Things to do in May
Spring officially started last month, but it doesn’t quite feel like spring until May, with cook-outs, the kick-off of concert season and more warm days. So get out of the house and try something different, just for this month.
March behind fifes and drums to the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center , Strip District, for the opening of the “Clash of Empires” display. 10 a.m. (412) 454-6000
Mystery Lover Bookshop ‘s Festival of Mystery is like Christmas for local fans of the genre. This year’s event features more than 40 writers at St. Irenaeus Hall , Oakmont. 5 p.m. (412) 828-4877
Don’t forget to shop — Mother’s Day is less than a week away. Consider giving a gift that lasts: a shopping spree, with gift certificates to her favorite stores. Or, pay for someone to come in and clean the house for a year to give her a break.
Take a mid-week country music escape with Dwight Yoakum , who plays at 8 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse , Burgettstown. www.pepsiroadhouse.com
Raise your class and drink some vino. Pittsburgh Wine Festival opens today. Wine seminars and tastings at area restaurants. Runs through Sunday. www.pittsburghwinefestival.com
Down a margarita in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, commemorating Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Take a chance to win a new, more macho grill with a contest through Men’s Health magazine. The winner gets a Viking Outdoor Range valued at more than $6,400. www.menshealth.com/cda/article/0,2823,s1-5-0-0-2369,00.html
National Provider Appreciation Day . Pick up the kids on time and take a moment to thank the child-care provider, educator or teacher who looks after them.
The River City Brass Band highlights some of the best American composers in its last series of the year. It opens tonight in McCandless. 8 p.m. (412) 322-7222
Learn how to get the upper hand over garden pests with a lecture on insect pest and disease management, Phipps Garden Center , Mellon Park, Shadyside. 10 a.m. www.phipps.conservatory.org
Loosen those belts: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral , Oakland, holds its annual food festival today through Friday, with live music, spanakopita, and home-made desserts. Times vary. (412) 682-3866
Spend the day with mom, just for today, for Mother’s Day.
Travel back to childhood with ruby slippers, flying witches and more in “The Wizard of Oz,” at Pittsburgh Musical Theater , Downtown. 7:30 p.m. Through May 15. www.pittsburghmusicals.com
Play critic for the night. Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ “Film Kitchen” contest this year is to create a silent film, to be scored by local bands and sound artists, some of whom will perform live at the Regent Square Theater with their selected films. The event features audience voting, live judging and cash prizes. 8 p.m. (412) 681-5449
Go shopping for a good cause at the Spring Clothes Out 2005 , to benefit Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Renaissance Hotel , Downtown. 5 to 7:30 p.m. (412) 687-8017, ext. 331
“The King of Queens” star Kevin James brings his stand-up to the Benedum Center , Downtown. 7:30 p.m. (412) 456-6666
Guitarist Earl Klugh will begin a weekend of stringing us along at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild , North Side. 7:30 p.m. (412) 322-0800
Outfit the yard with annuals, perennials and gardening gear at 69th annual May Market in Mellon Park , Shadyside. 10 a.m. Through Sunday. www.phipps.conservatory.org
Reba McEntire kicks off a summer concert series at the Post-Gazette Pavilion with Brad Paisley and Terri Clark . Burgettstown. 7 p.m. www.post-gazettepavilion.com
See an array of decked-out houses, at the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation House Tour , 1 to 5 p.m. (412) 734-0233
Lower pollution and your girth by celebrating National Bike to Work Day . Rent a bike or ride your own along the Jail Trail.
Get out and vote. Municipal primary is today — and Pittsburghers get a chance to select a nominee for mayor.
The 19th International Children’s Festival , daily through Sunday in West Park , North Side. Opens at 9:30 a.m. www.pghkids.org
The first big outdoor concert of the season features Slash , Weiland and the gang from Velvet Revolver at the Chevrolet Amphitheatre , Station Square. 8 p.m. (412) 323-1919
Kuntu Repertory Theatre begins performances of “Sweet Thunder, The Billy Strayhorn Story,” showcasing the life and work of this jazz musician. 8 p.m. Through June 4 in Alumni Hall , 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. www.kuntu.org .
Join the fun onstage or in the audience as the CLO Late Nite Cabaret presents its version of “The Gong Show,” outlandish acts by performers of varying abilities, at the CLO Cabaret, Theater Square, Downtown. 9:30 p.m. (412) 325-6766
It’s fireworks night at PNC Park and, of course, that means the Pirates baseball game doesn’t really matter. 7:05 p.m. (877) 893-2827
Get a sample of outside fun at Venture Outdoors festival on the North Shore. 10 a.m. (412) 255-0564
Let the dogs out for the Mutt Walk for a good cause, starting at One Oxford Centre , Downtown. Benefits Animal Friends . Starts at 9 a.m. www.animal-friends.org
April showers bring May flowers, but gardening is an ongoing avocation. May is the month to set out summer-flowering bulbs and summer-blooming plants and vines.
Scream as loud as you can on the rides at Kennywood Park , West Mifflin. Special price today is $12.95 per person. www.kennywood.com
Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Golf Club , Ligonier. Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Greg Norman and Fuzzy Zoeller are among the pros scheduled. Ticket prices vary. Through May 29. www.pga.com/seniorpga/2005/
Truegrass, newgrass, bluegrass — whatever you call it, Alison Krauss & Union Station bring traditional-styled acoustic music to the Benedum . 8 p.m. (412) 456-6666
A guilty pleasure: Fans of “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” stars Amber Brkich and Rob Mariano can see the couple’s wedding in CBS’ “Rob and Amber Get Married,” airing from 9 to 11 p.m
Sarah McLaughlin , the star of Lilith Fairs past, brings ethereal music to Mellon Arena , Uptown. 7 p.m. (412) 323-1919
Learn more about Downtown and sample fare from restaurants at Walk and Dine: A Downtown Living Tour . 5:30 p.m. www.pghliving.com
Learn something new on your lunch break. See the lost art of the music video in “Music Video: 1982-2000” at the Wood Street Galleries , Downtown, through June 18. (412) 471-5605
Get global with the Pittsburgh Folk Festival , organized by 16 groups representing different nationalities. David L. Lawrence Convention Center , Downtown. 4 p.m. Runs through Sunday. (412) 278-1267
Rent a craft at Kayak Pittsburgh on the North Shore and see the city from river level. Weekdays, 4 p.m. to dusk; weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (412) 969-9090
Learn how to paint the outside of your house at a free clinic at area Home Depot stores. 2 p.m. Locations vary. www.homedepot.com
Get the yard in shape and plant flowers, then celebrate by having a cook-out.
Instead of wiling away a day off, attend a community Memorial Day parade or observance to remember those who fought and died for Americans.
Get crazy with crescent roll dough – today is the deadline to enter the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest , with a $1 million grand prize. Visit www.pillsbury.com/bakeoff
is a former freelancer.