Bill’s Best Bets: The play ‘Orphan Train,’ First Friday Art Trail, Cinco de Mayo parade, free comic books, book sale

Best bets for Friday-Sunday, May 3-5, vary from theater to visual art, and from an annual parade to a focus on inexpensive books and free comic books.

‘Orphan Train’

Will of the Wind Productions will stage the world premiere of an original play by Sylvia Ashby, based on the documented 75-year American history of homeless waifs being taken from crowded eastern cities and transported west in search of new families and hopefully better homes. “Orphan Train” will be staged at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and a final time at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Firehouse Theatre inside LHUCA, 511 Ave. K. Reserved seats can be purchased online at willofthewind.org. Limited seating might also be available at the door.

Reserved seats are $22.75 for the general public, and $17 for seniors and students. Ticket prices include service charges. Discounts are available for groups of 10.

There is no full performance on Friday  due to a conflict with the monthly First Friday Art Trail. However, scenes from the play will be performed during the art trail.

Direction is by Richard Privitt. Ginger Angstadt is both scenic designer and lighting designer.

The story opens in the 1890s when the Orphan Train arrives in a small North Central Texas town, the last stop on its Western trip. On board are three young teens from New York City, who were not among the several dozen orphans chosen at the train’s prior stops. Katrinka Pavelka (played by Hannah Burns) and her brother Anton (Brady Mathews) are European immigrant orphans who desperately want to remain together. Mike Macys (Harrison Black) is a former New York newsboy who lived on the city streets.

Curious town folk arrive at the station to check out the Orphan Train, including a teacher, an elderly widow, a bachelor cowboy, a farm couple and several grammar school students. Will the riders find homes in Plainesville? Will these children be treasured, exploited or abused? Can they be accepted into the community and can they adjust from city life to one on the prairie? The play provided answers.

David Weaver, Phillip Huval, Patrick Jones, Callie Combest, Lynn Elms and Laura Bryan also star.

First Friday Art Trail

The 176th non-consecutive First Friday Art Trail will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at more than a dozen local galleries and businesses. Local and regional art is on display at each stop, much of it for purchase. Visitors can choose between driving to the galleries and businesses they most want to see, or they can board a Citibus trolley that will make nine stops.

Trolleys depart at 6:15 p.m. from the Buddy Holly Center, GlassyAlley Art Studio and Gallery, LHUCA and Tornado Gallery, each returning to its departure point at approximately 9:30 p.m. All trolleys will make stops at the Buddy Holly Center, CASP Live/Work Studios and 5th & J Galleries, Caviel Museum of African-American History, GlassyAlley Art Studio and Gallery, Legacy Event Center, LHUCA and Charles Adams Galley, Platform Resident, Tornado Gallery and Urban Tech/TTU Press.

The trolleys will not make stops at A Beautiful Mess, Art for Goodness Sake, Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center, or Sugar Brown’s Coffee.

More than 1,000 people usually attend and there is no admission charge. Visit ffat.org for a rundown of the art showcased at each participating gallery or business.

Cinco de Mayo Parade of Lubbock

While Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated for many years with music in Lubbock, this will be just the seventh-annual Cinco de Mayo Parade in the city. Still, the holiday now is celebrated more north of the border than in Mexico itself.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church at Broadway and Avenue U.  It will move east on Broadway to Avenue M and then turn north on Avenue M and continue until reaching the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center parking lot.

The theme is Que Rica es la Vida, or How Rich is Life!

Participants are encouraged to showcase historical figures and individuals of the Latino community, past and present – and also contributions of Hispanics to Lubbock and other South Plains communities. Veterans, family members, role models, schools, athletes, marching bands and small and corporate businesses are encouraged to take part.

The actual date of Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force provided a boost in morale for Mexicans.

Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day always takes place on the first Saturday in May and for years found citizens lining up at event sponsor Star Comics, 3504 34th St., to request a pre-packaged collection of free comics.

Now, however, all branches of the Lubbock Public Libraries, including the larger Mahon Library, have partnered with Star Comics.

The hours for Free Comic Book Day are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Expect free comics, specials, coloring pages and more at each location. The events and specific comics available will vary by location, so check with each venue for additional information. Of course, comics are available while supplies last.

For updates and information about comic books and a list of participating comic publishers and their free comic books this year, simply visit freecomicbookday.com online. More information is available at Star Comics by calling 744-0727 or e-mailing starcomicsonline@gmail.com.

Spring Book Sale

Friends of the Library will provide its Spring Book Sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Mahon Library, 1306 Ninth St. The free event is open to the public.

And it’s not limited to only books.

In addition to a vast library of books priced in regular, better and best categories, Friends of the Library (FOL) carries a large selection of DVDs, CDs, vinyl recordings and Books On CD.

FOL also offers computer games and their strategy guides for many platforms. There is a new area for home schoolers, an expanded selection of teen fiction and more DVDs than ever before.

Proceeds from the Spring Book Sale goes to advance the cause of literacy for the children of Lubbock.

FOL is a non-profit, staffed by volunteers and supporting and benefiting the Lubbock Public Library system. It was incorporated in 1967, with its first Book Sale taking place in 1968. More information is available online at lubbockfol.org.

At the sale, cash, checks, credit and debit cards are accepted.