margaritas
– swag to take home including a shirt and margarita shaker (pictured above)
– our own set of restrooms (so pretty much no lines when we had to go)
– plenty of water to drink between cocktails to stay hydrated and
– all the margaritas we could have ever wanted to enjoy

Now. I fully understand why people debate about the cost of VIP, but here’s the thing – the time savings and comfort are HUGE factors that make it worth the added cost to me. I’m the type of person who gets frustrated waiting in a long line, and I want somewhere to sit after I have my drink in hand. This isn’t as easy to achieve in general admission at ANY festival in Tampa, or probably any event anywhere.

And when you consider the fact that the drinks are going to be $6-$7 a piece and require standing in what will likely be a long line each time you want another you’re wasting valuable festival resources. Besides, if I’m being a little TMI in the honesty department….for me, the bathroom line alone makes VIP worth every additional penny!!!

Weather be Damned in VIP

Okay, so let’s talk about the elephant in in the room. There was a pesky rainstorm raining on our margaritas parade Saturday. Welp, that didn’t bother me much because we had a large tent protecting us in VIP.

In fact, I loved being in the VIP tent while the rain was coming down because it was soothing and comfy. I know some people were bothered by the weather, but I rather liked it. Am I the only one who enjoys sitting outside with a covered lounge area when it’s raining? Leave me a comment and tell me if you like this too!

Sure, walking to and from the festival was a little wet, and walking to and from the bathrooms was also a little wet. But, I wore clothes that weren’t going to melt from the weather, brought ponchos and an umbrella, and was just fine with how the day turned out. Had I been in general admission, sure I might be singing a different tune. BUT, this just speaks even more to why I HIGHLY recommend VIP over general admission to any and all events when possible. Perhaps this makes me sound snobby, but according to my money mentor it actually means I just know what I want, and prefer to go for it. Go big or go home!

On another note…You won’t catch me complaining about the cancellation Sunday because
#1 that wasn’t their call. It was the city’s decision
#2 BigCityEvents has been nothing but professional in my opinion in terms of how they about are handling refunds.

I feel awful BigCityEvents had to cancel Sunday, and I’m personally sending the employees/staff and vendors all the positive vibes!!! I’m very anxious for their next event, and if I do get the chance to attend, I hope it’s VIP again!

All in all, I had a wonderful day at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival. Did I get a little damp? Yep! Did I have a fabulous time while I was there anyway? You bet! Remember folks- life is 10% what happens, and 90% how you react to it. So, choose to make every day as amazing as humanly possible. Thanks for reading! Until next time…may your days be filled with joy, and your hearts filled with love!

Sugar Butter and Flour Makes for a Sweet Musical in Waitress

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to "Waitress The Musical". This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
Desi Oakley and Bryan Fenkart in the National Tour of WAITRESS – Photo Credit Joan Marcus
Desi Oakley (Jenna) and Bryan Fenkart (Dr. Pomatter) in the National Tour of Waitress. Photo credit – Joan Marcus

A couple of nights ago I watched a show about

  • passion
  • dreams
  • love
  • sex
  • betrayal
  • pursuing happiness
  • sadness
  • heartbreak
  • defeat
  • excitement, and
  • desire.

In other words, I feel like I watched a show about life. Oh yeah, and there were pies. Of course, by now you probably know I’m talking about Waitress the Musical. What gave it away? The post title or the pies comment? (I crack myself up) 

This production gave me a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed. I cried. I got mad. I got excited. I had a whole host of emotions y’all –  basically I experienced most if not all of the emotions one has in life.

Want to know more about my feelings towards the show overall? Keep reading…

Desi Oakley in Waitress
Desi Oakley as Jenna in the National Tour of Waitress. Photo credit – Joan Marcus

Waitress The MusicalWhat Straz Said About it (spoilers ahead)

Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by five-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland). “It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune.

Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

“WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly and “a monumental contribution to Broadway!” according to Marie Claire. Don’t miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood and the magic of a well-made pie.

Waitress The Musical – My Review (again spoilers ahead! Sorry not sorry)

When the show opened, I didn’t fully know what to expect. The only thing I did know is that I was in for a romantic comedy based on a book that turned into a movie, that then turned into a musical, with great music and a happy ending.

At least, that’s was what I heard. And, Waitress totally served up all of that and more.

Though the plot wasn’t exactly surprising, and the outcome wasn’t shocking either, it was it’s simplicity that made it so easy to follow. But, what made it exceptionally sweet was the characters, the dialogue and that music!!!

