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Fun ’n Sun
Clearwater marks 61st celebration
Fun ’n Sun Festival includes music, laughs and draughts
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CLEARWATER – The city of Clearwater’s 61st Fun ’n Sun Celebration runs April 25 through May 4. The 2014 event features a variety of events, including concerts sponsored by WQYK and Q105, Blast Friday and a comedy and beer-tasting event.

The festival gives residents and visitors a chance to celebrate the area’s gorgeous spring weather and beautiful surroundings while enjoying live entertainment and good old-fashioned fun. The annual event features a variety of events for all to enjoy, with a focus on Clearwater’s attractions.

Fun ’n Sun started in 1954 as a way to keep snowbirds in Clearwater just a little longer and has blossomed into one of the Tampa Bay area’s most eclectic and exciting celebrations. Drawing more than 50,000 visitors each year, Fun ’n Sun Clearwater features music, parties, shows and activities that encompass the entire community, from the sugar sand beaches to downtown to the city’s parks.

For information and a complete schedule of events, visit ww.fu­nnsun­clear­water­.com.

Blast Friday

The 61st Fun ’n Sun Celebration will kick off on the streets of downtown Clearwater with Blast Friday, Friday, April 25.

Blast Friday is downtown Clearwater’s free, family-friendly street festival. Bright House Networks is the sponsor of the monthly event that features a variety of vendors, food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages, starting at 5:30 p.m. on the 400 block of the Cleveland Street District. The fun continues until 10 p.m.

Entertainment will feature a performance by Mark Farner with Stormbringer. For information, call 791-7400 or visit www.b­lastf­riday­clear­water­.com.

Q105 concert

This year’s first Fun ’n Sun Celebration concert will be presented Saturday, April 26, at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. Gates will open at 1 p.m. Sponsored by the city of Clearwater and Q105, the lineup will feature a number of pop-rock legends. General admission tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event. Weekend packages and VIP ticketing also is available. Visit funns­uncle­arwat­er.co­m or call 1-800-514-ETIX, ext. 1.

Following is the day’s performance schedule:

• 1:30 p.m. – Kirk McEwen Band
• 3 p.m. – Orleans
• 4:45 p.m. – Atlanta Rhythm Section
• 6:35 p.m. – The Romantics• 8:25 p.m. – Eddie Money

The schedule is subject to change.

Headliner Eddie Money continues to delight new and old fans alike at venues throughout the country.

After signing a recording contract with Columbia Records, Money burst onto the scene with his eponymous debut album in 1977. Fans immediately fell in love with Money’s sound, and the album, which went double platinum, featured hits like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Money followed the success of his debut album with a stream of Top 40 hits, as well as some of the era’s most creative videos for songs like “Think I’m in Love” and “Shakin.” In 1986, Money released “Can’t Hold Back,” which featured the classic, Grammy-Nominated duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight.” The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went platinum and also featured the hit “I Wanna Go Back.”

The Romantics formed in 1977 and are known for having created some of the most influential and beloved rock and roll of all time.

Boasting a Detroit sound, The Romantics favored short hair, short songs and red leather suits. The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1980, featured the hit single “What I Like About You.”

Orleans is best known as the ’70s pop-rock band that authored iconic hits such as "Still the One," "Dance With Me" and "Love Takes Time." Now entering their 41st year of live performances, Orleans has produced a body of work spanning 16 albums and several DVDs.

For more than 30 years, members of The Atlanta Rhythm Section have entertained audiences all over the world with their hits. The members of Atlanta Rhythm Section originally came together as a session band at Studio One, an Atlanta area studio recording artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Al Kooper, Dickey Betts and .38 Special. The band released 15 albums and was paired with contemporaries Lynyrd Skynyrd as the successors to the Allman Brothers – carrying the mantle of Southern Rock in the late 70s. Performing songs that were more musically diverse and having hits that had a softer, pop flavor, they had a sound all their own.

With multiple gold and platinum albums to their credit, the band had top hits such as “So Into You,“ “Imaginary Lover,” ”Doraville,“ “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight,“ “Champagne Jam,” Angel,” ”Do It Or Die” and “Spooky.“

Since 1986 Kirk McEwen has been fronting his own band and opening for the likes of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Cinderalla and Sister Hazel.

McKwen has shared stages with Candlebox, Blue Oyster Cult and Bad Company.

Concertgoers may bring lawn chairs and blankets as well as one sealed bottle of water per person.

