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5 things to do under $5 May 31-June 6

1 Transit of Venus: Astronomy buffs are buzzing about one of the rarest astronomical phenomena coming Tuesday, when Venus slips between the Earth and the sun, appearing like a distinct black dot crossing the sun as it sets. There are viewings planned around the bay area, with solar shields affixed to telescopes lest we burn our retinas (don't try to look at the sun with the naked eye). The event comes with a historical tale: Scientists in 1761 and 1769 fanned the globe to use Venus and relatively simple math to calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun. You can see what they saw from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at free watch parties at St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg; on the deck of the Old Snack Shack, 15102 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach; and on the roof of the Richard A. Beard parking garage at USF's Tampa campus, 4202 E Fowler Ave. (There's also a viewing at MOSI's planetarium in Tampa, but it'll cost $20.) You better catch it this time around because it won't do it again until December 2117.

2 ArtOn the Bay: The artists collective known as ArtOn Central brings this outdoor waterfront festival with mixed media artwork by up to 50 artists, children's activities, food and live music by Fowlers Bluff and Cosmic Chameleon. It starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the grounds of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free.

3 Pinellas Pepper Fest: This annual fest for fire eaters brings the heat Saturday and Sunday at Pinellas Park's England Brothers Bandshell Park. There will also be live music, family fun, pepper plants for sale, pepper-related items, crafts, barbecue, a jalapeno pepper eating contest (Saturday), a food fight (1 p.m. both days) and a spicy lolly lick-a-thon (Sunday). It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. $2 admission, 12 and younger free.

4 Saturday Sunsets on the Trail: This biweekly Treasure Island summer party returns at 1 p.m. Saturday with vendors lining about 1 mile of the beachfront trail along with street performers, water slides and various inflatables for the kids near the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. There will be live music by Paul Anthony (1-4 p.m.) and Rendezvous (5-8:30 p.m.). It's free; park on the beach for $5 at 112th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard.

5 Stories in the Park: Join a Largo ranger on a hike in McGough Nature Park and listen to some stories, with snacks for kids. It starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at 11901 146th St. N, Largo. $3 per family.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer

5 things to do under $5 May 31-June 6 05/30/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:30am]
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