Plan your weekend
Metrocon Florida's largest anime convention, Metrocon, started in 2003, offering flashy fun from the worlds of anime, cosplay and Japanese culture and artwork. The event now covers all elements of pop culture that have been influenced by anime. That includes video games, pop music and card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! The weekend will see an anime human chess match, formal Fantasy Masquerade, a rave dance and fire show. Noon-3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $10-$100. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 898-1310.
Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas The Tampa Theater always injects a movie theme and bit of quirk into its annual beer festival and this year revelers are asked to dress as your favorite character from the 1998 Johnny Depp movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas, a psychedelic night including craft beers, snacks and samples from area restaurants. Admission for premium sampling begins at 7 p.m. Saturday with general admission at 8 p.m. $45, $70 premium (advance). 711 Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8982.
Tampa Bay Rays The team has a weekend of family fun planned for their final pre-All-Star Break series against the Toronto Blue Jays. On Saturday, there's a free postgame concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Then on Sunday, all kids get a free Yunel Escobar basketball hoop. Stick around after the game for a DJ Kitty dance party, with games, face painters, children's activities and an opportunity for kids to run the bases. Ticket prices vary by game. First pitches are 7:10 p.m. Friday, 4:10 p.m. Saturday and 1:40 p.m. Sunday. raysbaseball.com.
America II Extreme Mud Wars Weekend warriors will once again crowd into St. Petersburg's Spa Beach to test their mettle in the mud, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Spa Beach at the Pier approach in downtown St. Petersburg. The popular weekend of playing, wrestling and jousting in the mud has sold out for teams, but it's free to watch. Just don't wear your good shoes. It is wet and muddy, so most people just kick off their shoes and go barefoot. There will be concessions, beer and cocktails this year for spectators, with portions of the proceeds going to TASCO, the city's teen program.
Don't be chicken
Cow Appreciation Day How far would you go to get a free meal? If you're willing to strap on some udders and hooves, you can visit any Chick-fil-A restaurant on Friday for Cow Appreciation Day. The rules are that if you're dressed as a cow from head to hoof you'll be rewarded with a free meal. But even a partial costume receives a free entree. Find a location at chick-fil-a.com.
Take the kids
Marvel Universe Live Tampa is making history this weekend as the birthplace of the first Marvel collaboration with Disney and Ringling circus masters Feld Entertainment to bring its comic characters to a live touring stage show. The live-action stunt show runs todaythrough Sunday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday ; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. $40–$120 at ticketmaster.com. (813) 301-2500.
First Downs For Life Charity Basketball Game Standout Bucs receiver Louis Murphy returns to his alma mater, Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, along with NFL, NBA and other celebrity players for the First Downs For Life Charity Basketball Game. Tickets for Friday night's basketball game are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Saturday's football and cheerleading camp is free for participants. Camp registration, tickets for the basketball game and more information is available at firstdownsfl.org.
Chimpanzee Feast on spaghetti and meatballs before eating dessert while watching a screening of Disney's 70-minute nature film Chimpanzee in a benefit for the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary. Bring a camera for photos with animals from the sanctuary. 5:30 p.m. Friday. $12 (reservations required). The Centre, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. (727) 771-6000.
Marvels of Illusion This exhibition at the Dalí Museum examines the artist's most famous mess-with-your-mind technique, the optical illusion. It's designed so that you can just have fun (kids will love it) or go all-out wonk with the science. People can participate in a virtual experience from almost anywhere in the world, too, with a downloaded app. (Go to thedali.org.) The exhibit runs through Oct. 12 at 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive at Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday with extended hours to 8 p.m. Thursday and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $21 adults, $19 seniors, military, police and firefighters, $15 kids 13 to 17 and students with ID, $7 kids 6 to 12. After 5 p.m. Thursday, admission is $10. (727) 823-3767 or thedali.org.