5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, December 7

TAMPA BAY - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, December 7.

(1) Tampa Bay International Auto Show

The latest and hottest cars invade Tampa beginning on Friday for the three-day 2011 Tampa Bay International Auto Show.

This year's show at the Tampa Convention Center will be 20% larger and feature more vehicles and manufacturers, including an expanded lineup of luxury brands. It offers prospective buyers a stress-free look new cars, trucks and SUVs, including the latest alternative fuel vehicles.

Many exciting models will be appearing at the auto show including the BMW M5, Chevrolet Spark, Dodge Dart, FIAT 500 Abarth, Ford C-MAX, Honda Accord, Mazda CX-5, Mini Cooper Coupe, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Toyota Prius c.

Attendees will be able to test drive more than 40 models from a dozen manufacturers at the show.

Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin will be signing free autographs in the Ford display area today from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Today is also Military Day. Any military personnel with any Department of Defense ID will be admitted free in honor of Pearl Harbor Day.

Sunday is Family Day. All children 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Kids will enjoy special appearances by Spider-Man, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Captain America, from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Admission is $9 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (62 and over) and children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and under are free.

Show hours are Friday from 12:00 to 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For more information or to save $1 off the admission price by purchasing an E-ticket in advance, visit www.AutoShowTampa.com .

(2) Grand Central District holiday shopping promotion

St. Petersburg's Grand Central District is hosting a 3-day holiday shopping promotion beginning on Friday to raise money for a good cause.

Today through Sunday, 10% of qualifying sales made at participating merchants will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay. Shoppers must mention the promotion at the time of purchase for their sale to qualify.

For more information and a list of participating merchants, visit www.grandcentraldistrict.org .

There will be additional holiday fun in the Grand Central District on Saturday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. There will be free trolley rides to transport shoppers along Central Avenue, a gift-wrapping station, Hubby Day Care and holiday carolers.

St. Petersburg's Grand Central District is pedestrian friendly and can be easily reached via the Central Avenue Trolley, which makes several stops within the District.

(3) 46th annual Festival of Lights Holiday Boat Parade

Madeira Beach hosts its 46th annual Festival of Lights Holiday Boat Parade on Friday night.

Decorated boats will meet at John's Pass at 6:30 p.m. and travel through the Intracoastal Waterway and canals to City Hall.

Boat assembly begins at 6:00 p.m. in the water behind the Madeira Beach Recreation Field. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway.

Traffic over the causeway drawbridge will be delayed for up to 15 minutes while the parade passes under the bridge.

Over $1,000 in prizes will be awarded to the best decorated boats in two categories.

For more information, call (727) 391-9951 or visit www.madeirabeachfl.gov/pages/madeirabeachfl_marina/bp/index .

The Boat Parade Award Ceremony will be held at the Daquiri Shak at 7:00 p.m. on Monday December 10.

(4) 30th annual Jingle Bell Run

Boley Centers hosts their 30th annual Jingle Bell Run in downtown St. Petersburg on Friday night.

The wacky parade features runners, walkers, families and pets who don bells and neon necklaces for a 3-mile or 1-mile run/walk along the St. Petersburg waterfront.

Small paper lanterns light the paths as musicians play holiday tunes along the route. The event begins at The Pier at 7:30 p.m.

The cost to participate in the Jingle Bell Run is $25 for adults and $20 for children under 12. Online early registration is closed, but you can registers tonight at the registration table behind The Pier building.

Shirts, jingle bells and neon necklaces will be guaranteed to the first 3,500 registered participants. Sizes are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, call (727) 821-4819 or visit www.boleycenters.org/special-events/jingle-bell-run.html .

All proceeds from the Jingle Bell Run go directly to Boley Centers' program and services. Boley Centers is a private, non-profit organization serving people with mental disabilities, the homeless and youth in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Sarasota Counties.

(5) 5th annual Miracle

on Cleveland Street

Cleveland Street in Clearwater will be transformed into a winter wonderland during the 5th annual Miracle on Cleveland Street on Friday night.

The street will feature two toboggan slides with real snow, holiday crafts, live music from Christmas choirs and a visit from Santa. Every 30 minutes snow will fall in front of the Capitol Theater.

There will be a variety or vendors at the street fair selling food, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages.

Inside the Capitol Theater, there will be three free screenings at 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. of Will Ferrell's 2003 holiday classic Elf.

The festivities will extend from the 400 block of Cleveland Street down to the waterfront in Clearwater. On-street events begin at 5:30 p.m. and last until 10:00 p.m.

For more information, visit www.clevelandstreetdistrict.com .

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