Head Toward Downtown

To visit Chinatown

You think you already appreciate Chinese culture a lot, what with your frequent hot-and-sour-soup consumption and your affinity for designer-purse look-alikes. But what do you know about how the Chinese people live, and more important, what do you know about how they celebrate? Learn a little something on Saturday and Sunday (May 21 and 22) at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Chinese Culture Days. This festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, features the flexible Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe (performing at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday), the Grand Parade (which begins at 2 p.m. both days and features a 70-foot-long dragon and martial artists), traditional Chinese art, guided tours of the Chinese Garden, plays, puppet shows and more.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about Chinese food, you ask? Well, the St. Louis Modern Chinese School, the Tzu-Chi Foundation, Lu Lu Seafood Restaurant, Hot Wok Café, East Asian Garden and Royal Chinese Barbecue answer your belly's call. But all this fun (and food) comes at a price: a mere $3 to $10 to be transported halfway around the world via south city (which leaves more money for a "Vouis Luitton" bag). The garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard; call 314-577-9400 or visit www.mobot.org for more information and a schedule. -- Alison Sieloff

Best of the Best
Li'l dragons fight for honor

SAT 5/21

Have you had that dream about pint-size ninjas dropping from the sky while that "You're the Best!" song from the tournament montage in Karate Kid cranks in the background? It's your subconscious prompting you to go to the I-44 Classic Youth Martial Arts Tournament at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park's gym (5600 Oakland Avenue; 314-951-9855). Witness warriors ranked as high as brown belt, all aged four to eighteen years old, compete in five categories on the road to the title of Grand Champion. It costs $30 to register your karate kids at the door, but you can be an awed spectator for just $5. Be at the gym at 8:30 a.m. -- and be ready to rock! -- Jedidiah Ayres

Reel It In
Fishin' for fingerlings

SAT 5/21

Fishing is often dismissed as something frivolous: It's waiting with a stick in hand, or just a feeble excuse to sit on the lake. But fishing is a set of unique skills, not the least of which is patience. The person who has learned to fish has learned patience, and this is a skill sorely lacking in most of the people you meet. Learn to tie a knot in a line you can barely see; learn to pay attention to the boundary of the water and the shore; learn to, yes, sit quietly and wait for your reward. All useful, character-building skills. The Kids' Fishing Fair at Busch Memorial Conservation Area (2360 Highway D, Weldon Springs; 636-441-4454) teaches kids (aged fifteen and younger) all of the intricacies of the sport through hands-on demonstrations, expert advice and samples of fried fish (there's that reward). Bring your own rod, and learn to appreciate life's smaller, more silent moments. The fair is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- Paul Friswold

Winner Takes It All

SAT 5/21

First the World Series, then the Final Four and now the MISL Championship Game, all in St. Louis. Are we officially the city where sports champions are crowned? Sure, why not. (Couldn't some of these champions be home-towners, though?) The Cleveland Force and the Milwaukee Wave kick for the cup at 5:30 p.m. at Savvis Center (14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888) and in the event of a tie, a sudden-death or "golden goal" shootout determines the winner. Tickets are $12 to $16. -- Paul Friswold

 
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