Tampa Bay Comic Con: Emperor Palpatine (actor Ian McDiarmid from Star Wars) as well as Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) and The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus (Daryl) and a host of other fan favorites will be at the Tampa Convention Center Friday to Sunday, as well as costume contests, cosplay, panels and lots of shopping. $30-$40, $60 for three days, 12 and younger free. Visit tampabaycomiccon.com.
The Beach: Starting Friday at Tampa's Amalie Arena, play in an ocean of 1.2 million white plastic balls in this art installation that's also a play zone created by the New York design firm Snarkitecture. Free timed tickets and parking available at thebeachtampa.com. Runs through Aug. 25.
Great Brain Wash: St. Petersburg's Straub Park turns into a 5K foam pit with Slip 'N Slides and numerous water obstacles for this race with music, dancing, food and beer garden Saturday. Benefits the Brain Tumor Alliance ($45 advance, $50 day of). For more info, visit braintumoralliance.org/brainwash.
Music: Go Head Over Heels for the Go-Go's farewell tour at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre on Tuesday ($71.25-$121.25). Thursday, slinky soulman Maxwell will be melting hearts at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall ($45-$133). Friday, Country Boy Hank Williams Jr. plays the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa ($22.50-$98). Saturday, pop-punk trio Blink 182 takes the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre ($25-$75).
Comedy: Last Comic Standing Season 2 winner John Heffron brings his likeable act to Tampa's Improv Comedy Theater Thursday-Sunday ($17-$20). Chaotic, anarchic comic Eric Andre, host of his own Adult Swim talk show with comedian Hannibal Buress, performs Saturday at the Orpheum in Ybor City ($18-$25).
Kids and family
Bucs training camp: Fans can enjoy free admission, discounted concessions, merchandise tents, appearances by Bucs cheerleaders and Captain Fear, and autograph sessions for children. There's also a kid zone with interactive football skills stations and other family friendly activities at One Buc Place in Tampa from 8:45 to 10:50 a.m. today through Aug. 9 and also Aug. 13, 15 and 24. Go to buccaneers.com/trainingcamp.
Back-to-school fair: Starting at 10 a.m., the first 500 kids at Tampa's WestShore Plaza mall get a free book bag filled with school supplies and goodies. Live entertainment, hands-on activities and giveaways every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
More to explore
Find ideas for making date night special at tampabay.com/thingstodo.