It’s your weekend: Here are some of the top events happening around Bradenton

The 2019 Florida State Fair happens Feb. 7-18 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Photo courtesy of Florida State Fair

Florida State Fair

The Manatee County Fair kicked off carnival season in Florida; now it’s time to head to Tampa for the big show.

The Florida State Fair begins Thursday. This year’s offerings include a plethora of entertainment options, including circus and magic acts, helicopter rides, animal shows (alligators, Clydesdales and giraffes, oh my) live music and the usual midway attractions.

New and adventurous fair foods available on the midway this year include a mac and cheese quesadilla, taco grilled cheese, Cuban pizza and the biggest mozzarella stick you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Details: Thursday through Feb. 18. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa. Kids ages 6-11: $6-$7. Adults: $11-$13. All-day ride armband: $25-$35.

Info: floridastatefair.com.

Flyboarders will be on display Saturday during the Bradenton Area River Regatta along the Manatee River. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Bradenton Area River Regatta

By water and land, the Bradenton Area River Regatta arrives this Saturday to entertain you.

See powerboat racing, flyboard spectacles and vintage boat displays on the beautiful Manatee River.

Live entertainment starts at noon in Bradenton and Palmetto. Bradenton natives We the Kings will headline at Bradenton Riverwalk and country kings The Andy Pursell Band will headline in Palmetto.

Pyrotechnic wizards Zambelli International will light up the night with a musically choreographed fireworks display to close the regatta.

Best of all, it’s free to attend and family-friendly.

Details: All day Saturday in Bradenton and Palmetto. Free.

Info: bradentonarearegatta.com.

The Nelons, a southern gospel group from Atlanta, are one of many national acts heading to Palmetto for Bill Bailey’s 2019 Winter Gospel Music Convention, which runs through Saturday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. Photo courtesy of Bill Bailey Concerts

Gospel music convention

Are you ready to sing?

We hope so, because one of the biggest gospel music conventions in the country is underway in Palmetto.

Bill Bailey’s 2019 Winter Gospel Music Convention will bring six days of uplifting and spiritual music to the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Popular gospel acts from throughout the South will perform.

The 10 a.m. chapel services and 1:30 p.m. matinee shows are free to attend.

Purchase individual tickets for nightly shows or get a pass for the whole convention; group rates are also available.

Details: Through Saturday. Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. $5-$145.

Info: billbaileyconcerts.com.

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Myron Jackson of the Tampa-based Kuumba Dancers and Drummers, an ensemble that performs traditional African music around Florida and beyond. Photo courtesy of Manatee County Public Library

African-American History Month at Manatee Libraries

The Manatee County Public Library System is honoring African-American history with a month full of special events.

This week during Coffee and Music Friday at the South Manatee Library, visitors will be treated to an hour of traditional African folkdance, music, songs and storytelling as Myron Jackson of the Kuumba Dancers and Drummers performs.

Details: 2-3 p.m. Friday. South Manatee Library, 6081 26th Street W., Bradenton. Free.

Info: bit.ly/manaprblackhistory.

Parrish Playworks and the Florida Railroad Museum are teaming up to present a comedic murder mystery train ride on weekends in February and March. Photo courtesy of Parrish Playworks

Mystery train

All aboard the mystery train in Parrish, where you can play a part in a comedic murder mystery on wheels.

The Parrish Players are conspiring with the Florida Railroad Museum to present this fun and fanciful ride that also incorporates real local history into the experience.

Details: Feb. 8-10, Feb. 15-17, Feb. 22-24 and March 1-3. $49.50-$59.50.

Info: 941-776-0906. frrm.org.

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The 35th annual St. Barbara Greek Festival will be held Thursday-Sunday at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Sarasota. Bradenton Herald file photo

St. Barbara Greek Festival

The 35th annual festival is where old-world customs and traditions meet, with authentic Greek food completing the experience.

Enjoy live entertainment while shopping unique vendors.

For those who feel a yen for culture or crave fine dining, this festival has you covered.

Visitors of all ages will find a variety of things to do at the festival. The authentic, homemade cuisine boasts a variety of traditional recipes brought directly from Greece by St. Barbara’s Greek cooks who came to America decades ago.

Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and noon-8 p.m. on Sunday.

Details: Thursday-Sunday. St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 7671 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. $4 for adults, free for children under 12. There is no charge for admission on Thursday.

Info: 941-355-2616. StBarbaraFestival.org.

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