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Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Free and Cheap

A deals blog by Janine Dorsey

Janine Dorsey loves to save money: it doesn’t matter if it’s hers or someone else’s. She rounds up all the best deals and freebies to be found in the Tampa Bay area -  in shopping, dining, entertainment and more – to help you save, too.

Clearwater libraries waiving fines with food donations

Published:   |   Updated: December 18, 2014 at 10:22 AM
By Janine Dorsey

Kept those borrowed library materials a little too long? Here’s your chance to get forgiveness from the fines.

Clearwater Public Library branches are offering an amnesty period for overdue materials in exchange for a donation of non-perishable foods through library closing Wednesday, Dec. 24.

Anyone who currently has a fine from overdue materials can bring in any non-perishable food items to a Clearwater library branch circulation desk with the overdue materials, if available.

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Artistic, creative folks can score two free Renaissance Fest tickets

Published:   |   Updated: December 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM
By Janine Dorsey

Put your creativity to work for you to earn two free admission tickets to the 2015 Bay Area Renaissance Fest by building your own fairy house or painting a mural.

Fairy houses are diminutive dollhouses that wood nymphs or other mythical creatures would find right at home.

Murals are being sought to decorate the Mermaid’s Lagoon area of the festival and should be of a family-friendly nautical theme.

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Get started on holiday shopping with more than a dozen gift card deals

Published:   |   Updated: December 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM
By Janine Dorsey

Gift cards are a great option for sending love to friends and family near and far.

All the better if you can get some of that love back for yourself in the form of a bonus deal!

Bonus gift cards are available at participating locations and in some cases, on the companys’ websites.

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Tampa Bay holiday blood drives offer various rewards

Published:   |   Updated: December 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM
By Janine Dorsey

Eligible donors, age 16 and up, who are feeling well and healthy can share the gift of life and score a bit of reward this holiday season at various blood drives around Tampa Bay.

Bloodmobiles will be on-site at the following locations during the holidays:


WFLA - Channel 8 call center blood drive: Thursday, Dec. 19 from 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

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Donate an Ikea toy or book, get a free zoo ticket

Published:   |   Updated: December 16, 2014 at 09:44 AM
By Janine Dorsey

Tampa’s Ikea store is in the giving mood this holiday season.

Through Jan. 3, when any soft toy or children’s book is purchased from the store, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1 to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children.

The giving increases when an Ikea soft toy or book is then donated at the store in the donation bin during the promotion period. The donor will get a free child’s admission ticket to Lowry Park Zoo.

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Free bucket of range balls daily for kids during holidays

Published:   |   Updated: December 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM
By Janine Dorsey

If there will be golf tees in their stockings and clubs under the tree for your kids this holiday season, the little duffers may be interested to hear about an offer from Ace Golf.

Ace Golf is offering a free golf practice program for kids ages 5 -15 every day from Monday, Dec. 22 until Sunday, Jan. 4.

Parents just need to register their kids at either the Ace Golf Range located at 820 S. Kings Ave, Brandon or 12910 Boyette Rd., Riverview.

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Guided downtown walking tour features holiday theme

Published:   |   Updated: December 15, 2014 at 12:30 PM
By Janine Dorsey

Stretch your legs, get in some exercise and load up on holiday cheer all at once when you ‘Do The Local Motion’ this Friday, Dec. 19.

From noon - 1 p.m., the Tampa Downtown Partnership will lead a free guided walking tour featuring an office building lobby holiday décor ‘tour of trees.’ The event will include Christmas carols sung by the Rampello Downtown Partnership School Choir.

Tours are free and no pre-registration is required. Interested walkers are invited to gather in their comfortable shoes at Lykes Gaslight Square, located at 410 N Franklin St., Tampa.

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Free Wild Wonderland tickets in Bay area Happy Meals this month

Published:   |   Updated: December 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM
By Janine Dorsey

There's a little something extra to make kids smile in Tampa Bay area Happy Meals this month.

Buy a McDonald's Happy Meal from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas participating restaurants and get a free child's admission ticket to Lowry Park Zoo's Wild Wonderland.

On select dates, the zoo transforms into a winter spectacle with real reindeer, games, twinkling lights, penguins, animated displays, Florida “snow flurries,” free Zoo rides, the “Frozen Forest,” holiday shopping and Santa Claus.

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Free Christmas toys for girls and boys

Published:   |   Updated: December 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM
By Janine Dorsey

Tampa’s Mangrove Software is spreading holiday cheer this Thursday, Dec. 18 with a community Christmas party.

From 5 - 9 p.m., families are invited to visit the business, located at 1501 S. Church Ave., Tampa, to enjoy the festivities.

The event will include:

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Free pictures with Santa at Carrollwood Whole Foods

Published:   |   Updated: December 14, 2014 at 09:16 AM
By Janine Dorsey

Bring the kids for a picture with Santa Claus when Whole Foods Market of Carrollwood hosts the jolly elf.

Mr. Claus will be meeting kids and posing for pictures on Sunday, Dec. 21 from 1-2:30 p.m.

There is no charge to visit with Santa, and you are invited to bring your own camera to take pictures of your children meeting Ol’ Saint Nick.

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