Not permitted at the concert are pets (except assistance animals), grills or open flames, glass containers or bottles, coolers, food or drinks, unauthorized vendors, tents, canopies, umbrellas, audio/video recording devices, throwing objects (footballs, Frisbees, etc.), inline skating and skateboards, littering and personal fireworks.

WQYK concert

The Sun Toyota Fun ‘n Sun Celebration concert will be Sunday, April 27, at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. Gates will open at noon. The concert will feature performances by top-notch country music recording artists. General admission tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event. Weekend packages and VIP ticketing also is available. Visit funns­uncle­arwat­er.co­m or call 1-800-514-ETIX, ext. 1.

Following is the day’s performance schedule:

• 12:45 p.m. – John King
• 1:40 p.m. – Blackjack Billy
• 2:40 p.m. – Natalie Stovall & The Drive
• 3:40 p.m. – LoCash Cowboys
• 4:55 p.m. – Swon Brothers
• 6 p.m. – Cole Swindell
• 7:15 p.m. – Rodney Atkins

The schedule is subject to change.

Rodney Atkins’s well-known singles, “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” and “Watching You,” spent weeks at the top of the country music chart and were ranked as the top country songs of 2006 and 2007. Atkin’s platinum album, “If You’re Going Through Hell” also produced two more No. 1 singles.

Atkins has received six nominations from the Academy of Country Music and two from the Country Music Association, winning Top New Male Vocalist from the former in 2006.

Cole Swindell’s career began with his well-know single “Chillin’ It.” Swindell released his self-titled debut album in February of 2014 and has been opening for Luke Bryan on his That’s My Kind of Party 2014 Tour.

The Swon Brothers (Zach and Colton) first hit the national radar charming fans with their incredible sibling harmonies and fun-loving personalities as finalists on Team Blake in Season 4 of NBC’s “The Voice.” Newly signed to the Arista Nashville record label, the brothers returned to “The Voice” in December of 2013 to perform “Later On,” the first taste of the Muskogee, Okla., natives’ upcoming album, helmed by producer Mark Bright.

LoCash Cowboys, the compellingly charismatic duo comprised of Chris Lucas and Preston Brush, have been winning over fans in droves these past seven years with their high energy and over-the-top live performances.

Lucas and Brush co-wrote, with Jaren Johnston, Keith Urban’s multi-week No. 1 hit “You Gonna Fly,” which catapulted to the top of the Country radio charts in a rapid 19-week ascent. With Chris Janson and Danny Myrick, LoCash Cowboys also co-wrote Tim McGraw’s hit “Truck Yeah.”

Natalie Stovall boasts breathtaking vocals and larger-than-life stage presence. Her band’s turbo-charged, take-no prisoners live shows match her energy.

Natalie Stovall and The Drive are realizing their dream each day as they perform for fans around the world and finish up their debut record, set to release in 2014.

Stovall has been playing professionally since she was 10, and performed everywhere from the White House to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her musical influences might span from the high-energy shows of Shania Twain and Garth Brooks to legends like Michael Jackson and Aerosmith, but make no mistake, her country roots run deep.

Blackjack Billy is an American country rock group based in Nashville. They describe their music as “Redneck Rock.” Their debut single, “The Booze Cruise” was independently released in March 2013.

With plenty of ambition, raw talent and business savvy, John King catapulted himself from a little mountain town in Georgia’s Habersham County into the spotlight opening for award-winning artists, playing over 150 dates per year, prior to having a booking agent.

King took a serious interest in guitar when he realized that he could figure out how to play his favorite songs, but then went on to modify them.

His dedication and tenacity paid off in opening slots for nationally recognized, award-winning artists; a feat that is virtually unheard of without a booking agent. In 2013, Black River Entertainment signed John King to their artist roster; along with “Dancing with the Stars” champion and acclaimed singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler and country music superstar Craig Morgan.

Concertgoers may bring lawn chairs and blankets as well as one sealed bottle of water per person.

Not permitted at the concert are pets (except assistance animals), grills or open flames, glass containers or bottles, coolers, food or drinks, unauthorized vendors, tents, canopies, umbrellas, audio/video recording devices, throwing objects (footballs, Frisbees, etc.), inline skating and skateboards, littering and personal fireworks.

Concerts at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Capitol Theatre

Included in the Fun ’n Sun Celebration schedule of events are two performances by living legends.

Boz Scaggs will perform Tuesday, April 29, 7:30 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $85. Call 791-7400 or visit www.a­tthec­ap.co­m.

A casual listen to the Boz Scaggs discography makes one thing obvious: The artist is both a musical seeker and a man of sizable talent as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. His explorations in blues and R&B, rock and jazz have produced lasting work and a career that has brought with it acclaim, a loyal following and an enduring respect among musicians.

Scaggs, a Grammy Award-winning rock legend, has released 21 albums, two of them gold and three of them platinum. In addition to touring extensively with his own band, Scaggs continues to work with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald as The Dukes of September, most recently a playing a 47-city tour to rave reviews, performing their own material along with R&B and soul classics.

Santana will take the stage Tuesday, April 29, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets start at $89. Call 791-7400 or visit www.r­uthec­kerdh­all.c­om.

Delivered with a level of passion and soul equal to the legendary sonic charge of his guitar, the sound of Carlos Santana is one of the world's best-known musical signatures. For more than four decades – from Santana's earliest days as a groundbreaking Afro-Latin-blues-rock fusion outfit in San Francisco – Carlos has been the visionary force behind artistry that transcends musical genres and generational, cultural and geographical boundaries. For more than 40 years and almost as many albums later, Santana has sold more than 100 million records and reached more than 100 million fans at concerts worldwide. To date, Santana has won 10 Grammy Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project, 1999’s “Supernatural” (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Smooth”).

In 1998, the group was ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whose website notes, “Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock’s true virtuosos and guiding lights.” Santana’s last album, “Shape Shifter” (2012) was the first for his new label, Starfaith Records and debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard Top 200.

Health expo

The Fun ’n Sun Clearwater Health Expo will be presented Wednesday, April 30, at Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road.

The event will be presented prior to and during the Clearwater Threshers Minor League Baseball Game. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a Wellness Walk – a one-mile walk around Bright House Field – at 11 a.m. BayCare will offer health screenings and exhibits from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 1 p.m., the Clearwater Threshers take on the Brevard County Manatees.

Tickets are $5. Call 467-4457.

The city of Clearwater and Clearwater Threshers also will host Home Run Happy Hour from 5 to 9 p.m., at Frenchy’s Tiki Bar at Bright House Field.

Happy hour specials will include $3 wines, wells, and bottles; $4 calls, $2 drafts and $1 PBR cans. A portion of the proceeds will benefit charities of Phillies Florida. Food will be provided by Abe’s Place Tap & Grill.

A Home Run Derby will be presented from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Registration is limited. Email Doug Kemp at dkemp@threshersbaseball.com or call 712-4316.

Drive-in movie

The 2014 Fun ’n Sun Celebration will include a nostalgic drive-in movie event on Friday, May 2, at the Joe DiMaggio parking lot, 2450 Drew St., Clearwater.

The movie will begin at 8:15 p.m. Admission is a suggested $5 donation per car to benefit the volunteer group.

Moviegoers will watch “Frozen” projected on a four-story-tall inflatable movie screen. Audio can be heard through FM radio. There also will be a seating area with speakers available.

The movie is set in the kingdom of Arendelle. Arendelle is cast into eternal winter by the powerful Snow Queen Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel). Elsa’s sprightly sister Anna (Kristen Bell) teams up with a rough-hewn mountaineer named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his trusty reindeer Sven to break the icy spell. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee co-directed this Walt Disney Animation Studios production based on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fairy tale “The Snow Queen.”

Laughs and Draughts

Laughs & Draughts will pair comedy with beer tasting on Saturday, May 3, at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater.

Headlining the event will be Shawn Wayans. The lineup also will feature Julian McCullough and Boomer Nichols.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. The beer tasting will run 6 to 8 p.m. The comedy show will be presented from 8:30 to 10:15 p.m.

This event is for adults age 21 and older. Guests will be required to present identification at the gate.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. Ticket price includes four beer tasting tickets and general admission to the comedy show. Additional beer tasting tickets will be sold at the event – one for $2, three for $5 and 15 for $20. One ticket is good for a beer sample, and three are needed for a full beer.

In partnership with Cigar City Brewing Company, a few of the many selections that will be available to taste will be Cigar City Maduro, Cigar City Jai Alai, Cigar City Helles, Cigar City Florida Cracker and many more.

For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.f­unnsu­nclea­rwate­r.com.

Fireworks finale

The end of this year’s celebration will feature the Fun ’n Sun Fireworks Finale on Sunday, May 4, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach.

The finale will be part of Clearwater’s Sunsets at Pier 60 nightly sunset celebration. The free family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment, weather permitting. Sunset Cinema also will be screening a movie, beginning at dusk. The fireworks show will take place during the intermission.

Attendees may bring a blanket or low-sitting lawn chair. Popcorn and soft drinks will be available. For information, visit www.s­unset­satpi­er60.­com.
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