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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a Tampa Bay Times writer and editor who focuses mostly on events and fun Things to Do. A lifelong St. Petersburg resident, she has been a journalist since 1988 and joined her hometown Times in 1994. She is married and has two sons.

Phone: (727) 893-8595

Email: swynne@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SharonKWn

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  1. With Harry Potter's Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

    Florida

    ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy's balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects before Santa and his new sleigh enter for a finale.

    Things are getting flashier and glitzier — and just more — at virtually every major Florida attraction this Christmas. For Florida residents, that means extra sleigh bells and whistles between now and mid-December, a chance to beat the crowds that will mob the parks come Christmas week. ...

    Shops in Hogsmeade during a nighttime preview event of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. First look: Harry Potter's Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

    Florida

    Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks.

    It opens to the public on Saturday. Considering the tears that rose from the crowd at a media preview Thursday night at the sight of the snow-capped castle created by high-tech mapping sorcery, it should be a big draw for Harry Potter fans. ...

    Universal Studios  upsized its nightly Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's this year with 13 new giant balloons, 15 new floats, many from DreamWorks animation hits, and 100 performers. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  3. Plan your weekend Nov. 17-19: Castle anniversary, Chillounge Night, Et Cultura, Busch Gardens Christmas Town

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Party

    Castle anniversary: The multi-story, gothic Ybor nightclub, where it's not uncommon to see someone in a Batman cape or a leather corset, turned 25 this year, and the club is celebrating with a party this weekend. Features special guests DJ Danny Bled, DJ Tom Gold, DJ Mark Paradise, DJ Sean (Patio), VJ Jason Barco (Dungeon). Doors open at 10:30 p.m., Saturday at The Castle, 2994 N 16th St., Tampa. (813) 247-7547. castleybor.com....

    Courtesy of Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens Christmas Town returns this weekend.
  4. Weekend fun: St. Pete Beach BikeFest, Chillounge Night, Christmas at Universal, Busch Gardens

    Events

    BIG WHEELS: St. Pete Beach BikeFest

    The new St. Pete Beach BikeFest at the TradeWinds resort and runs through Sunday with daily poker runs, an expo, a bike show and competitions. But the real draw will be free concerts on the beach, including former Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil, left, Thursday; country's Colt Ford, top right, on Friday; and prog-metal outfit Queensryche, right, on Sunday. The concerts and expo are free, though it's $10 to park. Ride sharing is suggested since parking will be scarce. VIP ($189) includes reserved seats, free beer and wine and air-conditioned restrooms. Concerts start at 8 p.m. at 5500 Gulf Blvd. stpetebeachbikefest.com....

    For music planner: Handout photo of Colt Ford. Credit: Average Joes Entertainment
  5. 5 under $5: Sand sculptors, free ice skating, Pinellas Trail performances

    Events

    1Sanding Ovations: This annual Treasure Island sand sculpting competition brings master sculptors working in 150 tons of sand. This year artists come from Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Russia, Lithuania, Canada and the United States. An adjacent festival brings live music daily, and there will be fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Saturday. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.Treasure Island Beach Trail Park, 10400 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free. ...

    Jonathan Bouchard sculpts during the Sanding Ovations Sand Sculpting festival in Treasure Island, FL on November 21st, 2014.
  6. This Scout earned every possible merit badge. Then came cancer.

    Human Interest

    LAKE WALES — Ron Cain strolled lakeside at a Boy Scout camp on a crisp November day, the exact spot where he finally earned all of Scouting's 137 merit badges.

    "I had to survey this field, which was ridiculous because there were hurricane winds," he said.

    The sky was black, the atmosphere "creepy" and white-capped waves roiled the lake as Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida. He just needed to complete a few more steps for the Exploration badge, his last one....

    A friend of Cain’s family sewed two sashes together to hold all 137 merit badges. Only 350 boys have earned all of them in 107 years of Scout history.
  7. St. Petersburg gets new half-marathon as St. Pete Run Fest adds kids runs, year-round fitness to mix

    Events

    ST. PETERSBURG — “You might be asking, how will this make me a better runner?" Cody Angell asked two dozen students at a recent running club session at Shore Acres Elementary as they performed an "A skip" with their knees high, followed by a "kick skip" with a high kick before running hard.

    He was building up their muscles, he said, so they can be ready for the St. Pete Run Fest, bringing a series of kids' runs and the return of a half-marathon through downtown St. Petersburg Nov. 18-19, the weekend before Thanksgiving....

    Runners make their way on the track as the St. Pete Running Company’s running club meets to do interval speed work while training to run the St. Pete Run Fest, the first half marathon downtown St. Pete in three years,
The group at the Northside Christian High School track has about 35-40 people. This evening they were doing a series of 800s during interval training.
  8. Plan your weekend Nov. 10-12: Ribfest, Reading Fest, Tampa Am skateboarders, Tiny Home Show, Chris Stapleton

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Concert

    Chris Stapleton: The country artist took the music world by surprise with his 2015 debut Traveller, which swept the CMA Awards and earned him a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. He and his wife/muse/backup singer, Morgane, just announced they're expecting twins in early 2018, and if you've ever seen Stapleton live, you know he's focused on Morgane the whole time. And if she's not on the road, he might not be either. So catch his fire while you can. Marty Stuart and Brent Cobb open at 7 p.m. Friday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com....

