6 free and cheap events in Miami this weekend – July 29-31

Fans pack Homestead-Miami Speedway each year for NASCAR.

This weekend’s free and cheap events include activities involving the characters Harry Potter and Pokemon as well as music and food. Here are the highlights:  

Harry Potter release parties

Three events will celebrate the release of the new “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the eighth book in the series, the night of July 30. One is at The Miami-Dade Public Library System in Downtown Miami, another is at Books & Books in Coral Gables and the third is at Barnes & Noble in the Shops at Sunset in South Miami. Pre-orders for the book are being taken now online. Expect all sorts of wizardry, imagination and fun at the free parties. The official book releases at midnight but the parties begin a few hours earlier. 

Tropical music and food

Enjoy free live music, tropical-themed food and goods on July 28 in Miami. Live music provided by Magic City Hippies and an opening set by Sigh Kicks. Taste a tropical-themed menu by Miami Smokers, Miami-inspired Dim Sum from the Sarsparilla VW van, handmade treats by Wynwood Parlor and paletas by Lollifruit. Get your hands on some handmade refreshments by Mac’s Pubs while you snag some tropical-themed goods like pins, hats, shades, and more. Plus, the Vice City Bean Tricycle will be there slangin’ cold brew.

Pokemon Go

The Pokemon Go craze continues with a free hunt on July 29 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center featuring music and food trucks. The backyard of the center turns into a safe place for trainers to catch Pokemon and play. If you’re wondering why many young folks are walking around in a daze with noses in their cellphones, it’s probably Pokemon Go. At last count, 9.5 million users were playing daily. (Wish I would’ve created that game.) 

Speed racers 

Here’s a rare chance to pretend to be champion racer Richard Petty. For a donation, racing enthusiasts can get a car washed and then drive a 1.5 miles around the NASCAR championship track at Homestead-Miami Speedway on July 31. The $20 donation includes a wash and a lap around the track. Each additional lap is $10. Proceeds benefit Driving for a Cause, which is the speedway’s outreach program, and the Special Olympics of Florida. In addition, two other organizations also will be on site to collect donations — Farm Share will collect nonperishable food items and Gotsneakers will collect used sneakers to recycle. 

To keep up with latest news on deals, discounts and free events in South Florida, sign up for the daily Miami on the Cheap newsletter or the daily Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap newsletter. To submit an event or deal, click here.  For more tips on what to do this weekend, read the frequently updated Miami on the Cheap weekend roundup of free and cheap events  and the Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap weekend events and deals roundup