Certain things that go with having children -- playing catch in the back yard, reading books with pictures, seeing Pixar flicks -- are fun. Other kid-related experiences, like picking out a health insurance plan or starting a college savings account, aren't so enchanting.
Soften the blow at Family Fest 2003, where games, crafts, food, and performances by young entertainers like the Wu Yee Lion Dancers and Abada Capoeira divert the tykes while parents get advice on the not-so-enjoyable stuff from booths staffed by nearly 100 community groups. Representatives from citywide youth programs, public schools, health service organizations, child care advocates, and neighborhood associations are ready and willing to share what they know starting at noon at Golden Gate Park's Band Shell, MLK & Concourse, S.F. Admission is free; call 239-0161 or visit www.colemanadvocates.org.
-- Jack Karp
Join the Bay Area Discovery Museum in celebrating its recent $19 million refurbishment at Discover Something New Festival of the Arts, a weekend-long barrage of music, dance, and circus arts performances. A veritable United Nations of hoofers is scheduled: Irish, Persian, Aztec, Native American, Brazilian, Chinese, Russian, and even Appalachian square dancers boogie in the museum's new Discovery Theatre. Musical acts are just as diverse: taiko and steel drummers, bagpipers, traditional fiddle players, and sea chantey singers. Events begin at 10 a.m. at BADM, 557 McReynolds (at Murray), Sausalito. Admission is free; call 487-4398 or visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Puppets for poppets
The family that acts funny together, stays together. You can choose to be weird in your own home, or you can get serious and learn how to be strange from an expert. The monthly "Family Series" at Berkeley Rep's theater school offers lessons in a variety of silly subjects: In the past, workshop themes have included storytelling, improvisation, and circus skills.
This month, the topic is puppetry, taught by Jaron Hollander, an instructor at S.F.'s School of the Arts. The class teaches moms, dads, and kids puppet-making, physical characterization techniques (aka how to make more fun of the way Dad eats), and methods for getting the dang dummy to move just its eyes, rather than its whole head. The lesson begins at 1 p.m. at the Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre, 2071 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 647-2972 or visit www.berkeleyrep.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser