tourism

graphicSIGHTS & SOUNDS OF OLDSMAR

Like so many of Florida’s small town communities, the Top of the Bay area likes its culture "home grown," and boasts a full line-up of unique family-oriented festivals, fairs, concerts and special events. But the area’s close proximity to Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater also gives local residents access to a full menu of professional entertainment, art, sports and culture … allowing them to enjoy the "best of both worlds."

The Oldsmar Chamber’s annual Fine Wine & Food Festival — held in late January at East Lake Woodlands Country Club — is a celebration of award-winning vintages from around the world, as well as the finest gourmet foods that the Tampa Bay area has to offer. Also on display are works by the region’s top local artists, and the night concludes with a charity auction which raises funds for the Chamber’s college scholarship program.

February is highlighted by the annual Mardi Gras gala, a New Orleans-style celebration of fantastic Cajun food, Dixieland jazz and costumed revelry to benefit the Oldsmar Cultural Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization which is working to build a Performing Arts Center to serve the Top of the Bay region.

Oldsmar’s longest-running community festival — Oldsmar Days & Nights — takes center stage on the waterfront at R.E. Olds Park each March, featuring three days of non-stop live music, arts & crafts, 5K and 10K runs, a Saturday morning parade, classic car show and a full carnival & midway. The weekend is highlighted each year by Sunday afternoon’s "Wing Wars Over Tampa Bay" - a Buffalo Wing Cook-Off and mini-blues festival that brings thousands to the bayshore.graphic

In April the special event focus is on the Westchase area, where the Top of the Bay Wine, Blues and Cigar Festival brings together an eclectic mix of wine lovers, music buffs and cigar aficionados for an afternoon of relaxation under the warm Florida sun.

Throughout the year the Oldsmar Cultural Arts Foundation presents a series of gallery showings, as well as monthly "Coffeehouse Concerts" and quarterly performances by the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra. The highlight of the summer, however, is Celebrate Oldsmar, a Labor Day Weekend event at R.E. Olds Park that features fun and games for the kids, "oldies" rock music for the parents, and a spectacular fireworks display for the enjoyment of all.

Then it’s back to school — and back to work — until late October, when the most popular special event of the year comes to town … the annual Top of the Bay Oktoberfest. Oldsmar’s version of this classic Bavarian folk festival features authentic German food and drink, non-stop "oom-pah" music under the Oktoberfest Bigtop, Bavarian folk dancers and German sing-a-longs, as well as an endless string of strange, bizarre — and hilarious — audience participation contests. Festival-goers are encouraged to try their hand at stein-holding, log-sawing, keg-hurling, chicken-dancing and bratwurst-eating, and everyone gets into the act!

Oldsmar’s Parks & Recreation Department sponsors the last two events of the year: the annual Halloween Kids Carnival and Winterfest, a pre-Christmas event which features a variety of Holiday-themed activities … including sled rides down a man-made mountain of snow!graphic

Throughout the year, nearby Ruth Eckerd Hall plays host to an outstanding lineup of orchestral performances, Broadway plays, country, rock, jazz and pop concerts, offering something that’s sure to satisfy your quest for culture. The Tampa Bay area is also home to a half-dozen top museums, including the Salvador Dali Gallery, the Florida Aquarium, the Museum of Science & Industry and the Florida International Museum.

Top of the Bay pro sports fans have a full, year-round menu to choose from, including Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the NFL’s Buccaneers, and the Lightning of the National Hockey League. On top of all that, a half-dozen pro baseball teams play their Spring Training games in the area, including the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

Add to that the world-renowned Gulf beaches of Clearwater, the Lowry Park Zoo, Adventure Island and Busch Gardens, and it’s plain to see … the Top of the Bay is the center of the Arts & Entertainment Universe!

 

 

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