On Saturday you can sip a mint julep while reading a comic book in your Princess Leia bikini, all before heading off to Khaotic Kon. Or if you'd rather, shake a margarita in a cheesy sombrero on Sunday for Cinco de Mayo. Here are your options:
It's the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and at least two places will have big crowds. At Tampa Bay Downs you can see the race on the track's 30-foot video screen. Derby post time is 6:24 p.m.; the track's own races start shortly after noon. Admission is $2, $3 clubhouse at 11225 Race Track Road, Tampa; (813) 855-4401. At Derby Lane, every TV at the greyhound track will be tuned to Churchill Downs. Doors open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Free admission at 10490 Gandy Blvd., St. Petersburg. (727) 812-3339.
Comic Book Day
Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, when participating shops around the world give away comic books to anyone who comes by. No, you can't just pick whatever you want. For example, Emerald City Comics in Seminole and Clearwater will be offering up to three free comics from a select list, while supplies last. Other participating stores include Demolition Comics in Largo and Tampa and Beyond Books in Largo. Activities and times vary by location, but expect meet and greets and costumed characters. Go to freecomicbookday.com to find the shop nearest you.
May the Fourth Be With You
Saturday is May 4, and Star Wars geeks know what that means. In a galaxy not so far away — the Bricks of Ybor — you will find lots of your kind in costume. There also will be cutouts to pose with, face painting and goodies for kids dressed up like little Yodas and such. In a galaxy a little farther away — Legoland — guests can relive the Star Wars saga in the park's newest expansion of Miniland USA where the six live-action Star Wars movies, as well as a scene from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, are created out of more than 1.5 million Lego bricks. There's also a Yoda Scavenger Hunt and other activities for Lego Star Wars Days, Saturday and Sunday at the park in Winter Haven. Tickets are $75, $65 seniors and ages 3-12. Toll-free 1-877-350-5346.
More costumes! Anime, video game and sci-fi fans get together for three days of games and partying in this convention celebrating its second year. Most of the panels are pretty anime-focused, so n00bs may not fare well at one of several Hetalia panels. But there also will be a J-Pop karaoke party and a role-playing experience of a host club, where a group of attractive, attentive cosplayers will cater to guests' whims. This year features voice talents from Fullmetal Alchemist and Ouran High School Host Club. Tickets are $25 a day at the door Friday and Saturday, $20 Sunday; $45 weekend pass; $10 per day for kids at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel, 10221 Princess Palm Ave., Tampa. See khaotickon.com for details.
Cinco de Mayo
To complete the weekend, Sunday is Cinco de Mayo. We could go into the origins of the holiday at length, but who cares? All you need to know is tequila.
Cinco De Mayo Street Festival and Dance Party: Dunedin's annual street festival with a Latin costume contest, salsa dancing and lessons, a parade of 20-foot-tall puppets and live music. The party takes to the street at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Casa Tina Gourmet Mexican and Vegetarian, 365 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-9226.
Pick a bar: Cinco de Mayo is a good excuse for promos and drink specials at many spots. Red Mesa Cantina (128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg) continues its weeklong celebration with drink deals, live music and raffles through Sunday. There's a mustache contest Saturday and DJs all weekend at the Green Lemon (915 S Howard Ave., Tampa). And at the Lodge (516 S Howard Ave., Tampa), you'll be rewarded if you wear a sombrero for Cinco de Drinko. No cover charge at all three.
Cinco De Mayo Latin American Celebration: Waterfront Vinoy Park takes on a Latin flair with live music, dance lessons, a car and monster truck show, food trucks (including Cuban Sandwich Festival winner Michelle Faedo's On the Go) and a beer garden. It's $10 advance, $13 at the gate, 11 and younger free from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-800-514-3849.
Cinco de Mayo in the Gardens: Here's something you might not expect: a Latin-themed concert featuring the carillon accompanied by a six-piece trumpet ensemble. It's part of a new Cinco de Mayo celebration at Bok Tower Gardens that also includes Mexican food and drinks. It's $5 per carload from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. (863) 676-1408.