    PINELLAS, ST. PETE, FL -- 111608 -- A patron holds a handful of ribs Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008 in St. Petersburg. Thousands turned up for the Northeast Exchange Club's Ribfest this weekend. This was the 20th year for the event. Event goers were treated to several ribbers from around the country including one Aussom Aussie from Sydney, Australia. The event culminated on Sunday evening with The Little River Band. Tampa Tribune photo by CHRIS URSO, 03 OF 07 PHOTOS, ??? STY
  9. Top things to do this weekend: La La Land in Concert, Tiny Home Show

    Events

    CITY OF STARS: La La Land in Concert

    What does a multiple-Oscar-winning hit musical do for a second act? Go on tour. With La La Land in Concert, the Mahaffey Theater will have a live symphony orchestra playing the score while the movie starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling plays on a big screen. Damien Chazelle's valentine to movie musicals has developed a cult following, as evidenced in past tour stops by the sea of yellow dresses in the audience — similar to the one worn by Stone in the film's posters. The show starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $45-$125. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com....

    Miles McKeny competes at Skatepark of Tampa in 2012.
  10. 5 under $5: Festival of Reading, Florida Orchestra family concerts, Circus McGurkus returns

    Events

    1Ian Harvie: The actor who plays Dale on Amazon's Transparent will give a free talk Tuesday as part of the University Lecture Series at USF's Marshall Student Center. The comedian's performance will demonstrate how laughter has no gender identification. 8 p.m. Tuesday. 4103 Cedar Circle, Tampa. Free. (813) 974-1001.

    2Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading: The festival's 25th year brings former Fox News commentator Gretchen Carlson, bestselling crime fiction author Michael Connelly, children's author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie) and award-winning science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer among more than 45 authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and books for young readers. See the full lineup at tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading/. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. Free. Read more about the festival on Page 17....

    ‘Transparent’ actor Ian Harvie
  11. These famous tiny houses are coming to Tampa Bay for the Tiny Home Show

    Events

    The tiny home craze brings images of twee hipsters lounging on foldaway futons in homes that are quaint and whimsical.

    The Tiny Home Show on Saturday at the Hillsborough Community College SouthShore campus in Ruskin is bringing in some "celebrity" tiny homes featured on HGTV and elsewhere. It also aims to show what the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community coming to Sun City Center can deliver. ...

    Georgia couple John and Fin Kernohan are bringing their tiny firehouse, which was featured on HGTV.
  12. How Hurricane Irma brought a 2-headed chicken to the St. Petersburg Museum of History

    Events

    The big reveal Friday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History's Two-Headed Calf Fest celebrating oddities was a new donation to the tiny museum — a two-headed chicken.

    And we have Hurricane Irma to thank for it.

    The fundraising party was originally planned for Sept. 8, but the threat of Irma moved it to Sept. 16. Then the many power outages in Pinellas County forced party planners to make the leap to November. Meanwhile, a reader of the Tampa Bay Times took note of the coverage of the freaky calf, which was born in Safety Harbor in 1925 with two heads, six legs and two tails. It was taxidermied and donated to the museum, where it has been a popular exhibit ever since. ...

    Part of Friday's Two-Headed Calf Fest was picking a name for the 92-year-old oddity that was born in Safety Harbor with two heads, six legs and two tails. The winning name, as picked by tickets dropped in a milk bottle, is Half 'n' Half.
  13. Top things to do this weekend: Two-Headed Calf Fest, Demetri Martin, Tracy Morgan

    Events

    ODDITIES:

    Two-Headed Calf Fest

    After two cancellations for hurricanes, the Two-Headed Calf Fest at the St. Petersburg Museum of History finally lets us celebrate the weirdness of St. Petersburg. The craft beer party will celebrate the museum's Alligators and Oddities exhibit, highlighted by a nearly 100-year-old two-headed calf. The freaky creature was born in Safety Harbor in 1925 with two heads, six legs and two tails. It was stuffed and donated to the museum after its short, six-week life, and it has long been a popular exhibit. In keeping with the oddities theme, there will be live mermaids and alligators, carnival side-show oddities, a costume contest, live music, food trucks, museum admission and a special craft brew by Flying Boat called Two Headed Calf Beer. The party is 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE. $30-40. (727) 894-1052. spmoh.com....

    Tracy Morgan participates in the panel for the comedy special “Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue” during the HBO summer Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, California August 7, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten
  14. 5 things to do under $5: Snooty and Gregg Allman remembered, free tree climbing

    Events

    1Festival of the Skeletons: Snooty the manatee and Gregg Allman, two much-loved local icons who died this year, will be honored with special Day of the Dead shrines at the Dia de los Muertos festival at Bradenton's Village of the Arts. There will also be a concert on Friday by Allman's son, Michael, a public Memory Wall to remember loved ones, food, music, and art throughout the village. 6-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Gracelia's Park at the Village of the Arts, 1015 12th Ave. W, Bradenton. Free admission. villageofthearts.com....

    A Day of the Dead doll and stuffed manatee are some of the mementos that honor Snooty the manatee in Bradenton.
  15. Universal snaps up more land for potential theme park expansion

    Florida

    Universal Orlando has purchased another big chunk of land in Orlando, giving the theme park company more than 570 acres to work with for expansions, possibly including a new theme park.

    The land is adjacent to the $130 million purchase Universal made in December 2015 for 475 acres of undeveloped property near the southern end of International Drive. Universal closed on 101 acres for $27.5 million on Thursday, said Robert McEwan, first vice president of CBRE, the real estate company that put together the deal for the seller....

    Sarah Karp, right, and her sister, Claire Karp-Hauser, ride the Flight of the Hippogriff during a technical rehearsal at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando on May 30, 2010.
The opening of the Harry Potter land brought an unprecedented 36 percent spike in attendance. 
 (Chip Litherland/The New York Times)