5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, April 3, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, April 3, 2014.

(1) USF's Take Back the Night 2014

University of South Florida students, professors and staff will take a stand against sexual violence on Thursday night during the school's 8th annual Take Back the Night event.

Studies estimate one in four women and one in 33 men are victims of sexual violence.

During the event, USF Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Miller will lead men in the REAL (Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League) Men's Promise to end sexual and relationship violence. The promise is a commitment to publicly stand against violence towards women and the culture fostering it.

Event attendees will then walk together around the USF campus in a silent march before holding a candlelight vigil to honor survivors of sexual violence.

The Take Back the Night event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the USF Marshall Student Center Amphitheater.

(2) Eyes of Freedom Memorial

The Eyes of Freedom Memorial rolls into the Tampa Bay area on Thursday.

The traveling memorial depicts the fallen members of Lima Company 3/25, one of the hardest hit units during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It features 23 life-size portraits of those who died while serving their country in a tribute to all those who answered the call to service.

The 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines lost forty-eight marines and sailors while on duty in Iraq's Al Anbar province in 2005.

Artist Anita Miller created the exhibit which was first unveiled in the Ohio State House Rotunda in 2008. It has since traveled around the country.

You can see the Eyes of Freedom Memorial at Veterans Funeral Care at 15381 Roosevelt Boulevard in Clearwater through Saturday.

Public exhibit hours are today from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For more information, visit www.EyesofFreedom.org .

(3) Tour de Force fundraiser

The Denny's in Brandon will host a benefit for the upcoming Tour de Force charity bike ride on Thursday. The restaurant will donate 20 percent of all its sales from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. towards the charity ride.

Local law enforcement will also be on hand to greet customers and sell 2014 Tour De Force patches for $5. One hundred percent of proceeds from the sale of the patches directly benefit the families of fallen officers.

The 17th annual Tour de Force charity bike ride is raising funds to benefit the families of the four Florida law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year.

Denny's is serving as the title sponsor of the Tour De Force ride for the third consecutive year. Approximately 500 riders will participate this year. The five-day ride begins Sunday in Sunny Isles.

The Denny's is located at 1301 West Brandon Boulevard in Brandon.

(4) 17th annual Festa Italiana Weekend

The 17th annual Festa Italiana Weekend in Ybor City kicks off on Thursday night.

The Wines of Italy is the official opening party for Festa Italiana. Guests to the event will have the chance to sample of 70 Italian wines and enjoy Italian cuisine by Carrabba's Italian Grill.

There will also be a silent auction and live entertainment by Città Dei Templi from Sicily.

General admission tickets are $60. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at The Italian Club of Tampa at 1731 East 7th Avenue in Tampa.

Festa Italiana Weekend continues on Saturday in Ybor City with the annual Bocce Ball Invitational, Italian Idol singing competition and the Homemade Vino Competition.

The main event on Sunday features dozens of Tampa Bay's top restaurants and catering companies serving delicious tastings in Ybor City's Centennial Park from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information on Festa Italiana, visit www.festaitalianatampa.com .

(5) Branford Marsalis Quartet

Grammy Award saxophone player Branford Marsalis brings his Branford Marsalis Quartet to The Palladium in St. Petersburg on Thursday night.

The four-member jazz ensemble also features Joey Calderazzo (piano), Eric Revis (bass), and Justin Faulkner (drums).

They will perform original compositions and classics by jazz masters.

Marsalis is best known for leading The Tonight Show with Jay Leno band for three years. He has collaborated with artists such as Sting and the Grateful Dead.

Marsalis has also performed with symphony orchestras and composed scores for Broadway shows.

Tonight's show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39. For more information, call (727) 822-3590 or visit www.mypalladium.org .

To learn more about Branford Marsalis, visit his website at www.branfordmarsalis.com .

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