St. Pete springs into action this weekend with seasonal fun

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From the Rowdies and Rays to a display of collectible luxury sport and recreational vehicles, blooming orchids and a new fresh market in one of the city’s historic African-American neighborhoods, St. Petersburg welcomes spring.

Help the Tampa Bay Rowdies kick off the 2014 season tonight from 8 to 10 p.m. as Coach Ricky Hill and Rowdies players, including NSAL Golden Ball winner Georgi Hristov, NASL Golden Boot winner Brian Shriver, and newly acquired goalkeeper Matt Pickens unveil the team’s new 2014 jerseys and greet fans at the Mahaffey Theater. Fans can get a sneak peek at the entire line of 2014 Rowdies apparel and accessories and enjoy live music and hors d’oeuvres. For information or to RSVP, call 877-ROWDIES (769-3437) or email The Tampa Bay Rowdies kick off the 2014 season at 7:30 p.m. April 12 against FC Edmonton at Al Lang Stadium.

Stop by the Saturday Morning Market, back in the Al Lang Stadium parking lot after a week’s hiatus, for a bite then get Rowdies’ during a free Fan Fest inside the stadium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Young fans can run drills with Rowdies players or play soccer on an inflatable field while everyone else can score with player autographs or explore new Midfielder’s Club and Midfielder’s Reserved seating options available for the 2014 Rowdies season.

On Sunday, St. Petersburg continues its love affair with speed as some of the world’s sleekest, most exotic vehicles, motorcycles and watercraft reserve Vinoy Park for valet parking during the 11th annual Festivals of Speed Motorsports display. Spectators can view a one-of-a-kind collection of vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models, custom motorcycles, racing boats, and exotic sports cars parked along St. Petersburg’s sparkling Vinoy Park waterfront from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. See the latest trends in fashion or browse luxury lifestyle displays. Sample gourmet cuisine and wines from on-site VIP caf’s or visit a cigar bar for the finest in luxury smokes with relaxing, smooth jazz for ambiance. Qualified drivers can even get behind the wheel of their favorite luxury vehicle during the Ride & Drive Event at the Vinoy. Tickets are available at

Downtown visitors will see traffic and parking restrictions in place beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday. Bayshore Dr. NE from Fifth Ave. NE to Seventh Ave. NE will be closed to traffic, while parking restrictions will be in place along Bayshore Dr., as well as on both sides of Fifth and Seventh Aves. NE.  Owners of vehicles with Residential Parking Permits are encouraged to find alternate locations during the event to avoid receiving a citation or having their vehicles relocated. Parking permits do not exempt permit-holders from parking in restricted areas during special events. Guests of the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel and Vinoy Place Condos residents will be able to access both locations during the event via a cone line.

Sunday also marks the opening of a new fresh market in St. Petersburg. The Deuces Live Sunday Market, on 22nd St. S. and Ninth Ave., gives residents one more opportunity to experience freshness with a variety of produce, fruit, flowers and plants, seafood to go, meats, cheeses, art, fine crafts and gift items. The weekly market will be open on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m., rain or shine, and features live entertainment each week, along with food trucks and hourly prize giveaways. The Deuces Live Market is held on 22nd Lane S. between Ninth and 10th Aves., which will be closed to traffic.  For more information about the market or to become a vendor, contact Veatrice Farrell, at or 727-433-8237.

Sunken Gardens is in full bloom as thousands of orchids go on display during Sunday’s annual Orchid Festival. Both beginner and advanced orchid enthusiasts and the public are welcome to browse varieties available for sale while learning how to care for the popular hothouse flower. A limited quantity of camellias will be available for sale. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N. Adult admission is $8; $6 seniors (62+); $4 for ages 2-11. For more information, visit

Also on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays wind up the final game of three against Texas at Tropicana Field. Tickets for the 1:40 p.m. game are available at

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.