MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

Archive for the ‘Events’

Gasparilla Events in Tampa

January 23, 2015 By: Laura Category: Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Courtesy of Pirates of Gasparilla

Gasparilla is the premier event in Tampa! There are so many fun Gasparilla events in Tampa that I wanted to highlight them in one post that you could use as a quick reference.   But a little background on Gasparilla.  It’s named for the pirate Jose Gasparilla who sailed the coastal waters of west Florida during the late 18th and early 19th century.  Tampa began its Gasparilla festivals in 1904.  Today, the festival is carried on by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and it supported by other Krewes as well. The Gasparilla Festival runs the gamut from parades to flotillas to races with almost everything happening along or near Bayshore Blvd in Tampa. If you’ve never been to an event, make sure you are prepared for crowds so plan your time accordingly! The estimated number of people for the parades will be around 300,000!

  • The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza featuring the Children’s Gasparilla Parade and Piratechnic Extravaganza on Saturday starting at 11am along Bayshore Blvd. Piratechnic Extravaganza starts at 7pm. The”Piratechnic” display re-creates the imaginary sea battle between the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa.
  • Next Saturday is the Gasparilla Pirate Fest starting at 11:30am.  This event features the Gasparilla Invasion where a huge flotilla of boats lead by the ship Jose Gasparilla lands at the Tampa Convention Center to takeover Tampa.  The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates starts at 2pm along Bayshore Blvd. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival takes place at Curtis Hixon Park starting at 5:30pm with a $30 general admission fee.  The Gasparilla Invasion Stage will be open from noon to 6pm at MacDill Park located along Ashley Drive and Whiting Street in Downtown Tampa with free admission and free music and entertainment
  • Later in February on the 21st and 22nd are the Gasparilla road races include a half-marathon, 15k, 8k, and 5k.  There’s a military division that active duty and retired military personnel can participate in.

Make sure you plan for parking!  Food and drink as well as port-a-potties will be located throughout the parade routes.  Enjoy the parades and if you have any insider tips for the parades, please share them with us!
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Things to do in the Tampa Bay Area

January 22, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Health, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s a busy weekend with a lot of things to do in the Tampa Bay area! This is the first weekend of the Gasparilla season! But besides Gasparilla, there a lot of things to do if you want stay away from the crowds. So let’s take a look of things to do other than Gasparilla events.

  • On Friday from 4pm to 8pm “Art on the House” takes place at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa. You get to pay what you want for an admission fee.
  • The Tampa Bay Home Show will be at the Trop in St. Pete starting on Friday. You can get some ideas for those Spring home improvement projects!
  • SeaScapes Beach Club on MacDill AFB has seafood specials for dinner on Friday evening!
  • On Saturday morning in downtown St. Pete check out the Saturday Morning Market! With fresh produce including locally grown organic products, baked goods and unique arts and crafts, you will find something that piques your interest.
  • Touch a Truck in Largo on Saturday gives the kids the opportunity to climb and play on vehicles like fire trucks, dump truck, buses and military vehicles. It’s free to attend!
  • The Harbour Island Art Walk takes place near the Channelside district of Tampa on Sunday starting at noon. Take a look at the works of local artists and enjoy a stroll near the water.
  • On 3pm on Sunday, the Tampa Theatre presents Better Off Dead with John Cusack as part of their Totally Classic Movie Series.
  • End your weekend with Yoga at the Park at Curtis Hixon Park on Sunday at 5pm. Bring your yoga mat and couple friends and enjoy the great outdoors while you workout!

I hope that you enjoy the weekend.  If you know of something else to do, please share with us!

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MacDill AFB EventsThis Week!

January 17, 2015 By: Laura Category: Communities, Dining, Events, Military Life, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

MacDill AFB beach

MacDill AFB Events

When looking for something to do in the MacDill area do not forget about all of the great events that actually take place on the base.  As long as you have access to the base you can enjoy them! Those of us who don’t live on the base sometimes forget everything that goes on MacDill. Remember Monday is a Federal holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, so some venues on the base will be closed or have limited operating hours. Check out the MacDill AFB events for this week.

  • On Tuesday 20 January, NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson will be on SeaScapes Beach House for a meet and greet.  Starting time is 3pm and it’s open to anyone who has access to MacDill AFB. So bring the camera and some gear to get signed for souvenirs!
  • Get the resume ready for a Career Fair at Surf’s Edge Club on Thursday 22 January.  From noon to 3pm, your prospective employer will be there to talk to you about their company and what you need to do!  If you’re transitioning or looking for a new job, this is perfect place to go.  But do your prep work, so that you are ready to promote yourself!
  • All that working out you’ve done can be put to use on Friday 23 January at the Gladiator Assault Challenge at Lewis Lake.  It’s a unit challenge so grab a group and come out at 8am for 9.6 miles of challenging obstacles and combined maneuvers.
  • The Short Fitness Center is looking for volunteers to teach yoga, Zumba and spin.  Stop by the front desk or call if you are interested in helping out.
  • If you need an ID or CAC, remember it’s all done by appointment now!

