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Top things to do this weekend: USF Game Con, cat videos, Day Out With Thomas

Associated Press ** ADVANCE FOR WEDNESDAY DEC. 3 ** This is a frameshot provided by Nintendo of their game “Mario Kart: Double Dash!”    The game has a new twist on go-cart racing: there are two characters per cart instead of one. One person drives up front while the other mans the rear, selecting various power ups and using them to slow down or eliminate other racers. (AP Photo/HO
Associated Press ** ADVANCE FOR WEDNESDAY DEC. 3 ** This is a frameshot provided by Nintendo of their game “Mario Kart: Double Dash!” The game has a new twist on go-cart racing: there are two characters per cart instead of one. One person drives up front while the other mans the rear, selecting various power ups and using them to slow down or eliminate other racers. (AP Photo/HO
Published Mar. 6, 2019

LEVEL UP: USF Game Con

The Video Game Club at the University of South Florida is hosting its largest event of the year: the Florida Collegiate Gaming Convention. The club has held numerous parties for people to play multiplayer video games together, but this event is branching out to both casual and competitive gamers of all ages. The 2018 League of Legends World Champion­ship attracted more viewers than the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four combined. So there could be a crowd at what's casually known as USF Game Con in the Corral gymnasium at the Yuengling Center. In addition to Jackbox, Mario Kart and themed areas with retro and tabletop gaming, there will be a foam fighting arena set up by the college's Foam Fighting Club, an Xbox gaming and virtual reality section run by the Microsoft Store and a variety of anime and video game-themed cars from Anime Cars Of The World. Free, $5-$10 to compete in tournaments. 3-10 p.m. Saturday. 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Register at smash.gg/FLGameCon.

PURR: CatVideoFest 2019

Self-care is important, so we aren't going to judge you for sneaking over to your favorite YouTube channel to relax in the middle of the day to watch kittens cavort. Each year, the geniuses at Oscilloscope Laboratories put together CatVideoFest, a curated compilation reel of the latest cat videos culled from countless hours of animations and videos that end up as classic internet meme material. Instead of squinting at your phone, you can see them at Tampa Theatre, which will donate 10 percent of proceeds to kitties in need at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. $8-$11 for screenings at 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday. 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $8-$11. (813) 274-8286. tampatheatre.org.

CLASSICS: Lorrie Morgan, Cirque Vertigo

Busch Gardens' longest-running concert series Real Music Real Masters is winding down, and this week brings platinum-selling country artist Lorrie Morgan (Five Minutes, What Part of No) Thursday through Saturday at the Stanleyville stage. With performances at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the series ends with the same act that kicked it off in January: the eccentric Cirque Vertigo. Featuring the Wallenda Duo, the production includes aerial feats and balancing acts. They will perform Monday through March 16. All shows are included with admission; $89 online. 2 and younger free. 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386. buschgardens.com.

STEAM AHEAD: Day Out with Thomas

The Florida Railroad Museum in the tiny town of Parrish in eastern Manatee County is getting ready for its most popular event of the year, a Day Out With Thomas, this weekend and March 15-17. Close to 20,000 people turn out to the museum every year for the event. The main attraction is Thomas the Tank Engine, who takes children and adults on a 25-minute ride that starts every hour. The friendly steam engine with a human face has been around since The Railway Series books debuted almost 75 years ago. He came to American television in the 1980s and has been in perpetual reruns ever since. Railway director Sir Topham Hatt will be there, plus crafts, story telling, videos, train play tables, coloring, temporary tattoos and, of course, a jovial engine who aims to be "very useful" — the show's highest compliment. $19-$23 for 2 and older. Departure times begin at 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 12210 83rd St. E. (866) 468-7630. frrm.org

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  2. Dave Bautista, shown here at his South Tampa office, has been named grand marshal of the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    The Guardians of the Galaxy star will lead the Pirate invasion along with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus, who recently served in the Middle East.
  3. Halsey performs during the European MTV Awards in Seville, Spain, in 2019. [Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP]
    A mix of new hits and blockbuster blasts from the past.
  4. Roberto Gomez, of Puerto Rico, dressed as Darth Vader, attends the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on Dec. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. [CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
    The massive fandom was built on the strength of a universe that continues to expand beyond the movie theater.
  5. Fashions by De Johnea Bianca, a designer involved in the Fashion Market that will take place in Tampa on Jan. 18. [Courtesy of De Johnea Bianca]
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  6. Clay Goodison, of Brandon, pulls sons Parker and Davis and wife Krissy in a pirate ship float after the Gasparilla Preschooler's Stroll in Tampa in 2015. The stroll took place before the Gasparilla children's parade on Bayshore Boulevard. [Tampa Bay Times (2015)]
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  10. Rod Stewart performs at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, in 2018. [BALAZS MOHAI  |  AP]
    Starting Friday, you can secure a spot at a few upcoming shows.
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