Free and cheap family fun
We are almost ready to start annoying our kids by singing "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year," but try to resist the temptation as they try to squeeze the last weeks of freedom out of summer. Here's some free and cheap ways to do it this weekend.
Recharge your Pewter Power at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Night Practice With Fireworks. It’s the final Bucs training session that the public gets to watch, and they are moving it into the big house at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by a fireworks show to kick off football season. No tickets are required. Hotdogs and soft drinks will also be available for $1. Go to the team web site for information on practice sessions today and Friday.
Now it’s really time to LOL and make it count. The JELL-O “Give it a Giggle” Tour travels across the country with a mobile recording studio to seek out the best giggles from anyone ages 7 and up. Bill Cosby selects the best giggle to be featured in a national TV spot for — you guessed it — JELL-O later this year. Auditions are also accepted online. Free. Tuesday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000.
Dress as your favorite comic book hero or sci-fi legend for a chance in the costume contest at the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention (parents too!). Guests include Greg Horn (Blackest Night: Wonder Woman), Michael Golden (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero), Alex Saviuk (Spider-Man), Chuck Dixon (Batman), Steve Scott (X-Men) and others on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. at the Minnreg Building, 6340 126th Ave. N, Largo. There will be 85 tables of comics, videos, toys, action figures, anime, Star Wars memorabilia, artwork, trading cards and more. It’s $5 (12 and younger free). See the convention's website for a schedule and more details.
This might be for the dads, but Tony Dungy, the Super Bowl-winning coach and Tampa favorite, will be signing copies of his new book The Mentor Leader at the Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood. The book, which discusses his secrets to building teams that win, tells potential super bosses, “Your only job is to help your players be better.” Dungy will sign books, but leave your footballs and Bucs jerseys at home because he won’t be signing memorabilia. Wristbands will be distributed beginning at noon, and the coach will be there at 3 p.m. Wednesday, at 11802 N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
This will get the attention of your teen: See two Twilight saga films for free this weekend on Clearwater Beach. The Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival will show Twilight on Friday and New Moon on Saturday, starting at 8:30 p.m. both nights. Bring your blankets, low lawn chairs, or towels. Concessions available. (727) 434-6060; www.sunsetsatpier60.com.
Put on your walking shoes and stroll through the artists’ studios of Ybor City on Saturday for the Ybor ArtWalk from noon to 6 p.m. A special attraction this month is meeting artist Olga Londono at the Singing Stone Gallery, 1903 N 19th St., where she will be demonstrating her techniques of painting on glass. Other shops will be offering discounts during the ArtWalk, and We-Lit (a poet-driven drum group) will be performing on the sidewalks from 1 to 3 p.m. Free.
The Fab Four from Down Under have been making preschoolers wiggle and giggle with their catchy tunes since 1991, though the Wiggles didn’t start regularly appearing on the Disney Channel until 2002. Did you know the oldest Wiggle is the purple one, Jeff, at age 57? Which explains why they’re always yelling “Wake up, Jeff!” The youngest is new guy Sam, 32 — the Wiggle from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Ha! Is Wags the Dog from there, too? So jump in your big red car (minivan, whatever) and take the wee ones to see the Wiggles Wiggly Circus Live, including Dorothy the Dinosaur, Capt. Feathersword and Henry the Octopus, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $12-$77. (727) 892-5798.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer
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Photo: SCOTT KEELER | Times Mike WIlliams, a fourth-round pick out of Syracuse, makes a catch over the middle from a Josh Freeman pass in practice last week. Williams is already penciled in as a starting receiver.