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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a Tampa Bay Times writer and editor who focuses mostly on events and fun Things to Do. A lifelong St. Petersburg resident, she has been a journalist since 1988 and joined her hometown Times in 1994. She is married and has two sons.

Phone: (727) 893-8595


Twitter: @SharonKWn

  1. This weekend in Tampa Bay: Monster Jam, Sing-Along Grease, Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest


    POWER PLAY: Monster Jam Triple Threat

    The new Monster Jam Triple Threat Series, the first arena-style Monster Jam event, brings truckloads of dirt to Amalie Arena on Saturday. It challenges each competitor to drive three customized high-powered vehicles: Speedsters, ATVs and the famous Monster Jam trucks. The Speedsters and ATVs compete in various obstacle courses and are customized to look like corresponding trucks Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate's Curse, Megalodon, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler and Blue Thunder. Come early for the Pit Party ($15, some free passes available at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. Shows are at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80.

    John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star in the 1978 film, “Grease.”
  2. Here's what it's like inside a writhing, growling Howl-O-Scream audition


    TAMPA — At Busch Gardens, a Howl-O-Scream manager is hunting zombies.

    "We got two Sliders and a Misfit," a producer told after a particularly good group of actors finished auditioning recently. Excellent. Only the top physical specimens qualify for those roles.

    Show manager John Prast has to hire 700 actors by the beginning of September for the annual event at the theme park. He's a little more than halfway there, and so far about 95 percent of the people willing to show up and make fools of themselves have gotten the nod....

    Auditioner Elizabeth Muncy, 22, of St. Petersburg, Fla, acts with other auditioners  during an audition for Howl-O-Scream on Friday, August 11, 2017, at Bush Gardens in Tampa, Fla. This year, Howl-O-Scream will take place from September 22 to October 29. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

  3. The eclipse will be okay in Tampa Bay. It will be really good other places.


    Here's what Tampa Bay residents making special vacations into the path of Monday's solar eclipse could experience.

    It will get dark in the middle of the day. The brighter stars and planets will come out. The temperature will drop. Birds may start chirping.

    "It's really a dramatic spectacle and millions of Americans will be able to see this," said Craig Joseph, astronomy professor and director of the St. Petersburg College Planetarium....

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  4. 5 things to do under $5: Where to see solar eclipse, Bucs training camp


    1 Solar eclipse: Turn around, bright eyes. Monday brings a total eclipse of the sun, and you'll need protective eyewear to see it. The bay area won't be plunged into darkness for a few minutes like the middle of the country, but with solar lenses you can see this rare event. The Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, will have solar filters on telescopes from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Monday and a live stream video of the event from NASA. Also, St. Petersburg College will provide solar eclipse viewers and telescopes with solar filters from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday in the quad area of the campus, near the science building at 69th Street and Fifth Avenue N. Free....

    This photo shows a “diamond ring” shape during the 2016 total solar eclipse in Indonesia. For the 2017 eclipse over the United States, the National Science Foundation-funded movie project nicknamed Citizen CATE will have more than 200 volunteers trained and given special small telescopes and tripods to observe the sun at 68 locations in the exact same way.
  5. Solar eclipse: Where to buy glasses, find safe viewings or travel Aug. 21


    Don't look now, but the whole country is gearing up for the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States since 1979. You'll need special eye wear on Aug. 21 to watch it, or make travel plans if you want to experience it.

    For a few minutes, people in the path of the total eclipse will have the unusual sight of the moon lining up to perfectly block the sun's disk and cast a shadow onto Earth. It has been nicknamed the All American Eclipse, because this is the only land mass the moon's shadow will touch....

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  6. The 12 best things to do in Tampa Bay the week of Aug. 14-20


    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the King's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. 8 p.m. Friday. $53.25 and up.

    Monster Jam Triple Threat: The first-ever arena-style Monster Jam event brings in truckloads of dirt to the Amalie Arena on Saturday. Drivers will be race Speedsters, ATVs and the famous Monster Jam trucks. $15-$80.

    Elvis Presley performing at the old Florida Theater in St. Petersburg, 1956. Times photo by Bob Moreland.
  7. Facing identity crisis and slumping profits, can SeaWorld rebuild?


    ORLANDO — "See how he uses his tail to swim really fast?" a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld told the crowd on a steamy June day. "He uses his powerful muscular peduncle to help him jump really high. Want to see him jump really high?"

    The trainer, Ashley Orcutt, taught a volunteer to point at the water and make a check-mark sign to signal Tiger, the dolphin, to leap. The crowd roared as the animal soared....

    Orca whales perform tricks for guests at the One Ocean show at Sea World in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, June 15, 2017.   CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  8. His job at Art of the Brick? To keep your hands off the Lego sculptures


    TAMPA — Ivan Crawford greets the long line of people that snakes around the sidewalk to the Art of the Brick. He has worked for four years at Amalie Arena, cleaning carpets. But these days, he has found a new calling. He is a herder of crowds.

