Are you ready for the weekend? Us too.
If you don’t have plans yet, we’re here to help.
Here’s a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa Bay and beyond.
Are we missing a big event? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun for everyone
It’s slime time: Get ready for a day of ... slime therapy?
The gooey, gloppy amusement known as slime has gained a massive online following over the past several years as a hobby and a form of stress-relief with kids and adults alike.
“Slime Blowout,” the area’s first slime convention, will feature a slime-making station, slime selling and trading opportunities, classes, contests and a chance to meet some internet-famous “VIP slimers.”
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Robarts Arena, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. $25 and up; $10 for parents and guardians. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
Pumpkin fests: Fruitville Grove Farm Market’s 31st annual Pumpkin Festival features a free petting zoo, playground, live music, decorated photo spots and pie-eating and costume contests. Parking and admission also are free.
Activities in the $1-$10 range include pony rides, carriage rides, a wildflower maze, a kids fun zone and pumpkin painting.
Food trucks and food vendors will be on site every day of the festival.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. Fruitville Grove, 7410 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.
▪ Hunsader’s 28th annual Pumpkin Festival offers crafts, live music, hayrides, pumpkin games, a corn maze, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo, train rides and more family-friendly activities.
There’s also a bounty of food and desserts to try, such as homemade ice cream and pumpkin pie.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. Hunsader Farms, 5500 County Road 675, Bradenton. Admission: $10. Children 10 and under: Free. Parking: $5.
Bradenton Farmers’ Market: It’s back! Stroll Old Main Street, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, shop for crafts, listen to local live music, check out cooking demonstrations and more, every Saturday at the Bradenton Farmers’ Market.
Details: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. 400 12th St. W., Bradenton. Free.
Celtoberfest at Motorworks: Motorworks Brewing will put a tartan spin on Oktoberfest celebrations with “Celtoberfest.”
The two-day event will feature a biergarten market and lots of live Celtic music.
Food trucks will serve seasonal dishes, and Motorworks’ bartenders will be slinging pints of this year’s signature Oktoberfest lager.
For those who wish to commit Oktoberfest sacrilege, wine and cocktails will also be available.
The party is family and dog friendly, and kilts, dirndl and lederhosen are highly encouraged.
Details: 2 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton.
“The Great Love Debate” comes to McCurdy’s: This interactive comedic experience pits ladies against gents in a (mostly) friendly crossfire on love, sex, dating and relationships in 2019.
The show will be recorded for a live audience presentation of “The World’s #1 Dating & Relationship Podcast.”
Details: 7 p.m. Monday. McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Ages 18 and up. $25.
Theme park fun
Creatures of the Night at ZooTampa at Lowry Park: For spooky yet family-friendly theme park fun, look no further than ZooTampa’s annual “Creatures of the Night” spectacular in Tampa.
The event promises “eerie family frights” without the horror and gore. Attractions include a fairy tale trail, a meet-and-greet with Medusa, Halloween-themed animal shows and a “Pumpkin Palooza.”
Buy a ticket for a full day at the zoo, plus the event, for about $10 more per person. The zoo is also offering a special deal: pay for one day and come back through the end of 2020 for free.
Details: 4-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., in Tampa. $26.95 on Friday and $29.95 on Saturday.
NEW IN TOWN — Pizza and pours: As downtown Bradenton impatiently awaits the opening of the new Oak and Stone restaurant on First Avenue West, the company has quietly opened another new dining concept across town.
Oak & Stone Fastfire, recently opened in Bradenton, offers a quick and casual take on the restaurant’s menu with 13 pizzas, three salad options and stone-fired, slow-roasted wings.
Standout specialty pizzas include a buffalo chicken pie and a Cuban-sandwich inspired pie.
Then there’s the beer wall. It’s a pour-your-own affair; select from 26 brews and four wines on tap. If you need a little help choosing, a “beertender” can make recommendations.
Oak & Stone Fastfire is at 6220 14th St. W. in Bradenton.
EAT THIS — Set sail with the captain: Captain Brian’s Seafood is a local treasure and one of the Bradenton area’s oldest restaurants under continuous ownership.
Fresh and simple seafood offerings include smoked fish, seafood chowders, fish tacos, shellfish, baked stuffed shrimp and dinner plates of wild-caught Florida fish like red snapper.
Captain Brian’s Seafood is at 8421 N Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.
DRINK THIS — A pint of pumpkin spice: If you haven’t quite had your fill of pumpkin-flavored everything yet, head to Naughty Monk Brewery for a sip of the beer-maker’s surprising take on pumpkin brew this fall.
The brewery recognizes that, yes, a pumpkin spice beer may be super mainstream or whatever (the beer is dubbed #BASIC) — but they can still pull it of in style.
The pumpkin and yam beer is crafted with lactose and real pumpkin for a creamy, dreamy flavor.
Naughty Monk Brewery is at 2507 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. in Bradenton.
DON’T FORGET DESSERT — Ice cream on the island: Is there ever a bad time for ice cream in Florida? We don’t think so.
Island Scoops, formerly known as Cream of AMI, serves up cones of delicious, frosty goodness on Anna Maria Island.
Handmade ice creams come from Sarasota’s Big Olaf Creamery.
Baked goods like brownies, cupcakes and pies, as well as candy and vintage sodas, are new additions to the menu since the business changed owners earlier this year. According to customer reviews, the new desserts are, well — icing on the cake.
So grab your sweets at Island Scoops and head to the beach; it’s just a quick hop across the street.
Island Scoops is at 103 Gulf Dr. N. Unit B in Bradenton Beach.
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Live music highlights
Concert for a cause at Joyland Country Music Night Club: Joyland is a great place to catch local and national country acts in Bradenton — and get in some line dancing.
Passerine at Cafe in the Park: Get a little folksy with Passerine’s contemporary Americana sound that combines dobro, fiddle, guitar and harmonizing vocals.
Details: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday. Cafe in the Park, 2010 Adams Lane, Sarasota. No cover.
Boss Hawg Band at Clancy’s: The Boss Hawg Band brings “down home country, hard rock and southern-fried boogie sounds” to stages throughout Bradenton.
Details: 10 p.m. Friday- 2 a.m. Saturday. Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub, 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton. No cover.
Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones at Darwin Brewing: Doug Deming and his band are lifelong blues musicians. Experience and energy meet when they take the stage.
Details: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday. Darwin Brewing Company and Taproom, 803 17th Ave. W., Bradenton. No cover. Info: darwinbrewingco.com.
Ari and the Alibis at Blue Rooster: Ari and the Alibis have a funky fusion sound that combines jazz, blues, funk, soul and rock into a smooth sonic concoction.
Details: 8-11 p.m. Saturday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. $10.
Klick Band at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille: Klick Band is a five-piece rock outfit inspired by the early rock and roll legends of the 1960s and ’70s.
Details: 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton, 101 Riverwalk Blvd., Bradenton. No cover.
Undine Shorey Duo and Scott Blum Duo at Bradenton Farmers’ Market: Bradenton Farmers’ Market features live music at both ends of Old Main Street.
Undine Shorey is a multi-talented Florida musician who plays violin and guitar and sings.
Jazz drummer Scott Blum will perform with vocalist and pianist Tony Castellano Jr.
Details: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday. 400 12th St. W., Bradenton. Free. Info: realizebradenton.com/farmers_market.