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5 things to do under $5 March 21-27

1Masters of the Weird: The headliners for this year's USF Humanities Institute's annual Sci-Fi event are a husband and wife duo who literally wrote the book on "weird." Jeff and Ann VanderMeer recently published the critically acclaimed anthology The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories and Best American Fantasy. A World Fantasy Award winner, VanderMeer and his wife, Ann, who is editor of the horror magazine Weird Tales, will visit classes during the day Tuesday and hold a public reading with a reception and book signing at 6 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday at 1 p.m. they will lead a panel on feminist representations in science fiction. Free. University of South Florida Marshall Student Center, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 974-3180.

2Tampa Bay Pet Expo: Shorty Rossi and Hercules, above, from Animal Planet's Pit Boss will be there, as will adoptable dogs. Bring your own pooch for the costume contest, agility demonstrations, dog karaoke, free nail trimming, discount vaccinations and pet care tips. Meet authors of dog-related books and get their autographs. It's free, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Free. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (727) 493-5290, ext. 108.

3Great American Camp-Out: Lake Park in Lutz is opening up the park Saturday to let visitors bring the family to learn how to set up a tent, cook outdoors and other basic camping skills. Planned activities include crafts and games. Families must have at least one child age 12 or younger. Starts at 2 p.m. $2 per vehicle (up to eight people). Lake Park, 17302 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz. Call ahead to register at (813) 635-3519.

4GreenFest: For green thumbs and newbies, this gathering in Henry B. Plant Park in Tampa will have shopping options for new plants and accessories for your garden. You can also learn about Florida fruits, water gardens, the "frugal gardener," hummingbirds and other talks by the experts at the Friends of Plant Park's annual nature and plant festival. Admission is $3, 12 and younger free at 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 250-9356. It runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

5Planes, Trains and Automobiles: You won't get Steve Martin, but you will see real and remote control planes, model trains, fire engines and classic and exotic cars in this celebration of transportation from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Also, computer flight simulators, a kids play area, flyovers, free flights for kids and a K-9 demonstration. Free, parking $5. Plant City Airport, 4007 Airport Road. (813) 734-3707.

By Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer

5 things to do under $5 March 21-27 03/20/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3:53pm]
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