St. Pete celebrates everything spring this Easter weekend

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St. Petersburg celebrates everything spring this weekend with the first-ever green/sustainability event for Earth Day, the annual Mainsail Fine Arts Festival, Rays baseball and the arrival of the Easter Bunny to usher in the holiday weekend.

Go Rays!

The Tampa Bay Rays return to the Trop after 10 days on the road, to host the first of four games with the New York Yankees starting Thursday, April 17.  Expect heavy attendance at Tropicana Field, which 7:10 p.m. games through Saturday and at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.

On Tuesday, April 22, the Rays welcome Minnesota for three games at the Trop.

Tickets for both series are available at www.raysbaseball.com.

Game day parking is available at the stadium and in surrounding lots within a half-mile walk or fans can arrive early, park downtown and visit St. Petersburg’s retail and restaurant district before riding the free baseball shuttle to the stadium.

Suggested parking locations include the South Core parking garage, with a baseball shuttle stop located near the entrance. Shuttles begin service at 5:40 p.m. for games tonight through Saturday and at 12:10 p.m. on Sunday, ending service one hour after the final inning. For additional parking and game information, visit www.stpete.org/stpetelovestherays.

Celebrate the Earth

While Earth Day isn’t formally until Tuesday, St. Petersburg gets an early start with the city’s inaugural St. Petersburg Earth Day, a free festival to promote the green/sustainable movement in the state’s first official Green City. Visitors to Saturday’s South Straub Park event will find information on eco-friendly technology, research and products to create healthy and sustainable communities, as well as representatives of cutting-edge companies in the green movement and speakers on topics affecting the planet.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit www.stpeteearthday.com.

Revel In Creativity at Mainsail Art Festival

St. Petersburg ranks as the nation’s Top Arts Destination for mid-sized cities, and nowhere is it more evident than when more than 270 artists from across the United States set up short-term studios along the waterfront of Vinoy Park on Saturday and Sunday for the 39th annual Mainsail Art Festival.

The free, outdoor-juried art festival blends visual and performing arts, with live music, “Young at Art” Student Show & Awards, a kids’ art tent, culinary arts food court and more. Mainsail hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For information, visit www.mainsailart.org.

Visitors to Earth Day St. Petersburg, the Mainsail Art Festival and Rays games will find no shortage of parking downtown this weekend.

Suggested locations include the Sundial (formerly MidCore/BayWalk) or South Core parking garages and the Al Lang Stadium or Pier parking lots $5.

A complimentary Mainsail shuttle will transport art festival visitors to Vinoy Park from three stops conveniently located near downtown parking. Shuttle stops are located:

  • East side of First St., just north of Central Ave. behind the Ponce de Leon hotel
  • On the north side of Second Ave. NE, just east of the Beach Dr. Trolley Station, located on the Pier Approach
  • North side of Seventh Ave. NE, just west of Bayshore Dr.

Mainsail shuttles begin service one-half hour before the festival opens and end service one-half hour after it closes, running approximately every 10 to 15 minutes. Shuttles offer disability accommodations, including wheelchair lifts.

For more information, visit www.stpetetrolley.com.

Virtual Symphony

The Florida Orchestra focuses its symphonic powers to appeal video game enthusiasts with some of their favorite stories, embodied with rock concert lighting and big-screen images as part of “rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes.”

Tickets for the 2 and 8 p.m. performances are available at www.themahaffey.com.

Pinot in the Park

Historic Kenwood pays tribute the classics during Saturday’s inaugural Pinot in the Park in Seminole Park. The sold-out event features a selection of wines from pinot-producing regions around the world paired with a Pacific Northwest-style salmon bake and accented with signature sides from some of St. Petersburg’s hottest chefs.  www.historickenwood.org

Hoppin’ with the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is working overtime in St. Petersburg as the big day approaches on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association’s (HONNA) annual Easter Egg Hunt starts at 10 a.m. in Coffee Pot Bayou, relocated from the previously announced Flora Wylie Park location. Due to limited parking, participants are encouraged to walk or bike to the event.

Kids can decorate eggs, go on an Easter egg hunt, and enjoy face painting, games and a visit with the Easter Bunny when the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum hosts the Let’s Get Hoppin’ Easter Egg hunt Saturday at 11 a.m.  Pre-registration is required; RSVP at 727-323-1104.

And that’s not all …

Other Easter activities include First Unity Church’s Easter Sunrise service in North Straub Park at 6 a.m., the annual Calvary Chapel Sonrise Baptism Service in Elva Rouse Park at 6:45 a.m. and special Easter activities at the Deuces Live Sunday Market from 1 to 6 p.m.

For other events happening in and around St. Petersburg this weekend, visit www.stpete.org/events.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.