1. Fun

5 things to do under $5 in Tampa Bay: Meteor shower, steampunk bash, cheap movie nights

The annual summer Perseid meteor shower, which began July 17 and ends Aug. 24, will hit its peak in the pre-dawn hours this week, bringing more than two dozen visible shooting stars per hour. [Getty Images]
Published Aug. 7

1. Perseids meteor shower: The annual summer light show peaks this week, so set your alarm and set up a lawn chair to look for some shooting stars. The Perseids, which began July 17 and will last through Aug. 24, are expected to produce about 25 visible meteors per hour, fewer than in past years because this year the moon will be very close to full during the peak nights of Sunday through Tuesday. You can already see some now, but the predawn hours starting Friday through Sunday will have less light pollution coming from the moon. The best viewing times are after midnight and before dawn, advises. It can be tough to find a dark corner to look into the northeast sky around here, so some Tampa Bay stargazers take a boat offshore or plant blankets to watch from a dark beach or the park near the airfield on Davis Islands.

2. End of Summer Steampunk Bash: Get out your top hat and old-timey goggles. Matt Knowles, author of Tales From Nocturnia, serves as emcee for a popup steampunk party. Steampunk is a style of clothing, gadgets and fiction that's easy to spot but sometimes hard to describe. Usually set in a Victorian era of steam-powered gadgets, it resembles the science fiction of Jules Verne, but post-apocalyptic and Old West themes also set in. This party will have two costume contests, tea dueling, parasol dueling, a professional photographer, food and drink specials. Free. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. StoneFire Tavern, 10637 117th Drive N, Largo. (727) 914-6881.

3. Movies and trivia: Clearwater's Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre heads into the final stretch of its summer movie series with two cheap date night options this weekend. Friday brings The Matrix, with a pre-movie Matrix trivia contest at 6 p.m., so bone up on what the blue pill and the red pill do. And at 3 p.m. Sunday, it's the classic A Star Is Born. No, not the one with Lady Gaga, and not the one with Judy Garland, and not the original from 1937. It will be the 1976 A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in shaggy '70s hair and clothes — the one that gave us the song Evergreen. $5, $9 with unlimited popcorn and soda. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

4. Bubble Performer: Blaise Ryndes, an 18-year-old entertainer from Land O'Lakes, has performed at Disney World, local hospitals and last season's America's Got Talent, where he showed off amazing bubble sculptures and a long "bubble tube" that engulfed Tyra Banks. Now, catch his bubble artistry locally. Free. 2 p.m. Saturday. Land O'Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway. (813) 929-1214.

5. Smurfs Sing-Along: As Papa Smurf would say, "It's the Smurfiest weekend of the year." The Westfield shopping malls in Brandon and Citrus Park will be having Smurf-themed entertainment with dancing, singing, face painting and games. The first 200 kids in line get a free Smurf surprise. Free. 11 a.m. Saturday at Westfield Citrus Park and 11 a.m. Sunday at Westfield Brandon.


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