Though you won't be invited to take the stick of an F14 Tomcat at this year's St. Louis County Fair & Air Show, children of all ages are welcome to pilot planes, helicopters and flapping-wing ornithopters at the Air Hogs Van Tour. Air Hogs is a brand of free-flying and remote-control toys. Times may change, but kids will always enjoy toy guns that shoot, dolls that pee and toy planes that fly. Before you spend 70 bucks on one of the helicopters, try it out. Seeing your 'copter zoom up into the firmament is an awesome feeling (Spirit of St. Louis Airport, I-64 at Long Road; 5-10 p.m. Friday, August 29; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, August 31; and 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday, September 1; admission free-$7; 636-530-9386; www.stlcofair.org and www.airhogs.com). - Byron Kerman
But you still eat paste
Depending on your age, the air this weekend is either redolent of the grim stench of an impending school year, or the air is perfumed with the liberating aroma of an impending school year. Even if you don't have kids, the air is thick with the unmistakable smell of school supplies, and it truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year. The satisfying heft of a ream of college-ruled paper, the smell of a brand-new Sharpie, the ergonomically clean lines of a mechanical pencil (now with 0.9-millimeter leads, for the heavy-handed writer!) pinched between your fingers -- these are the simple joys of life. It doesn't matter if you ever actually use that gleaming three-hole punch for anything other than a paperweight, or if you have a locker in which to hang your new locker mirror; you have a credit card and an unfulfilled urge to purchase the colored glue sticks your mother never bought you. -- Paul Friswold
One Giant Peep for Mankind
There are two good reasons to head to the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue, 314-289-4400) for the closing weekend of the Candy Unwrapped exhibit: One, the Jelly Belly Festival promises enough free candy to choke Augustus Gloop (Saturday, August 30, through Monday, September 1, $3-$4). Two, they're going to explode Peeps in a microwave. Yes, Peeps, those innocent little marshmallow bunnies and duckies that make each Easter as sweet as the Lord will allow, are subjected to various cruelties (including a dip in liquid nitrogen) in a show called "The Science of Peeps." Perhaps inspired by such Web sites as www.peepresearch.org, the SLSC show is mad science at its most gleeful and sticky. -- Byron Kerman
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