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Your weekend arts roundup: Boats on the bay, geckos in Gulfport

Bill DeYoung



Costumes are encouraged at Saturday's 20th annual Gulfport Gecko Fest. Photo: Gulfport Merchants Chamber.

Hello, Labor Day.

The biggest event in the Tampa Bay area this weekend has to be the P1 powerboat Grand Prix, a series of races between some very, very fast vessels – and a number of high-powered jet-skis – around the Vinoy Basin and St. Pete Pier. Not really arts but hey, big is big, right?

It takes place Saturday and Sunday – the full schedule is here – although there’s a celebratory bash, with live music, planned for Friday evening in Vinoy Park.

Did we mention everything is free?

Here’s our story from earlier this week about the racing event.

Reptilian Floridians

Gulfport’s annual Gecko Fest, which has absolutely zero to do with that insurance-selling green lizard with the British accent, takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s basically the city’s end-of-summer street carnival, with a parade at dusk, a costume contest, the crowing of the Gecko Queen, live music and other entertainment on several outdoor stages, weird stuff (including an axe-throwing booth), food, libations and (once the sun goes down) fireworks. Deets here.

Lest we forget. Gulfport also celebrates its prolific artist community once a month with the First Friday ArtWalk. It’s a curated show of fine art, no crafts or ephemera, and it’s (wouldn’t you just know it) mighty fine. That’s happening Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.


The Off-Central Players begin their second weekend of the dark comedy Rasheeda Speaking Friday, at the space called Studio Grand Central. Kym Walsh and Debbie Yones play sparring co-workers in director Ward Smith’s production. Tickets and info here.

In Tampa, Lab Theatre Company, which presents new, original works – has just premiered the one-woman drama Wednesday’s Child. We’ll talk with playwright Wendy Graf, and actor Tiffany Faykus, Friday in these pages.

Also on that side of the bay, the jubilant Shout! The Mod Musical is onstage this weekend at the Jaeb Theater, inside the David A. Straz Center compound. Tickets for the jukebox musical, celebrating female pop singers of the 1960s, are here.

The other stuff

Fairgrounds, an immersive, walk-through art and technology experience like nothing St. Pete has never experienced, is in its opening weekend. We wrote about it here.

The undimmable ‘90s California pop/punk band Sugar Ray has a show tonight (Thursday, Sept. 2) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. Get ‘em here, kids.

Country singer Thomas Rhett (“Die a Happy Man,” “What’s Your Country Song”) performs Saturday at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre. Tickets.

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