Fun events in Venice, Sarasota and Bradenton

1. Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash

The ninth annual Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash, one of the best barbecue and bluegrass events in the country, returns Thursday with the Meet Our Champions party at Snook Haven featuring Cookin’ with Kids, which pairs Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children and award-winning pit masters in a fun competition where everyone wins at beautiful, Old Florida riverfront restaurant Snook Haven. The Bash continues with a party Friday, and Saturday features a full-day of award-winning barbecue and nationally-acclaimed bluegrass music at Venice Airport Festival Grounds, 610 Airport Ave E., with free admission and parking. 5 p.m. Thursday; Snook Haven, 5000 E. Venice Ave., Venice; $25;

2. Sarasota Film Festival

Festival continues through April 22 with highly anticipated movies fresh from Sundance and South by Southwest mostly being shown downtown at Regal Hollywood, 1993 Main St., as well as Art Ovation, 1255 N. Palm Ave. There are plenty of events happening this week, too, including appearances by Virginia Madsen and Steve Guttenberg, plus the Chill Under the Stars Closing Night Party on Saturday at Five Points Park. Also, don't miss a free screening of the "A League of Their Own," and meet and greet with the real star players portrayed in the film, 7:15 Wednesday at Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club (809 N. Tamiami Trail). Info:

3. TownieFest III at Shamrock Pub

Shamrock Pub, the cozy craft beer bar that throws a huge annual St. Patrick's Day bash on the surrounding grounds, is back with its block party to celebrate the start of summer. The third annual TownieFest will feature a full day of live music starting with local reggae favorites Jah Movement at 3:45 p.m. There will also be Lagunitas and other beer specials, food by Tableseide Restaurant Group and, foremost, the highly entertaining (and competitive) "Townie Cup," three vs. three soccer tournament. 12-11:59 p.m. Saturday; Shamrock Pub, 2257 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; no cover charge; 941-952-1730;

4. Sarasota International Dragon Boat Festival

Watch, for free, races featuring 20 paddlers working as a single unit in a boat not much different than the ones used in ancient China. In addition to the races, there will be food trucks, a beer garden and market place. The family-friendly event also will have games and activities in the interactive kids zone. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; Nathan Benderson Park; 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle; Sarasota; free;

5. Music in the Park at Riverwalk

Realize Bradenton’s free Music in the Park series continues with locally based and nationally acclaimed blues, swing and roots music band Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones. Local craft beer and other beverages and snacks will be available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic baskets, blankets and chairs as well as their leashed dogs. 6-8 p.m. Friday; Mosaic Amphitheater at the Bradenton Riverwalk, 606 Third Ave. W., Bradenton; free; 941-621-6471;

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