If you have an event to share on MacDill AFB or in the community, please let us know! Enjoy the week!
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Things to do Near MacDill AFB

January 15, 2015 By: Laura Category: Concerts, Events, Military Spouse, News, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

MacDill AFB gate-courtesy of de. wilkipedia

The weekend is almost here and you may be looking for some things to do near MacDill AFB. There is a lot to do this three-day weekend from celebrating Martin Luther King Jr to taking in an art festival. If your plans include enjoying the cooler weather at one the area’s many amusement parks do not forget to stop by the IT&T office located at the AAFES exchange on board MacDill. Here is a look at the great things to do this weekend:

  • Drum Major for Justice Parade in St Petersburg on Monday January 19th. Parade will begin at Third Ave. South and MLK St. finishing at Vinoy Park. Parade begins at 11:00AM Check out the link for  information on more festivities celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Black Heritage Festival will be held from January 15th thru the 25th.
  • The Tampa Bay 26th annual Martin Luther King parade will be held on Monday and is part of the above Black Heritage Festival. The parade begins 21st Ave and 15th Street ending at Osborne Avenue. Parade will begin at noon.
  • Florida RV Super Show 2015. Need a new RV then check this event out at the Florida State Fair Grounds. A replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall will be on display at this event.
  • Hops for Heroes-Craft Beer Festival. The creators of this event encourage everyone to come out and support and celebrate wounded veterans. The event includes craft beer from many local breweries and all proceeds will go to Join the fun from 2-5PM.
  • Sunshine Music & Blues Festival. This event takes place Saturday January 17th in Vinoy Park and starts at noon.
  • Looking for some more college football then you will want to take in the East West Shrine Game taking place Saturday January 17th in Tropicana Field. Kick off is at 4PM.
  • 10th Annual Suncoast Arts Festival being held in Wesley Chapel. Enjoy this great art festival on January 17th and January 18th.
  • Sarasota Fine Arts Festival is being held January 17th and 18th being held on South Gulfstream Ave.
  • 2015 Treasure Island Sport Kite Festival Championship. The event is located on Treasure Island Beach behind Thunderbird Beach Resort. You can catch the kites flying Saturday and Sunday.

So many great things to do in the MacDill AFB area this weekend. If you have an event  you would like to share please do so in the comments section below. Enjoy this weekend!

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

January 08, 2015 By: Laura Category: Communities, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s a little cool outside right now, but it will warm up over the weekend!  There are plenty of thing to do in the Tampa Bay area both outside and inside.

  • The Tampa Home and Garden Show starts this Friday at the Tampa Convention Center.  So stop by get some new ideas for the home!
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Buffalo Sabres at Amalie Arena in Channelside on Friday at 7:30pm.
  • Check out Top Golf in Brandon for golfing and food in a great fun environment! It’s $20 an hour for up to 6 people to play and $40 an hour after noon.
  • On Sunday at the MacDill AFB movie theater is a free showing of “Patton” at 7pm. Anyone can attend and you can bring your own snacks!
  • As part of the Totally 80’s Classic Movie Series, Rain Man will be playing at 3pm.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!  It’s supposed to be in the low 80’s on Sunday so that may be a great day to hit the beach!

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

January 01, 2015 By: Laura Category: Events, Military Life, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Photos courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg

Photos courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg

It’s a new year and there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area this weekend! The weather should be pretty good this weekend, but make sure you have some sunscreen ready if you are going to be outside.

      • Recreational facilities on MacDill AFB will have limited hours or be closed due to the holiday. However, the gym and golf course will be open all weekend.
      • Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus is at Amalie Arena this weekend.
      • It’s not too late for ice skating at Curtis Hixon Park at Tampa’s Downtown on Ice.
      • Kids can golf for free at Ace Golf of Brandon and Riverview.
      • If you haven’t been there before, then one of the best things to do in St. Pete is “First Friday“.  It’s a huge fun safe block party on Central Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets South with free music, and food from 5:30pm to 10pm.
      • The Kresge Mega Light display is still going on in St. Pete.
      • Dress up your dog and join in on the Barkilla: The Pooch Parade in Ybor City on Saturday at 2:30pm. The parade starts at The Dirty Shame.
      • The Patel Conservatory is having a open house starting at 10am on Saturday.  This free event will allow you checkout everything Patel has to offer.
      • The Tampa Theatre will present “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Sunday at 3pm.
      • Stop by the Largo Central Railroad for free train rides for kids.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.  If you have some ideas to share, please leave a comment.  Thanks!