By intermission I knew that I had to have the soundtrack. Oh, and that I couldn’t wait to find out the conclusion of the show. Hurry up and get to the happy ending already!!!

From left: Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of Waitress. Credit Joan Marcus
From left: Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of Waitress. Photo credit – Joan Marcus

One of my favorite things about the musical over all, was that I got to enjoy it with my mother by my side. She and I have been through a lot over the years, and many of the elements of the plot hit a little too close to home for us.

Watching everything work out in the end was very inspirational for us. I think that’s what makes this production such a feel-good show. It’s a depiction of a life completely turned upside down, with twists and turns, that ends up being okay.

There were several songs in the show I just loved, but one particular song that got me thinking was I Didn’t Plan It. Becky sings it to Jenna, and the following lines in it really struck me:

“I needed saving
And a good mistake needed making
Maybe you need the same thing

Something to feel
To race through your blood
And remind you you’re here
To open your eyes and look around
And see the sky when you’re underground

I didn’t plan it
But that’s life
And I’m finally feeling alive”

I’ve been pondering those lyrics today, and I feel it speaks to why people do things they know they might later regret. Whether it’s risking a business move, getting up the courage to ask for a divorce, quitting a job, or having an affair- we all just want to feel alive.

Life may not always go as planned, or even be planned out at all, but really living life (mistakes and all) is better than just letting it pass us by.

We all have secrets, and many of us do dumb or silly things, but it’s all part of life. In many cases, we didn’t plan it, but sometimes we have to make mistakes to save ourselves.

Not to get too deep here, but I think the biggest mistakes are the ones we make but don’t learn anything from. For me, I often have to do something all the wrong ways to learn how to do it right.

Can you relate? I’ll bet you can, at least on some level. Perhaps that’s why I ultimately loved the show. Jenna does all the wrong things to finally figure out how to do life right – for her.

Bottom line – I say go watch this show!

Desi Oakley, Charity Angel Dawson and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of WAITRESS – Photo Credit Joan Marcus
Desi Oakley, Charity Angel Dawson and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of Waitress. Photo credit – Joan Marcus

I highly recommend you buy tickets to the show while it’s playing at the Straz Center here in Tampa! You won’t be disappointed. And, you probably won’t be able to get the soundtrack out of your head either. 

Cue the SUGAR – BUTTER – FLOUR melody that I can’t quite shake. 

Waitress The Musical is playing at The Straz Center now through April 29, 2018. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!

And, fair warning – Waitress The Musical contains some adult language, and mature situations.

I’m personally gonna be watching the movie this weekend, and I’ve got to get that soundtrack too! Click the images to grab your own copy of each. And yes, these are affiliate links so that I can grab some pie to go with my watching experience!

waitress movie image

Waitress - Original Broadway Cast Recording

 

Check out two more of my recent posts:

8 Questions with Amanda Barker of Little Black Dress The Musical

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received two complimentary tickets in exchange for this preview post and social media love to "Little Black Dress The Musical". This has not impacted my post. All opinions below are my own.
Amanda Barker – photo by Dahlia Katz

When Straz Center reached out to me with the opportunity to interview Amanda Barker, I jumped at the chance! Amanda is not only a cast member in the upcoming Little Black Dress The Musical, she also is co-writer of the show!

I asked some of my pals and gals on Facebook what they would ask her  if given the chance, and I picked the best 8. Check out Amanda’s awesome answers to my questions below!

8 Questions with Amanda Barker of Little Black Dress

1. When you’re on stage or even just preparing to go on stage – Do you do your work for the love of the audience or for the love of the craft? Which is more important to you?

Oh gosh – why choose?! It’s the love of the craft that brings you to the stage, but I think it’s the audience that keeps you there. I have been lucky enough to also do film and TV, but I am like so many actors in that I started on stage and I get back on it whenever my schedule allows.

Don’t get me wrong – being on set can be glorious as it is all about the craft and you learn to create a relationship with a camera and not to expect an audience’s instant gratification. That said, what’s wonderful about Little Black Dress is that we have written in the audience’s participation! Allowing a direct address to audience is my favourite kind of theatre, but it’s extraordinarily rare, especially in a musical. That’s why creating this show and performing in it has been so exciting.

2. We know you enjoy making people laugh, but what makes you laugh?

My husband Marco makes me laugh every single day. He can be mostly asleep and still hilarious. The other day in bed he was drifting off and he said, “I love you.” When I told him that I loved him too, he answered, “I was talking to myself.” That’s a funny guy. Or a mean one. It’ll be 8 years next month and I still haven’t decided.

