Today's best bets: March 16

March 16, 2013 

13th annual Art At The Ranch Fine Arts Festival: Main Street, Lakewood Ranch

The 13th Annual Art at the Ranch Fine Arts Festival will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16-17 featuring works by nationally acclaimed artists including painters, photographers, jewelers, sculptors, potters, and more. There will be free art demonstrations and food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-746-2862 or visit www.artcentermanatee.org.

Irish Celtic Festival: Central Park, Lakewood Ranch

A lineup of "Lucky Dogs" will lead off the Irish Celtic Festival in Central Park at Lakewood Ranch 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 16. Filled with entertainment from bands, dancing and children's activities, the day culminates with live action by the Manatee Irish Hurling & Gaelic Football Club at 3 p.m. in Summerfield Park. Other entertainment includes the Celtic Misfit Band, Andy Burr & Friends, the Highland Dancers and Bagpipers from Riverview High School in Sarasota, the Irish Dancers from the Drake School, and the New World Celtic Dance Team. Children's activities, Irish food and crafts will also be available.

Heritage Days Open House: Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton

Walk back in time and enjoy a leisurely day among moss-draped oaks to see life as it was from another era at the Manatee Village Historical Park Heritage Open House 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 16. The event will feature world famous entertainers, novel exhibitions, as well as the usual lineup of heritage artisans, interpreters and craft vendors and members of the Tin Can Tourist Vintage Trailer and Motor Coach Club displaying vintage vehicles, the Sugarcreekers Model Railroaders with an N-gauge model railroad layout, the Carousel Organ Association of America with various outdoor mechanical instruments and live music by Bob and Sheila Everhart performing old-time and traditional acoustic music. Admission and parking are free.

"Day Out With Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013": Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish

Bring your preschoolers to take the ride of their lives at "Day Out With Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013," with 25-minute train rides departing every 45 min., rain or shine, beginning at 9 a.m. through 3:45 p.m. daily March 16-17 and 23-24. The event provides children of all ages the opportunity to climb aboard and take a ride with Thomas as well as participate in Thomas & Friends themed activities. There will be an inflatable slide, bounce house, face painting, inflatable snail obstacle course, G-scale train display, hayrides, a mini-tire train ride and more. Tickets: $18 for children ages 2 and older. Information: 941-776-0906 or visit www.ffrm.org.

Annual Pinecraft Days Arts and Craft Festival: Pinecraft, intersection of Bahia Vista Street and Beneva Road, Sarasota

The 17th Annual Pinecraft Days, an arts and craft festival will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 16 featuring over 50 exhibitors, many form the local Amish and Mennonite communities. There will be homemade quilts, books, crocheted items, scented candles, jewelry, leather, carved wood, home baked goods and much more. Admission is free. Information: 941-366-1234.

Sarasota County Fair: Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota

The 77th Annual Sarasota County Fair will be 2-11 p.m. Fridays, noon-11 p.m. Saturdays, noon-10 p.m. Sundays, and 2-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays through March 24. The event features arts, craft, steer and swine shows, plant sale, mechanical rides and live entertainment at Crackerland by the following artists: Ober Rivers, David Smash, Drum Studio Allstars, Trapezoid, Myakka, Ship of Fools Unplugged, Steve Arvey, Passerine, Bill Schustik, and George Worthmore. Admission: $8 adults, $4 seniors ages 55 and up, active military and children ages 6-17, children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Fairgrounds parking is free. For a full schedule and more information, call 941-365-0818 or visit https://sarasotafair.com.

Florida's Largest Spring Home Show: Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa

Florida's Largest Spring Home Show will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 17 and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. March 16. The events features over 900 exhibits showcasing new and affordable ways to repair, remodel, furnish, or landscape a home. Visitors can shop for thousands of innovative products at special home show only prices and get a jump on outdoor projects for spring and learn from the experts. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors ages 77 and up, children ages 11 and younger are admitted free. Information: 813-621-7821.

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