All in one day: skatepark opening, Hats Off Gala, free comic books

The first Saturday in May is traditionally one of the biggest days for events of the year, and Saturday, May 3 is no exception

First, it's Free Comic Book Day. That means comic shops all over the country have about 50 different free comics that they're giving away. Here in Hampden, my shop, Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, will start giving away comics as soon as the doors open at 11 a.m.. And it's a variety of titles from The Simpsons to Archie to Hello Kitty to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy to DC's Teen Titans.

This will be the sixth year we also publish our own free comics anthology called Mutant, featuring gag comics by a bunch of our friends, as well as local artists and cartoonists. We'll also have a free comic called Barrio Mothers that you won't find at most other comic shops.

Most comic shops in the Baltimore area participate, with a variety of different events. In Roland Park, Shananigans Toy Shop, 5004 B Lawndale Ave., will also be participating. Supplies go quickly, so visit as many stores as you can and see if you can collect all the comics!

And then, from noon to 9 p.m), the Skatepark of Baltimore, 1121 W. 36th St.) is finally having its grand opening celebration after nearly a decade of fundraising and bureaucratic red tape. There will be a live graffiti wall, a silent auction, skate demos and more. Flying Dog will be selling $4 draft beers and there will be live music by The Slow Jerks, McRad, Signal Fire, J. Pope And Funk Friday, The Solicitors, JJ Damage And The Bandits, The Slapsticks, The Good Funk and DJ Brian Gilbert. It all goes down at Roosevelt Park, at Falls Road and 36th Street.

And later that night, from 6:30-10:30, the Hampden Family Center is holding its fourth annual fundraising gala, Hats Off To Hampden, at Gutierrez Studios, 2010 Clipper Park Road. The Food Market is catering and The Wine Source is serving libations. The John LT Band will provide music to dance to. There will also be a silent and live auction. And, of course, all the proceeds go to the Hampden Family Center. 

And, of course, there's a whole lot more going on in the area beyond May. So there's no reason not to go out and enjoy one of the biggest Saturdays of the year.

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