3. Let’s say you’re having an off day – it happens! What do you do to get stage ready and in a humorous place mentally?

This is where the audience comes in. I peek and look at them and try to see what their vibe is; their energy. I put myself in their shoes. What was their day like? What do they need? Performing is a service, and you need to connect to those you are serving to see what they need in each moment – especially with a show like this. You learn as a performer to do your best to take yourself out of the equation. It’s not about you. It’s about them. That can be very freeing if you’ve had a rotten day.

4. Do you ever go off script based on the audience you’re performing for?

For this show? Every. Damn. Day. We wrote the show for those types of personalized/improvised bits to land. We want it tailored for the crowd it is in front of. This show is special. It combines the cast’s talents for both improv and scripted performance. I do love a scripted show, and in my career, I get to do that plenty.

The words are the envelope that you can play within but you must stick to what is inside that envelope. THIS show is special though, and that’s what makes it so unique and exciting for an audience.

5. What’s the perfect Little Black Dress accessory?

One word – BLING! Any color, any variety. I have never met an accessory I didn’t love and I love that an LBD means I can wear my turquoise polka dotted shoes or bright red necklace and it all pairs seamlessly.

6. What drink pairs best with a Little Black Dress?

Little Black Dress wine of course! (Yes, they are a sponsor 😉 ) What’s great about an LBD is that you can keep stains to a minimum so you can go with a bright fruity cocktail, dark beer or red wine and no matter how messy you get, you are likely safe. If I drink it, I WILL spill it, and I love how my Little Black Dress doesn’t get ruined.

7. Would men enjoy watching Little Black Dress with their girlfriends/spouses? Or is it better for a girl’s night out?

Absolutely! It can be a great date night or a girls’ night out. It’s a story about friendship and how to deal with life’s milestones – from an awkward first kiss to keeping your marriage spicy, or the harsh reality of birthing a baby – those things are definitely universal.

One of the most important things to us was that it relates to all – and having Christopher Bond (Evil Dead the Musical) on the creative team (in addition to myself, Danielle Trzcinski and Natalie Tennebaum) means that there are plenty of jokes for guys too.

Above all else, I’m very proud that it is female material that doesn’t handle anything with kid gloves – women can be messy, dirty, complicated and hilarious. That is what was important to me.

8. Finally, what are your plans post Little Black Dress? Any other parodies or musicals brewing behind the scenes?

I actually have co-authored another show about women and clothes called Clotheswap where the audience gets to bring their bags of old duds to the theatre and those pieces are used on stage in both narrative and improvisation (and they get to participate in the clothesswap after)! That script has received two awards and will be happening in Toronto later this year.

I am very interested in the stories of women and clothes, clearly! Beyond that, I am in the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale which comes out next month, and my online series A Gay Victorian Affair will be releasing its next three episodes in May. That one falls under parody as it is a dirty version of Downton Abbey.

I am also on-air most mornings with Sirius XM’s Canada Laughs channel (I am both Canadian and American) so that fun will continue and I have two projects for TV in pre-production. I love what I do and the only thing that limits me are the hours in a day!

Little Black Dress The Musical – What You Need to Know

Little Black Dress The Musical is playing at The Straz Center now through April 27 and April 28, 2018. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE! I’m going to the show on Saturday. Buy some tickets, and come join me. It’s going to be a great night out!!!

Here’s the trailer for the show:

 

 

Also… I’ve got some other deets you may want to know:

From the ladies behind Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, this hilarious ladies-night-out musical follows BFFs Dee and Mandy as they don their LBDs to chronicle life’s major events – birth, death, dating, sex, love, friendship … and male strippers. With improv, audience participation, fun music and a triple warning – strong language, fog and haze, and one very sexy man – Little Black Dress is a perfect fit for any woman.

And finally, because I love fun photos, here’s the press pics that show you we HAVE to go see this musical ASAP! 

Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 1 – Photo by Dahlia Katz
Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 2 – Photo by Dahlia Katz
Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 3 – Photo by Dahlia Katz

 

 

Brews with Attitude – April 3, 2018 in Tampa

 

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Pepin Distributing, I received two complimentary tickets to Brews with Attitude in exchange for this preview post and social media love. All opinions are my own.

I jumped at the chance to attend Brews with Attitude for three simple reasons:

  1. My date loves her some beer, and her birthday is coming and this is a perfect event for celebrating both.
  2. It’s at one of my FAVE venues in Tampa Bay – TPepin’s Hospitality Centre
  3. Who doesn’t love a fun night out where you get to try multiple brands in one spot, for one cost?

