Christopher Spata, Features Writer

Christopher Spata

Features Writer

I'm focused on the offbeat side of life. I love stories about people pursuing unusual goals, and what drives them. I've written about retirees attending Santa Claus School, competitors at the World Sign Spinning Championships and an optician rebuilding old Chuck E. Cheese robots in his bedroom. I'm also looking for hyper-local culture stories, from tracing the global path plastic beads take to Tampa's Gasparilla festival, to pondering mysterious butt graffiti in downtown St. Pete. I also contribute to our entertainment and Things To Do coverage. I previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star-Banner. I'm a rare, native-born Floridian, and collect all things Floridiana, from alligator ash trays to vintage postcards for roadside attractions. I say Florida isn't "weird," just more interesting.

Sunset Music Festival set to return with Skrillex side project Dog Blood

The crowd at the 2018 Sunset Music Festival. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Dozens of electronic dance music DJs and producers were announced for the 2019 festival in Tampa.

Tampa Theatre's free, outdoor film series will start with 'Black Panther'

This image released by Disney shows a scene from Marvel Studios'
The series features family-friendly films, new and old, at three parks in Tampa.

Musician earns a rare spot — right beside the woman who taught her to play
The Florida Orchestra now employs a 23-year-old from Clearwater, and her 67-year-old former teacher.

Who played the villain in Tampa Bay in 2018?

Populous Architects
The plan to build a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark in Ybor City didn’t materialize. This is a rendering of a proposed design.
We’ve rounded up five groups of people, and nonpeople, who were, at least by some, cast as villains this year.

Intrepid reporter does all his holiday shopping at a bodega (From 2015)

Reporter Christopher Spata leaves the Ybor Supermarket, located along E 7th Avenue in Ybor City, after buying Christmas gifts there. [Times files (2015)]
How to do your Christmas shopping on a budget? Reporter Christopher Spata found everything he needed (barely) at an Ybor City bodega.