One of the charming features of children is their inability (or stubborn refusal) to separate fantasy from reality. Kids think everything they see on TV is real, from friendly, unarmed mailmen to talking red monsters to an anthropomorphic family of clothes-wearin' bears. This Saturday, mess with your kids' heads a little by taking them to KETC Channel 9's Arthur Picnic in the Park at the DeBaliviere Avenue/Lindell Boulevard area of Forest Park. From noon-5 p.m. the Park will be alive with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Berenstain Bears and the titular Arthur, along with a host of wandering clowns, the local entertainers of Piwacket Theatre, the Bob Kramer Marionnettes and storyteller Bobby Norfolk. Real human being and retired "speedy delivery" mailman Mr. McFeely will perform live on stage, further blurring your child's ability to distinguish between life and the photoplay. The event is free, and concessions will be available. On Sunday, pretend the kids imagined the whole thing, just to keep them guessing. Check out www.ketc.org for more information. -- Paul Friswold
Two Regattas, No Wading
From 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, September 13, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, September 14, on the lake at Union Station (20th at Market streets), the St. Louis Admirals R/C Model Boat Club holds its remote-controlled boat regatta. Aside from the suspense of the race, there's the thrill of seeing R/C paddle wheelers, tugboats and military craft whirring around the lake after the ducks (314-421-6655, ext. 7304, free).
For those who prefer a drowning hazard with their boat racing, the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta takes place at Ft. Zumwalt Park (Veterans Memorial Drive, a half-mile west of Highway K) in O'Fallon, Missouri, at 2 p.m. Saturday. Since the original event at Southern Illinois University in 1974, cardboard-boat enthusiasts have met the challenge of constructing a human-powered cardboard craft capable of completing three trips around a 200-yard course. If you'd like to try your hand at building and racing a boat, a registration fee of $10 is all it takes (636-734-2780). -- John Goddard
Mound of applause
Aside from being a fun phrase to shout when excited, pow wows are a great way to learn about Native American culture without feeling like you're actually learning. You never get to practice flint-knapping, arrow-making, spear-throwing, finger-weaving or dancing in social studies class, so take advantage of this unique educational opportunity. The American Indian Center Pow Wow takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 13, and Sunday, September 14, at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (30 Ramey Street at Collinsville Road, in Collinsville, Illinois; 618-346-5160). Admission is free. -- Paul Friswold