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The 2000 Valley of Flowers Festival promises something for everyone

When the folks in Florissant throw a community festival, they really throw down. The Valley of Flowers Festival brings so many durned activities to the North County burb, your family will return home from an extremely full day of attractions feeling as if they just survived Disneyland.

Florissant Celebrates 2000! includes a craft show, Greek-pastries table, wine-and-cheese garden, historic-house tour, flea market, plant sale, pretty-baby contest, Maypole dance, kids' craft area, book fair, Volksmarch, barbecue stands at three different venues, two parades and two car shows!

The Florissant Civic Center and Knights of Columbus Fairgrounds host most of these events, but the DeSmet and St. Catherine retirement communities, the Florissant Valley Workshop, Cold Water Commons and Koch parks, McCluer North High, St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, Schnucks, Atonement Lutheran Church and the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine also get into the act.

But wait! Within the festival is a whole 'nother subfestival, the Passport to Fun Children's Celebration of Performing Arts, at the Florissant Civic Center. The hullabaloo includes ventriloquism; puppets; Russian, Indian, Hispanic, square and tap dance; zydeco and fiddle music; a musical about the John Henry folktale; African folktales; and storytelling. All performances are free, so there's no excuse for not exposing your kids to these nationally and internationally renowned entertainers.

And that's not all! In Spring Has Sprung, a concert featuring a septet of musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the works of Beethoven, Stravinsky, Poulenc and Martinu are presented in the Civic Center Theatre. The music is accompanied by readings of the poetry of e.e. cummings, William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. This too, is f-r-e-e! The Northwinds Concert Band and vocalists from the Hawthorne Players present their own free concerts at the Center this weekend as well.

It's an exhausting schedule of events packed into a single weekend. Oil those stroller wheels, and grab the bug spray and sun hat. Spring has indeed sprung.

The Valley of Flowers Festival: Florissant Celebrates 2000! takes place at the Florissant Civic Center, Parker Road and Waterford Drive; the Knights of Columbus Fairgrounds, Washington Street and North Lindbergh Boulevard; and various other venues, May 5-7. Call 314-837-0033 for more information.

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