5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, March 22

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, March 22.

(1) CentCom Change of Command ceremony

A Change of Command ceremony for the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base will take place on Friday.

During the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, current CentCom commander Marine General James N. Mattis will relinquish command to Army General Lloyd J. Austin III, the last U.S. commander in Iraq.

Gen. Austin will oversee the drawdown of American troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. The United States is scheduled to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

(2) Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg practices

IndyCar drivers participating in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take to the downtown race track for some practice laps on Friday.

Practice sessions will be held at 11:10 a.m. and 2:40 p.m.

An additional practice session will be held on Saturday at 10:25 a.m. before the qualifying process for Sunday's race begins at 2:45 p.m. The race is scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday.

Ticket prices for today and tomorrow begin at $20.

There will be a free shuttle service from Tropicana Field to downtown for all Grand Prix events beginning today. Parking in the Tropicana Field parking lots will cost you $10. The shuttle will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

For more information on all Grand Prix activities, visit gpstpete.com.

(3) NCAA tournament games for Florida teams

The second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament continues on Friday and the three Florida teams participating will play their first games today.

The ACC Champion University of Miami Hurricanes are the #2 seed in the East Region. They will play the 15th-seeded University of Pacific Tigers at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin, Texas. Game time is 2:10 p.m.

Florida Gulf Coast is playing in their first NCAA tournament this year. The Eagles, who are the 15th seed in the South Region, will play the second seeded Georgetown Hoyas at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Game time is 6:50 p.m.

The Gators are also playing in Austin today. Florida is the number 3 seed in the South Region. Billy Donovan's team will play the 14th-seeded Northwestern State Demons. Game time is 7:27 p.m.

For more information, visit www.ncaa.org/marchmadness.

(4) Doodle 4 Google entry deadline

Friday is the deadline for students to enter the Doodle 4 Google contest.

The contest gives students across the country in grades K to 12 use their artistic talent and redesign Google's homepage logo.

The national winner's artwork will be showcased on Google.com and will receive a $30,000 scholarship. The student's school will also receive a $50,000 technology grant.

This year's theme, My Best Day Ever…, encourages students to harness their curiosity to imagine the past, present, or future on Google's homepage.

In 2012, there were more than 114,000 entries.

Katie Couric, Brian Henson, and Disney's Lilo & Stitch creator Chris Sanders are among the judges who will help selected the top 50 designs.

The top 50 doodles will be displayed on the contest site beginning May 2nd so people across the country can vote for their favorites. The winner will be announced on May 22 in New York City.

For more information, visit www.google.com/doodle4google.

(5) Angry Birds Space Encounter

A family-friendly exhibit opens at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Friday. Grand opening ceremonies for the new Angry Birds Space Encounter will occur at 11:00 a.m.

Guests will enter the exhibit through the Angry Birds wormhole. Once inside they can experience any of the seven interactive exhibits.

The Create Your Own Angry Bird will allow you to make a customized Angry Bird on a computer screen.

At the Angry Birds sliding puzzle, visitors will slide pieces of a puzzle to reveal one of the Angry Bird characters.

The Slingshot target game will allow you to launch small Angry Birds at targets.

There is also a Danger Zone mirror maze, a Red Planet Laser Challenger and a Game Zone area.

The new exhibit is included in regular admission to the Visitor Complex. For more information, visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

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