St. Pete to color itself a vibrant, happy holiday weekend

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From traditional to the offbeat, art is in the air this weekend as St. Petersburg is introduced to a holiday assortment of talent at the St. Petersburg Holiday Arts Festival, the varigated couture of The Color Run, and puts the wraps on five weeks of amazing acrobatics from Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA.

Tomorrow through Sunday, nearly 100 artists from across the United States display works in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, drawing and pastels, photography, oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting, printmaking, sculpture and metalwork, mixed media, wearable art, fiber, glass, and wood during the St. Petersburg Holiday Arts Festival. Located on the north lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, juried art show and sale runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

On Saturday, the waterfront explodes in Technicolor as The Color Run makes its sold-out debut as 10,000 runners and walkers, along with four thousand spectators, head to Vinoy Park. The unique family-friendly event gets underway at 9 a.m. Motorists should anticipate road closures, detours or delays. Roads are expected to reopen around 1 p.m. www.thecolorrun.com/stpete.

Roads affected by the event include Fifth Ave. NE; Bayshore Dr. NE;  both the north and southbound lanes of Second Ave. NE (Pier Approach), including the Dolphin parking lot; First Ave. SE; Beach Dr. NE and Seventh Ave. NE.

Also known as the Happiest 5K on the Planet, the Color Run is a one-of-a-kind experience that places more emphasis on a fun, crazy-colored day than athletics. Wearing all white, participants of all ages and abilities will pass
through four color zones on the route – yellow, orange, pink or blue – where a 100% natural and safe, cornstarch-based color power will be dispersed. Finishers are invited to attend a colorful party in Vinoy Park following the
event.  Proceeds from the event benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Participants and spectators attending The Color Run are encouraged to park in one of two city-owned garages:  BayWalk, located at 117 Second St. N., will cost $5, while South Core, located at 100 First Ave. S., costs $3. Those
parking at South Core may hop aboard the Looper Trolley for a short ride to Vinoy Park and the starting line for just .50 per person. No Parking signs will be posted and meters bagged in affected areas prior to Saturday’s event.

Those who park on-street, including residential permit-holders, should relocate their vehicles from the affected areas prior to the event to avoid receiving a citation or possible towing.

Also on Saturday, start the day out with a visit to the Saturday Morning Market for holiday goodies or that special gift; take in a performance by the Pinellas Youth Symphony at the Palladium Theater or jazz up the season with
Nate Najar’s Jazz Holiday. Continue a family tradition or start a new one with The Chocolate Nutcracker at The Mahaffey at 2 and 7 p.m. or enjoy the Dickens Carolers at The Pier from 6 to 8 p.m., before finishing up the day with a visit with Santa and ice skating in North Straub Park from 6 to 9 p.m.

On Sunday, the Tierra Verde Island Singers present their annual Christmas Cantata at the Palladium at 7:30 p.m. with free admission. Donations will be accepted.

Other must-do events this weekend, acrobats from Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA perform final flips inside the Grand Chapiteau in the Tropicana Field parking lot through Sunday. The remaining lineup includes two performances tomorrow and Saturday at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 5 p.m. Get tickets at the Tropicana Field box office or www.cirquedusoleil.com.

Or secure your boarding pass aboard Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition. The exhibit, which runs through March 3, 2013, features shipboard and passenger memorabilia, culled from the debris field of the ill-fated ocean liner, video and 3D images taken during underwater explorations and replicas of passenger cabins, along with a touchable iceberg.’  The exhibition is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 5:30 p.m., except Christmas Day. www.themahaffey.com

For a complete list of weekend and holiday activities in St. Petersburg, visit www.stpete.org/events.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.