5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, July 11, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, July 11, 2014.

(1) 2014 Metrocon opens

Florida's largest animation convention, Metrocon, opens on Friday at the Tampa Convention Center.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event over the next three days. Metrocon covers all Japanese animation shows (known as anime) and anything influenced by the genre.

The event features a dealer's room, an anime human chess match, video games, movie and TV show screenings, a Fantasy Masquerade, and much more.

Among the special guests attending are voice actors Nolan North (Uncharted series), Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum), Troy Baker (Bioshock: Infinite), and Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender).

Due to the convention traffic is expected to be heavier than normal in downtown Tampa. The City of Tampa recommends people use the South Regional Garage ($10 a day), the Tampa Convention Center Garage (hourly rate) or the Selmon Expressway lots (hourly rate) for parking.

Tickets are $30-35 for a single day or $60 for a weekend pass. For more information, visit www.metroconventions.com .

(2) Rays Thanksmas Day of Volunteering

A number of Tampa Bay area shelters are participating in the Rays Thanksmas Day of Volunteering on Friday.

"Our goal is to expand Thanksmas in some fashion every year. There are an increasing number of people who ask how they can get involved," said Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. "The Thanksmas Day of Volunteering allows for greater participation and also brings attention to the homeless issue at a time of the year when it is not top of mind."

Maddon, Rays outfielders Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier, and third base coach Tom Foley will serve Maddon's traditional Thanksmas lunch at the Trinity Café in Tampa.

Pre-registered volunteers will also help out at various shelters today. As a thank you, they will receive a ticket to an upcoming Rays game and a Thanksmas Day of Volunteering T-shirt.

To donate to Maddon's Thanksmas Day cause, visit joesthanksmas.com/how-to-donate .

(3) Chihuly Collection celebrates its 4th Anniversary

The Chihuly Collection will celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Collection's opening on Friday by offering guests a special admissions deal.

Today the cost to view the amazing glasswork by Dale Chihuly and his studio will be just $5. The collection, located at 400 Beach Drive NE in downtown St. Petersburg, will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Discounted admissions will also include entrance to live glassblowing demonstrations at the Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop, and the Morean Arts Center and Morean Center for Clay.

The Chihuly Collection is presented by the Morean Arts Center. Net proceeds from admission and purchases to the Collection help support and sustain the educational programs at the arts center.

For more information, visit www.moreanartscenter.org/content.php?id=90 .

(4) 10th annual Cow Appreciation Day

Chick-fil-A is offering free food on Friday for Cow Appreciation Day.

The restaurant chain will give a complimentary entrée to customers partially dressed in cow attire. That can include a cow-spotted scarf, purse, tie, hat, shirt or pants.

Chick-fil-A fans who are dressed from "head to hoof" as a cow will instead receive a free breakfast, lunch or dinner combo meal, which includes an entrée, side item and beverage.

Fans can tweet pictures of their costumes using the hashtag #CowAppreciationDay.

The free food offer is only good on Friday. For more information, visit CowAppreciationDay.com .

(5) 7-Eleven Day

July 11 is known each year as 7-Eleven Day.

For the convenience store's 87th birthday, 7-Eleven will be giving away a free small Slurpee drink to customers from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at participating stores while supplies last.

This year 7-Eleven is expanding their annual celebration for an additional eight days. When you download the 7-Eleven app to your smartphone you can receive free food or drink offers each day through Saturday, July 19.

The additional freebies include free M&M candy, Hostess Twinkies, ice cream bars, cookies and more.
 
For more information, visit 7-eleven.com .
 
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