South of the Border

Just west of the Mississippi

Though St. Louis is a border town of sorts, who isn't jealous of folks who grew up in places like El Paso, Texas? These people skipped school and left the country for lunch, while we felt rebellious sneaking over to White Castle. But even here, the Hispanic culture speaks in vibrant colors -- the language, food and dance aren't content to be uptight, muted or still (France, we're looking in your direction). This energy is contagious and is felt far beyond the Mexican markets and eateries that stretch along Cherokee Street. In fact, this weekend the colorful vibe reverberates downtown: Starting on Friday and continuing through Sunday (August 12 through 14), the Greater St. Louis Hispanic Festival comes to Soldiers Memorial Park (South 14th and Market streets). If Dora the Explorer and a bottle of tequila sum up your take on Hispanic culture, the organizers of the fest aim to change that through authentic food, art and music from Latin America. And bring the kiddos for the piñatas and petting zoo. The celebration runs from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; the cost is nada. For more information visit www.hispanicfestivalstl.com or call 314-837-6100. -- Kristie McClanahan

Crazy in Love
With The Sound of Music

Ms. Day doubts that many other people have specifically made a trip to Salzburg, Austria, just to go on The Sound of Music tour. That's the sign of a true fan, friends, a truly obsessed, movie-stalking kind of fan. But for the rest of the world that hasn't experienced a sing-along in the "Do-Re-Mi" gardens, the lighter-than-air feeling you get from dancing around the "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" gazebo and the endless happiness that sowing edelweiss seeds (in Austria, for real!) can give you, the Muny-in-Forest-Park production of the beloved musical should provide you with almost the same goosebumps, tears and laughs -- and you can even sing quietly to yourself if you want. This last Muny show began on August 8 and continues nightly through Sunday, August 14. Performances start at 8:15 p.m., and tickets cost $8 to $58 (at www.metrotix.com or 314-534-1111). -- Alison Sieloff

True Romance

Hot date coming up? Know what would impress her? A ride on a train. Seriously, no one has probably ever taken her on a train ride, so she'll always remember you for that. Plus, there's hardly anything more ideal for a date than the passionate chug-chug-chug of a train and the tranquil scenery from the window -- so nostalgic, so romantic. Catch a ride with RailCruise America at St. Louis Union Station (1820 Market Street) this weekend or next (Friday through Sunday, August 12 through 21). Tickets for the "Summer Escapes 2005 Cocktail Club" cost $35 per person, and boarding times vary. Check out www.railcruiseamerica.com or call 314-231-9500. -- Alison Sieloff

Party Time!

SAT 8/13

Look at you! You've been running around aimlessly partying for at least one decade now, and for what? You need to get your head on straight and stop partying all unorganized like that -- you need to Party with a Purpose. Start this weekend at SqWires' Annex (1415 South 18th Street). There, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.. you can party with resolve, and with free wine and snacks from 8 to 9 p.m. Plus, you can aim to check out Cbabi Bayoc's artworks and dance to a variety of groovy music -- purposefully, of course. And what purpose would that be? To help raise money (bring a $20 check for your party admission) for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (www.theglobalfund.org). This organization has partnered with the United Nations Foundation to help people suffering from these diseases around the world -- now that's a purpose. For more information about the party, call 314-435-0454. -- Alison Sieloff

 
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