    Crawford is the first employee to greet guests to the free exhibit of Lego sculptures enjoying a run in Tampa through Sept. 4. In his booming voice, he beckons the group to huddle close and repeat after him:...

    The line on a recent Sunday was out the door and alongside the building to see The Art of the Brick. The Lego art exhibit has hit over 75,000 visitors. Sponsored by the Vinik Family Foundation, it is open Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 4 at 802 E Whiting Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  9. Plan your weekend: Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey, WWE Live, Motown the Musical, Tebow mania


    Plan your weekend


    Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey: The songwriting icon headlines his All The Hits Tour, which hits Tampa's Amalie Arena at 7 p.m. Friday, and he wisely teamed with Carey, one of the best-selling singers of all time. ($36.20 and up)


    WWE Live: The SummerSlam Heat Wave Tour arrives at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Saturday, bringing wrestling superstar Brock Lesnar in a Universal Championship Match with Samoa Joe, among others. Tickets start at $20.

    Empress Theray poses with Pup Dax and Pup Abaddon pose for a photo during the 2016 FetishCon meet and greet cocktail party at the St. Petersburg Hilton. [Thursday, August 12, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  10. Top weekend picks for Tampa Bay: WWE Live, Fetish Con, Tebow mania, Craft Beer Experience



    Unlike the last WWE event in Tampa, Saturday's WWE Live SummerSlam Heat Wave Tour at Amalie Arena is not going to be broadcast. Wrestling superstar Brock Lesnar, left, has been added to the bill, and this is one of the few chances to see the WWE Universal Champion in person since he only makes a handful of appearances per year. There will also be a WWE Championship Match between Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal with the Singh Bros., as well as a Universal Championship Match between Lesnar and Samoa Joe. Also look for AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Smackdown Women's Champion Naomi and many more. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $20 and up. (813) 301-6500.

    Brock Lesnar will be at Saturday’s WWE Live SummerSlam Heat Wave Tour at Amalie Arena.
  11. 5 things to do under $5: Perseid meteor shower, pool party, historic church tour


    1 Perseid Meteor Shower Night Walk: The annual summer night show of falling stars returns, and you can join a night walk on the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park trails followed by star and meteorite gazing (sky conditions permitting). Bring insect repellent and a chair or blanket. 8-10 p.m. Saturday. 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell. $3 per vehicle, or entry with annual park pass. (352) 793-4781....

    The annual Perseid meteor shower streak across the sky in 2014.
  12. SeaWorld reports loss as 'Blackfish' and competition continue to haunt fortunes


    SeaWorld Entertainment reported a second-quarter loss on Tuesday and blamed its attendance woes on reduced national advertising, its persistent "perception issues" over its treatment of orcas and competitive pressures from rival theme parks.

    The company reported a second-quarter loss of $175.9 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. SeaWorld's stock has fallen 28 percent since the beginning of the year....

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011
 [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  13. Owner of Legoland interested in buying Busch Gardens


    Times Staff Writer

    Merlin Entertainments, owner of Legoland, is interested in buying Busch Gardens from its troubled parent company, SeaWorld Entertainment.

    Merlin's chief financial officer disclosed the interest during a conference call with analysts Monday. SeaWorld — which owns 12 theme parks and water parks, including the original Busch Gardens in Tampa and a second Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. — is slated to release its second-quarter results Tuesday morning....

    Busch Gardens could be on the market for a sale, according to market analysts who suggest the trouble parent company of SeaWorld could raise $800 million by selling off its regional parks such as Busch Gardens.

JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times (2016)
  14. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Aug. 7-13


    Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey: The songwriting icon headlines the All The Hits Tour and he has wisely teamed with Carey, one of the best-selling singers of all time. 7 p.m. Friday at Tampa's Amalie Arena. $36.20 and up.

    Concerts: Search hundreds of upcoming shows by date and venue...

    FILE - In this May 20, 2012, file photo, the annular solar eclipse is seen as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains from downtown Denver. The solar eclipse that is cutting a diagonal path across the U.S. next month is a boon for Missouri tourism. Some towns will have more visitors than residents on Aug. 21, 2017. Hotels and campsites are sold out as some communities are preparing for unparalleled numbers of visitors, all to observe about two minutes of near-darkness at the height of the day. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) CER803
  15. Disney World lifts seasonal passholder block-out dates early


    With two classic rides retiring at Walt Disney World, the theme park giant has taken the unprecedented step of lifting the block-out dates a little early for seasonal passholders so they can visit one last time.

    The Great Movie Ride will give way to Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios and Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot, featuring Ellen DeGeneres, will be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. They are slated to close Aug. 13, but the annual summer block-out dates were supposed to run through Aug. 11....

    Epcot's Spaceship Earth. Disney World surprised seasonal passholders by lifting the block-out dates for the month of August instead of Aug. 11. Ellen's Energy Adventure, featuring Ellen DeGeneres, at Epcot is slated to close Aug. 13 to be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

Times files.