Cards vs. Cubs: Can there ever be any common ground between these two contentious tribes? Not a truce, because it is their passionate dislike for each other that makes their relationship so strong, but perhaps a détente: a coming together where the Cards fans and the Cubbies fans can suspend hostilities to revel in their shared interests in beer, music, good times and, of course, baseball.
This weekend, at the season's first St. Louis meeting of these ancient foes, the answer is yes. The River City Music Fest, which takes place at Kiener Plaza (Seventh and Market streets) between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., offers fans of all stripes the chance to mingle and get to know a little about each other. For instance, ask one of them if they know any good Steve Bartman jokes while you're waiting in line at one of the six beer tents (Miller Lite, along with StLouisSingles.com and Coca-Cola, sponsor the whole shebang); if that doesn't get some healthy dialogue going, nothing will. Or perhaps you should offer that young man by the adult-size inflatable obstacle course a little cork to make that Sammy Sosa jersey look a tad more authentic. And of course, you can always tell strangers in Cubby hats that you know the Heimlich maneuver, just in case they start choking. With food booths, inflatable jousting, a climbing wall, live performances by everyone from Desert Moon (pictured) to Essence of Logic and even McGruff the Crime Dog, the River City Music Fest promises that even those not fortunate enough to score tickets to the game will have fun downtown. Admission is free, and the full slate of activities is available at www.stlouissingles.com. -- Paul Friswold
Budweiser is a marketing masterpiece, a beverage that enjoys global omnipresence, a self-proclaimed sovereign in the world of alcohol. We ask only this: Can the king of beers be better? Perhaps -- the kind people of A-B are giving you, the beer-loving public, a chance to discover the bouquet of freshness. This Friday you can sample beer brewed that morning -- a fine flavor, they claim, that apparently doesn't last. This is the last "Freshness Friday" of the month, and a trusted source (and canned-beer enthusiast, preferring Olympia) maintains there is, in fact, a difference, and says the newborn beer is "damn fine." Free brewery tours (at 12th and Lynch streets, 800-342-5283) run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (check www.budweiser.com for details). -- Mark Dischinger
The Horsey Set
Wearing big floppy hats, hooting with enthusiasm, drinking in the middle of the day: It's not just for your Aunt Judith anymore. At the Chase Park Plaza's Kentucky Derby Day (212 North Kingshighway; call 314-633-6868 for details and reservations), all of these activities will be tolerated -- appreciated, even. Sip a mint julep, munch hors d'oeuvres, listen to the bluegrass sounds of the Stan Wagganer Band and, of course, watch those ponies run for the roses. Place "play bets" on the horses for a chance at prizes, and don't forget to don your derby best. Derby Day lasts from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $20; all proceeds benefit the Special Education Foundation. -- Brooke Foster
Attention all medicine-cabinet peekers and under-the-sink peerers: This weekend you can feast your eyes on the toiletries in ten of St. Louis' most beautiful, historic homes (and two gardens). Fortunately, this isn't something nosey Nancies have to do on the sly -- the manses of Portland Place are the stars of the Central West End Association's 36th Annual House and Garden Tour. Park at Washington University's free lot (Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway), hop on the shuttle bus, and visit the private street Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets cost $17.50 to $20 and are available at the CWEA office (449 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-2220 or www.centralwestend.org) or at the entrance to Portland Place (on the days of the tour only). Snoopers, take advantage of your opportunity to peer at genteel civilization. -- Alison Sieloff