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Things To Do

Best Bets: Fun stuff to do this week

Published:   |   Updated: December 12, 2013 at 05:07 PM

Not sure what to do this week? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are our editors’ picks, from snow in Ybor City to a cynical department store elf in “Santaland Diaries.”

 

AT THE MOVIES

(Opening Friday)

Reviewers are saying Peter Jackson has made hobbits funny again with “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves continue their quest to reclaim Erebor when Bilbo meets Gollum and comes into possession of his “precious” ring unaware it is tied to the fate of Middle-earth.

 

A LEGGY SPECTACULAR

(Through Dec. 29)

The legendary Rockettes kick the Christmas season into high gear with their “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” chock-full-of new costumes, visual effects and, of course, eye-high kicks at The Straz.

 

JINGLE BELL RUNS

(Friday and Saturday)

Throw on your running shoes and a Santa hat or perhaps some reindeer antlers for holiday-themed 5K runs/walks on both sides of the bay. On Friday, there’s the Jingle Bell Run to benefit the Boley Center, featuring live bands along the St. Petersburg waterfront. On Saturday, a Jingle Bell Run to benefit the Arthritis Foundation leaves from the Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus. There are after-parties following both runs.

 

A POPPIN’ SATURDAY

(Saturday)

The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and the Florida Orchestra will fill you with the holiday spirit when they join forces for Holiday Pops!, an evening of holiday favorites and pop fare from “Silent Night” to “Rudolph Rag” at the Mahaffey Theater. Tickets are $15 to $45.

 

HISTORIC CHRISTMAS

(Saturday)

Ybor City hosts the third annual Snow on 7th Avenue Holiday Parade with Christmas music, marching bands, horse-drawn carriages, live entertainment, twinkling lights, a visit from Old Saint Nick and a snow flurry — or two. The free festivities are 6 to 9 p.m.

 

UGLIER THE BETTER

(Sunday)

Dress to depress in your ugliest Christmas sweater and bring along your dog (preferably in a sweater too) for a pair of pet-friendly ugly sweater parties featuring contests, prizes, food and drink specials. The fun goes down at MacDinton’s Irish Pub and the Sail Pavilion at the Tampa Convention Center. There’s no cover for either.

 

WHAT A CRUMPET

(Sunday through Dec. 29)

Relieve the stress of family, shopping and the dreaded expectations with a hearty laugh at “SantaLand Diaries,” a tale of holiday insanity from the mind of writer David Sedaris. Tickets are $19.

 

IT’S JINGLE BALL, YA’LL

(Tuesday)

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the duo responsible for the twerk heard ‘round the world, will perform at the 93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball at the Forum. The annual pop-fest will also include Paramore, Flo Rida, Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, Travie McCoy, Austin Mahone and others. Tickets run from $26 to $181.

 

CHAPPELLE’S SHOWS

(Wednesday)

Wildly popular comedian Dave Chappelle returns to the Tampa Bay area for the first time since 2006 for a pair of performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The shows, which were a total surprise when they were announced only a week ago, sold out immediately, but there are tickets floating around on Craigslist.

 

ON THE CHEAP

Teddy Bear Roundup: Bring a new teddy bear to MOSI to donate to the Rough Riders Teddy Bear Roundup and receive a child’s general admission ticket for free; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 22; free; Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; (813) 987-6000

Lights of Lakeland: This annual walk-through Christmas experience features a live Bethlehem scene complete with camels, sheep and donkeys. Visit with the Grinch, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and other characters; 6:30 to 9 p.m. daily; free; Highland Park Church, 4777 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland; (863) 647-3518

Trade a toy for auto repair: Bring in a new, unwrapped toy to any of the 16 Bay area Ice Cold Air locations and trade it for an oil change, tire rotation or $20 toward a repair; all day today; free; Ice Cold Air, http://www.icecoldair.com/

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