What is Brews with Attitude?

The Reader’s Digest version? It’s a beer fest that will offer

  • Over 200 Beers and Ciders to sample from
  • Tampa’s favorite Food Trucks
  • Live Entertainment by Dave Valliere Group
  • One-off craft beer releases
  • Variety of hand rolled cigars
  • and more…

This year’s is the eight annual event, and they promise to be bigger and better than ever before.

Here’s a video from last year’s event to give you an idea of what to expect:

When is the Event?

Tuesday, April 3rd from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where is the Event?

TPepin’s Hospitality Centre located at:

4121 N. 50th Street,
Tampa, Florida 33610

What About Tickets?

According to their website, tickets are $40, and you can snag them right here!

If they still have any available on the day of the event, tickets can also be purchased for cash or credit at the door.

Join me at this fun-filled, beer enthusiasts paradise!!!

Admission Includes: Sampling of over 200 beers with the official Brews With Attitude tasting cup.

There will also be food, non-alcoholic beverages and cigars available for purchase.

The venue asks that you please bring your printed out ticket as there will not be a list for admission!!

Who’s Gonna Be There?

The cool kids (duh!), and these breweries:

10 Bbl
3 Daughters
Ace Cider
Angry Chair
Barrel of Monks
Big Strom
Big Top
Blue Point
Bold City
Boulevard
Coppertail
Due South
Duvel
Elysian
Escape
Florida Ave
Founders
Funky Buddha
Golden Road
Goose Island
Green Bench
Hidden Springs
Highland
Innis & Gunn
Islamorada
Karbach
Kona
Mad Beach
Magic Hat
Motorworks
Narragansett
Ommegang
Ommission
Pair O Dice
Proof
Rapp
Redbridge
Rekorderlig
Sea Dog
Shipyard
Silver King
Six Ten
Sonoma Cider
Southern Tier
Spiked Seltzer
St. Somewhere
Stiegl
Swamp Head
Sweetwater
Tampa Bay Brewing
Uinta
Victory
Wine Stream
Woodchuck
Wynwood

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival Concert Lineup 2018

Have you heard? Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival is coming back to Tampa Bay Saturdays and Sundays, March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park.

And, if the free with admission news isn’t enough to get you excited about attending,  each evening of the festival features a concert from some of the hottest names in the music industry.

Busch Gardens 2018 Food & Wine Festival Concert Lineup

Concert Headliners Include The Fray, Flo Rida, Cole Swindell, Boyz II Men, Olga Tañón, TLC, Hank Williams Jr., Kaleo and More!

More info about the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival:

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay‘s most delicious event returns this March with tastes for every palate at the fourth annual Food & Wine Festival.

Guests can sample delectable cuisines paired with a selection of 65+ wines, 50+ craft brews and specialty cocktails, while enjoying some of the biggest names in entertainment.

The Food & Wine Festival runs Saturdays and Sundays, March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park.

The Festival features all-new twists on cuisine at 13 culinary cabins, along with favorites like mango shrimp ceviche and beef brisket on a spiced corn waffle.

Experience bold new eats at the Savory Tavern with fried frog legs with bacon corn fritters, or indulge in flavorful treats at Artisan Eats with beloved dish duck fat truffle fries and then spice it up with tostones rellenos de pollo at Comfort Kitchen.

Opt for lobster tart with leeks and Swiss cheese or mushroom vol-au-vent at the Light Fare Canteen, or relish in the robust flavors at Chef’s Plantation with salmon cake with lemon aioli, Korean-style ribs and all-new short rib and brie grilled cheese.

Guests can elevate the Food and Wine Festival experience even more by sipping a carefully curated selection of fine bourbons and new tequila tastings.

Concert headliners include:

Saturday, March 3: Edwin McCain & Sister Hazel
Sunday, March 4: Grupo Niche
Saturday, March 10: The Fray
Sunday, March 11: Southern Uprising Tour: A Southern Rock Revival with Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws
Saturday, March 17: Olga Tañón
Sunday, March 18: Goo Goo Dolls
Saturday, March 24: Better Than Ezra & Tonic
Sunday, March 25: Michael Bolton
Saturday, March 31: Boyz II Men
Sunday, April 1: Natalie Grant
Saturday, April 7: Hank Williams, Jr.
Sunday, April 8: TLC
Saturday, April 14: Bret Michaels
Sunday, April 15: Coming Soon!
Saturday, April 21: The All-American Rejects
Sunday, April 22: Cole Swindell
Saturday, April 28: Flo Rida
Sunday, April 29: Kaleo & Bleachers

Guests can choose from two exclusive VIP concert upgrades at the Festival which include priority seating and a 5-item sampler lanyard for even more access to great times and great tastes.

