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CHEAP THINGS TO DO

1 FREE BALLET CLASSES: Children in prekindergarten to grade 12 can get free ballet classes at the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Beginner and intermediate classes are offered Saturday and Aug. 18 and 24. Registration is required by calling (813) 222-1263.

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2 SCI-FI JULY: The Studio@620 now has an annex, an artsy shopping and entertainment space at 645 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. Saturday at 5 p.m. the place will be teeming with robots, rockets and strange creatures as artists tackle the theme of Sci-Fi in July. Featured artists include Peter Abrami, CyberCraft Robots, Wendy Durand, Alicia Pixie Head and Timm Mettler. Free admission.

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3 CLOTHING SWAP: Gulfport's Tuesday Fresh Market is holding a special clothing swap this Tuesday. In addition to music, vegetables and fruit, baked goods and crafts, from 9 a.m. to noon, shoppers may bring up to five gently used items. You get a voucher for each piece to use to shop for somebody else's castoffs. Any leftover clothes will be donated to CASA. The market is on Beach Boulevard in Gulfport.

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4 FLORIDA SNAKES: When they slither, do you squirm? Two free talks this week will help us learn to appreciate native snakes and the difference between welcome and unwelcome cold-blooded neighbors. Saturday at 1 p.m., there is a free talk at Weedon Island Preserve on how to identify venomous snakes and tips on the habitats they live in. At the Chinsegut Nature Center in Brooksville they will have live snakes and natural history information, presented by professional snake wrangler Jim Mendenhall at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Call to reserve a seat at (352) 754-6722. The Chinsequt center is at 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, Brooksville, and the Weedon Island Preserve is at 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg.

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5 TROPICAL PLANT FAIR: The USF Botanical Gardens will help you replenish your landscape with heat-loving tropical plants. There will be lots of talks about growing tips, numerous vendors, and food and drinks for sale. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the gardens at 12210 USF Pine Drive in Tampa. It's $5, free for kids under 12 and members. On Sunday, there is a Pepper Beauty Contest. If you bring a decorated pepper for the contest that day you get in free, and there will be prizes for the winners. See www.cas.usf.edu/garden.

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