A caravan of pedal-powered, semi-aquatic contraptions speeds its way through the streets (and, on occasion, the waters and mud pits) of Baltimore, in pursuit of prizes celebrating mediocrity, spectacular failure and chronic inventiveness. See what some of our most creative minds do with this year's theme of "Mysteries & Tall Tales." The race kicks off at 10 a.m. May 5 in front of the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, then winds its way through 15 miles of Baltimore neighborhoods (including Federal Hill, Canton, Patterson Park and more) before ending back where it started, usually around 3:30 p.m. Free. kineticbaltimore.com.
'Soul the Stax Musical'
The world premiere of a musical based on Memphis-based Stax Records, one of the cornerstones of 1960s soul and rhythm & blues. Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, saying goodbye to Baltimore after seven years as Baltimore Center Stage's artistic director. In previews May 3-9, opens May 10 and runs through June 10 at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. $20-$79. centerstage.org.
Tattoos and the people who love them will be on glorious display May 4-6 at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. Maybe the time has come to get one yourself? 2 p.m.-midnight May 4, 11 a.m.-midnight May 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. May 6. $20 daily, $40 for a three-day pass; free for kids under 12. villainarts.com.
M3 Rock Festival and M3 Southern Rock Classic
Merriweather Post Pavilion kicks off its 2018 season with three days of rock for every taste (OK, at least most). The M3 Rock Festival, May 4-5, includes performances from Queensryche, Kix, Ace Frehley (late of Kiss), Night Ranger, Nelson and more. The music starts at 5 p.m. May 4, 11:15 a.m. May 5; $35-$75 daily, $60-$850 for both days. May 6's Southern Rock Classic features Pure Prairie League, Georgia Satellites, Atlanta Rhythm Section and more. Starts at 11:30 a.m. $30-$200. merriweathermusic.com.
The return of Baltimore's most genteel tradition, but with a few modern twists promised. You've got the stylish hats and the delicious lemon sticks, not to mention the beautiful flowers (ah, spring). There's also a dog show, a dance contest and lots of live music. All that, plus the chance to enjoy Mount Vernon at its most welcoming. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. May 4 and May 5, centered around the Washington Monument, Charles and Monument streets. Free. flowermartmd.org.
The co-host of "All Things Considered" talks about "the challenge of covering the news in this wild political climate." 7:30 p.m. May 2 at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert. $38-$45. (For $120-$140, get reserved seating and entry to a private reception beginning at 6 p.m.) wypr.org.
Fallen Heroes Day
Maryland's police and correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical and rescue personnel will be saluted in a ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. May 4 at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Road, in Timonium. Honor guard units from across the state will join mounted units and motorcycle police in the tribute, which will include remarks from Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; WBAL radio's Rob Lang will be the keynote speaker. Free. dulaneyvalley.com.
More than 100 acts spread over two weeks — the first (May 2-6) devoted to improv and sketch, the second (May 9-12) to stand-up. All sorts of funny stuff, including workshops. $10 per show, $15-$60 for daily or weekend passes. Zissimo's Bar, 1023 W. 36th St. charmcitycomedyproject.com.
Towsontown Spring Festival
Baltimore County's largest annual festival, and the rare chance to enjoy central Towson without having to contend with vehicular traffic (thousands of walkers, but no cars). Includes music, food, vendors, carnival rides (for $1-$5 a pop), a beer garden and plentiful good will. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 5, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. May 6, centered around Washington and Pennsylvania avenues. Free. towsontownfestival.com.
Baltimore Comic Con Spring Fling
Bide your time until September's Baltimore Comic Con with this mini-con, featuring lots of vendors selling lots of old comics. Guests, as well, including Frank Cho, Mark Morales and others. And … free admission! 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 29 at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 W. Nursery Road, Linthicum. baltimorecomiccon.com/springfling.