5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

(1) 19th annual Kick Butts Day

Schools across the State of Florida will participate in 19th annual Kick Butts Day events on Wednesday.

Students will demand tobacco companies stop marketing products to them and encourage their elected officials to do more to protect them from tobacco products.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. Experts say it is responsible for the deaths of 480,000 Americans each year.

Ten student delegates from the Polk County SWAT Chapter will be in Tallahassee today to meet with state lawmakers. The students will explain the growing support in their communities to stop the sale of candy flavored tobacco products.

While in the capital, the teens will meet with Florida Department of Health Secretary Dr. John Armstrong.

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Florida, visit www.kickbuttsday.org .

(2) Rep. Dennis Ross town hall meeting

Congressman Dennis Ross is hosting a town hall meeting at the University of South Florida on Wednesday.

Ross will spend time talking to his constituents giving a brief Congressional update and taking questions.

Ross represents Florida's 15th Congressional District, which includes parts of Tampa around USF, Lutz, Brandon, Plant City, Lakeland and Bartow.

The town hall meeting will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at the University of South Florida.

For more information, call Rep. Ross' Lakeland office at (863) 644-8215.

(3) 8th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival

The 8th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) opens at the Tampa Theatre on Wednesday night.

One hundred films will be screened at the Tampa Theatre, Cinébistro at Hyde Park and Muvico Centro Ybor 20, Tampa Art Museum and Firehouse Cultural Center during the five-day festival.

"GIFF has become a festival where filmmakers want to premiere, feature and launch their work," said Joe Restaino, GIFF Program Director. "We'll have 35 feature films screening this year, and out of those 35 we have: 11 World premieres, two U.S. premieres, 15 Florida premieres and six Tampa premieres."

Tonight's opening night film will be world premiere of There's Always Woodstock. The movie is directed by Rita Merson and stars Brittany Snow, Katey Sagal, Ryan Guzman, Allison Miller, Jason Ritter, Rumer Willis and James Wolk.

For more information about the Gasparilla International Film Festival or to view the full list of featured films, visit GasparillaFilmFestival.com .

(4) Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Media Karting Competition

Members of the media will participate in the 4th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Media Karting Competition on Wednesday.

The private event begins at noon at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto.

IndyCar Series drivers who will participate in the karting competition include Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin. Drivers from other racing series competing in St. Petersburg during Grand Prix weekend on March 28 to 30 will also participate today.

Five-year-old Sebastian Wheldon, the son of late IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon, will lead an honorary pace lap to start the media karting race.

For more information about the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, visit www.gpstpete.com .

(5) Free Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee

Participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants throughout the Tampa Bay area will offer a free 16 ounce freshly-brewed iced coffee on Wednesday.

The offer coincides with the last full day of winter.

The iced coffee will be available in both Original Blend and Dark Roast blend. Dunkin' Donuts says customers can customize their drink with one of eight flavors: French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Toasted Almond, Blueberry, Coconut, Cinnamon, Caramel and Raspberry.

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