Additionally, guests can purchase of 5, 10 and 12-item sampler lanyards to tailor the experience to any taste bud. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an additional fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consumer alcoholic beverages.

BEST VALUES FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS:

  • For a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card FREE! Experience both parks through 2018 for the price of one.

 

  • For those wishing for more VIP offerings, the Annual Pass includes unlimited admission for 12 months, free parking, no blockout dates, in-park discounts and other benefits, valued at more than $350. With EZpay, Annual Passes start at just $14 per month for one park, and $16 per month for both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island.

Be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by joining the conversation using #corksandcoasters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Sister Hazel, Edwin McCain and Grupo Niche to Kickoff the Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens

This weekend the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival begins and I just learned some more exciting news about their kickoff weekend! Check out the notice they just sent me below the image!

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2018) – Chart-topping artists Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain, and Latin sensation Grupo Niche will take the stage this weekend at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s fourth annual Food & Wine Festival.

The festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays March 3 through April 29. Concerts are included with any Pass, Fun Card or daily admission.

Sister Hazel – Saturday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m., Gwazi Park

Originally from the sunshine state, Sister Hazel has been considered “one of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years.” The five gifted and seasonal musicians exude natural talent and charisma with their chart-topping hits “All for You” and “Lighter in the Dark” earning them multiple spots on Billboard charts. Along with being outstanding musicians, the band hosts annual philanthropic events like “Hazelnut Hang” and gives back with Lyrics for Life benefiting cancer research and patient-care. Don’t miss out on celebrating with Sister Hazel here at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Edwin McCain– Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m., Gwazi Park

Proclaimed the “great American romantic” by the New York Times, Edwin McCain has swept the nation with over 20 years of pop music and endless touring. His love ballads and genuine personality makes concerts feel more like nonstop parties. With classic hits like “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More”, McCain has proved time and time again that he is truly a one-of-a-kind performer.

Grupo Niche – Sunday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m., Gwazi Park

Join us as we welcome the salsa sensation, Group Niche, to this year’s Food and Wine Festival! Residing in eccentric country of Colombia, this group has taken Latin America by storm with its Latin flares and outstanding performances.

SPECIAL PACKAGES:

  • Food, Wine & Brew Sampler – Guests with exclusive interests in culinary offerings can purchase a Food & Wine sampler that includes any samples of choice throughout the Festival. Samplers are available in quantities of five, eight or twelve and start at $29.99. New this year, a Pass Member exclusive 15-item Sampler is available for the same price as a 12-item Sampler.https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/food-and-wine-festival/upgrades/sampler-lanyard/

  • Wine, Bourbon and Tequila by the Bottle – Guests can take home a part of the Food & Wine Festival with wine, bourbon and tequila available for purchase by the bottle at the Xcursions gift shop.

BEST VALUES FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS:

  •  For a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card FREE! Experience both parks through 2018 for the price of one.

  • For those wishing for more VIP offerings, the Annual Pass includes unlimited admission for 12 months, free parking, no blockout dates, in-park discounts and other benefits, valued at more than $350. With EZpay, Annual Passes start at just $14 per month for one park, and $16 per month for both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island

The Festival features all-new twists on cuisine at 13 culinary cabins, along with favorites like mango shrimp ceviche and beef brisket on a spiced corn waffle. Experience bold new eats at the Savory Tavern with fried frog legs with bacon corn fritters, or indulge in flavorful treats at Artisan Eats with beloved dish duck fat truffle fries and then spice it up with tostones rellenos de pollo at Comfort Kitchen.  Opt for lobster tart with leeks and Swiss cheese or mushroom vol-au-vent at the Light Fare Canteen, or relish in the robust flavors at Chef’s Plantation with salmon cake with lemon aioli, Korean-style ribs and all-new short rib and brie grilled cheese.  Guests can elevate the Food and Wine Festival experience even more by sipping a carefully curated selection of fine bourbons and new tequila tastings.

The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Pass, Fun Card or daily admission. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

Be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at BuschGardens.com/tampa/blog, or “Like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page, and follow @buschgardens on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat.

###

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. Visit AdventureIsland.com or Busch Gardens.com.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company. Visit www.seaworldentertainment.com for more.