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New Year’s Celebrations, Events and Resolutions

December 31, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year to all of you. New Year’s Celebrations, Events and Resolutions will all be apart of the New Year. How will you celebrate the New Year here in the MacDill AFB area? Will you celebrate at one of the local events ? Will you be making New Year’s resolutions?

Did you know the first recorded New Year’s celebration can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians? It was the Romans who first celebrated on January 1st when Julius Cesar introduced the Julian calendar. With the addition of the Julian calendar Cesar proclaimed the January 1st would be the first day of the New Year. This began the tradition of parties to ring in the New Year!

New Years celebrations brings more traditions and for many of us they come from our heritage. For example our family always has some kind of noodle usually lo mein to symbolize a long life. I have friends who always have black eyed peas on New Years day to herald financial success. Many people serve ham or some sort of pork to represent progress. My grandparents would serve rice pudding with a hidden almond I believe it was to symbolize good fortune.

Here in the MacDill AFB area we celebrate with fireworks, parties and many of us ring in the New Year with a list of resolutions. The area will host many celebrations including First Night in St Petersburg and Light Up Clearwater. Will you be making a New Years resolution? staff writer wrote a great article on resolutions. In “Should you Make a New Year’s Resolution?” Jen points out several ways you can actually achieve your resolutions. I will be using her ideas especially about keeping it small and making one change at a time.

How ever you choose to celebrate this New Year’s Eve enjoy and be responsible. Please share some of the ways you will using you family traditions to celebrate here in the comments section of the blog or share on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

December 26, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →


I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!  We had all the kids in town for the first time since the summer, so we were pretty busy.  Luckily even if you had to work today, the weekend is just ahead and like always there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.

  • MacDill AFB’s Bay Palms  Golf Complex will be open from 6:30am to 5:30pm all weekend, so you can work off a little of the holiday meals.  You can’t beat their prices!
  • Out in Brandon,  Top  Golf has opened up. Before noon on weekends it only costs $20 an hour to play.  Up to six people can play at one bay and it’s only $20 total an hour whether one person plays or 6 people play. So get your friends together and split the cost! My youngest son went to try it out and had a great time.
  • Kids can receive a free bucket of balls at Ace Golf locations when accompanied by an adult.
  • You may want to make your returns and exchanges on Saturday evening when the big return rush is over.
  • The Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach will be great place to take out of town guests this weekend.
  • If you want to see “The Interview”, then head to over to the historic Tampa Theatre this weekend. Military members can receive a $1 off admission with a valid ID card.
  • If you want to see more Christmas decorations, then head over to St. Pete and check out the Kresge Mage Light Display.  It’s free to see.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday season.  If you some ideas to share, please leave a comment.

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Sunday Fun in Tampa

December 21, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

YouTube Preview Image

If you’re on the few lucky people who’ve finished their holiday shopping or you just need a break from shopping, then there are plenty of fun things to do in Tampa!

  • The historic Tampa Theatre will be showing the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 3pm and again at 7:30pm. Admission is $10.  You can checkout the snowfall in front of the theatre before and after the show.  Inside, you can sing classic Christmas songs before the start of the movie.
  • Checkout ice skating at Curtis Hixon Park.
  • The Plant Museum is hosting the Victorian Christmas Stroll.
  • Spend part of your Sunday morning at the Tampa Downtown Market listening to free music, taking a look at organic and locally grown foods.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and good luck shopping!

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Last Minute Shopping in the MacDill Area

December 19, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Christmas Gifts in Cardboard Box and Packing Peanuts

The countdown to Christmas is in the single digits!  It’s less than a week away and it’s the homestretch for shopping.  But Tampa offers some great locations and opportunities for shoppers!

  • Tonight Hyde Park Village has “Moonlight Market” from 5pm to 9pm. It’s a great place to purchase holiday gifts from local inexpensive boutiques.  And Santa will  be there for the kids to visit!
  • The MacDill AFB Exchange is prefect place to shop and because you need a military ID to shop it won’t be too crowded.  If you’re having a holiday party, then the Class Six store should be on your list!
  • The Ellenton Outlet Mall has over 50 stores that should have everything on your Christmas list. It’s open till 9pm tonight and 10pm on Saturday.
  • Shops at Wiregrass in New Tampa has a great light show that will get you in the Christmas spirit.
  • The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota is one the areas newest malls and it located just off of I-75.
  • The Westfield Brandon Mall is on holiday hours and will be open till 10pm tonight.
  • In Tampa, you can choose from Westshore Plaza and International Plaza. They are within miles of each other and both offer great dining opportunities.

Enjoy the weekend and get that shopping done now.  And don’t forget to shop online and just pay for the shipping charges.

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