Hold Your Head Steady

And learn from the experts

SAT 4/16

You're the kind of person who likes to plan ahead. Like with kids: You don't have 'em yet, but you've been examining your childhood for good tales to tell the little turkeys when they come along. Sadly, you've discovered that your easy, contented youth didn't provide you with enough "I-had-to-walk-to-school-uphill-both-ways" stories to impress anyone, let alone your future skeptical offspring.

Well, now's the time to beef up that wimpy story arsenal at the free Historical Children's Festival. As you can tell by its name, this fest is geared toward people who already have kids, but never mind them. It'll be plenty easy for you to learn from the butter-churners and the cow-milkers right along with the families. And we're not talking about just learning-by-watching; you'll probably even get to milk a cow (!) -- a real cow, not à la Ludacris (this is a kids' affair, after all). You can already hear yourself: "We were so poor, we had to churn our own butter...." It'll be great!

In addition to these activities, you'll be able to dip candles and pound cornmeal, visit with barnyard animals and costumed re-enactors, and write with a quill (like we do at the RFT). Way cool! And you know how people are always talking about hearths? At the festival you can learn what a hearth is and how to cook on one -- super old-fashioned (and probably difficult)! The festival takes place at 200 to 216 South Main Street in St. Charles from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site offers a free open house during the fest as well. For more information about the olde-time fun, call 636-940-3322. -- Alison Sieloff

He's Gonna Hurl

The Irish game of hurling is a proud one, and it is not limited to the toilets within and the alleys behind local pubs, as you may believe. No, hurling is a fast-paced sport, featuring all the action and attitude you might expect from something that kind of looks like a hybrid of rugby, lacrosse and field hockey (and more). The St. Louis Hurling Club (www.stlhurling.org), now approaching its third anniversary, already boasts a national championship, a growing roster of teams and respect from the Gaelic Athletic Association, and Saturday, April 16, kicks off the club's nine-week spring season of free games at Parkway Northeast Middle School (near I-270 and Ladue Road, Creve Coeur). See what hurling's all about as the Black Thorn Pub Sons of Liberty play the Llywelyn's Pub Dragons at 1 p.m., and the McGurk's Black Shamrocks take on J. McGraugh's Celtics at 2:30 p.m. -- Jedidiah Ayres

Ferns, They Are A-Changin'

FRI 4/15

In this ever-changing world in which we live, we thought we could count on ferns to be a constant. There are fossils of these plants, for crying out loud! But no-o-o, you ferns just can't be still, can you? Fortunately, Dr. Robbin Moran of the New York Botanical Garden is keeping an eye on the ferns, and this botanist is coming to the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400) to apprise St. Louisans of what the shady plants are up to in a free lecture entitled "What's New About Ferns: Evolution and Geography." The lecture is held at 4 p.m., and a reception and a book-signing follow from 5 to 6 p.m. (Moran wrote A Natural History of Ferns, among other fern-ish books.) -- Alison Sieloff

Card Stock

SUN 4/17

Which is better: a diversified portfolio of mutual funds and blue-chip stocks, or a shoebox full of old baseball cards featuring your favorite boys of summer? OK, maybe the securities aren't as vulnerable to ruin by natural disaster, nor are they as likely to be thrown out by the lady of the house. Still, cards are a darn good investment -- and every bit as fun. You can get your nostalgia on with former Cardinals first-baseman Orlando Cepeda and pitcher Kurt Kepshire at the St. Louis Sports Collectors show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Machinists Hall (12365 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton; 618-281-6014 or www.stlsportscollectors .com ). There, Kepshire and Cepeda sign autographs ($4 to $45) from noon to 2 p.m. -- R.L. Nave

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