Best things to do in Tampa Bay: A sudsy bar hop, more Juneteenth celebrations

Plus, the Hagrid coaster opens at Universal Orlando and Sarasota’s circus legacy is on display for eight weeks.
Published June 12

RINGMASTERS: Summer Circus Spectacular

The iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus may have closed for good in 2017, but the circus arts still thrive in Sarasota, home of top professional performers. And this week brings the return of the Summer Circus Spectacular, which is expanding to eight weeks this year. Put on by the Circus Arts Conservatory, the series includes 10 shows a week in the Historic Asolo Theatre at the Ringling Museum. Sarasota’s circus legacy began in 1927, when brothers John and Charles Ringling moved the Ringling Brothers Circus winter quarters to Sarasota. The lineup this year includes Jared Walker as ringmaster and Alesya Gulevich, the Russian-born entertainer who has been performing since age 5. The hula-hoop artist is a three-time Guinness World Record holder. The show also features clowns, aerial acts and Kirill Rebkovets, who has performed with Cirque du Soleil, and Cuban hand-balancing master Rokardy, who was featured on America’s Got Talent. $16 for adults, $12 for 12 and younger. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 3. Asolo, 5401 Bay Shore Road. circusarts.org.

SLOSHED: Sun, Swimsuits and Suds

Swimsuits and super soakers are required for Sun, Swimsuits and Suds, a wet bar hop with half a dozen stops in Ybor City to cool off. This party was such a hit last year that the Ybor Chamber of Commerce is throwing three sudsy parties this summer. The first is Saturday (check in at 5 Star Dive Bar at 1 p.m.). You can get soaked again on July 20 and Aug. 17. The party includes drink specials, a towel, T-shirt and unlimited tries at the dunk tank. $10, $15 VIP. 1-6 p.m. 1811 N 15th St., Tampa. (813) 248-3712. eventbrite.com.

COASTER: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid, the gentle half-giant from the Harry Potter books and movies, is getting a high-flying salute. Thursday is opening day for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It’s a highly themed coaster set in the Forbidden Forest of more than 1,200 newly planted trees. Universal is estimated to have spent more than $300 million on the attraction. Admission starts at $115. 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando. Toll-free 1-800-837-2273. universalorlando.com.

HOLIDAY: Celebrate Juneteenth

This week brings more celebrations of Juneteenth, the holiday celebrated on June 19 that marks the day in 1865 that the last slaves were freed in the United States. In Port Richey, the Celebrate Juneteenth family festival includes a free water slide, bounce house, spades, dominoes, cornhole, horseshoes, voter registration, free ices for the kids, DJ dancing, educational exhibits, a car audio competition and appearances by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit and the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club. Free. Noon Saturday. African American Club, 6105 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey.

St. Petersburg will have a Juneteenth Block Party on Saturday, a street festival with a vendors market, kids storytelling, a heritage trail tour, food truck rally, kids play area, DJ dancing and the Before I Let Go Challenge Flash Mob. Free. 3 p.m. Saturday. 2240 Ninth Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

And in Tampa, there will be a cocktail reception and dinner Friday before the premiere of the play Black Wall Street, which chronicles how the wealthy and successful black community of the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Okla., began, thrived and was destroyed during a riot. ($65, $120 two). On Saturday, the play will be performed at 2 and 7 p.m. ($10-$25). There will also be a free small business expo there on Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan (THAP), 5508 N 50th St. Tampa. thapgroup.org.

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