TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, January 18.
(1) Foreclosure settlement claim deadline
Friday is the deadline for eligible Florida borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure to submit a claim to be part of the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement.
Eligible borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011 had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Those five mortgage servicers agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia.
The settlement, which took effect in April, earmarked approximately $1.5 billion in payments for 2 million borrowers nationwide. The exact payment will depend upon the total number of borrowers who decide to participate.
Borrowers who have questions or need help filing their claims can receive aid by calling (866)430-8358 or visiting www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com . You can also file a settlement claim form online at that website.
Eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer.
(2) 28th annual MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards Banquet
Martin Luther King Jr. week in St. Petersburg kicks off with the 28th annual MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards Banquet Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The event features Gospel recording artist Derek Smith and pastor and world-renowned vocal artist Wintley Phipps as the keynote speaker.
The banquet is being held at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater at 12600 Roosevelt Boulevard.
The 28th annual MLK National Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drumline Extravaganza is taking place Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at Tropicana Field.
The 28th annual MLK Drum Major for Justice National Parade starts at 11:00 a.m. on Monday. The Parade begins at 3rd Avenue and Martin Luther King Street. From there it proceeds north to Central Avenue, east to Bayshore Drive NE and north to 5th Avenue NE before disbanding at Vinoy Park.
For more information on all Martin Luther King Jr. Week activities in St. Petersburg, visit www.mlknationalparade.org .
(3) 2013 Sunshine Blues Festival
The inaugural three day Sunshine Blues Festival makes its debut at Centennial Park in Fort Myers on Friday.
The three-city, two-stage festival will then move to the Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton on Saturday before ending at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on Sunday.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is headlining the festival at all three locations. The group won the Grammy Award for Best Blues Album last February for their latest album, Revelator.
New Orleans blues legend Dr. John will be part of the festival lineup on Saturday and Sunday.
Also performing will be contemporary guitar legend Walter, Louisiana slide wizard Sonny Landreth, award-winning British blues guitarist Matt Schofield, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Bobby Lee Rodgers, and multiple Grammy Award-winner Joe Louis Walker.
The first 100 people to the festival on Sunday at Vinoy Park will receive a free breakfast.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sunshinebluesfestival.com .
(4) Tampa Bay Rays spring training tickets
Single-game spring training tickets for all 17 Tampa Bay Rays home games at Charlotte Sports Park go on sale on Friday.
The Rays begin their fifth spring training season in Charlotte County with a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, February 23.
Tickets go on sale online today exclusively at raysbaseball.com at 10:00 a.m.
At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, tickets will also become available via phone at (888) FAN-RAYS or (800) 745-3000, at the Charlotte Sports Park and Tropicana Field box offices, the Rays store in downtown Tampa and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Single-game tickets range in price from $10 to $27.
The Rays first workout day for pitchers is Wednesday, February 13. The first full-squad workout is Sunday, February 17.
(5) Tampa Bay Lightning free lunch
The Tampa Bay Lightning want to get their fans for Saturday night's season opener on Friday. The team is offering a free lunch to fans today before an open practice.
The free lunch will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Tampa Bay Times' West Plaza. It will include hot dogs, Italian sausages, hamburgers, chips, canned sodas and water.
The event will also feature a 50% or more off merchandise warehouse sale on the West Plaza. The Lightning Girls and ThunderBug will mingle with fans and be available for photo opportunities.
Free parking will be available in the West Lot on a first-come-first-served-basis.
Fans will be allowed to watch the open practice in the lower bowl of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The practice starts at 11:30 a.m.
The Lightning open their 48-game abbreviated 2013 scheduled on Saturday night when they host the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m.
For more information, visit