Here at the Night & Day offices, we are concerned for your safety. We don't want you to hurt yourself or others, so do us a big favor: On Saturday, September 18, when you head over to Art Hill for the free Great Forest Park Balloon Race, please arrive long before the Energizer Bunny Hot "Hare" Balloon lifts off at 4:30 p.m., and the competitors chase after it at 4:45 p.m. Not so you don't have to park far away (walking is good for you), but so your highway balloon gawking doesn't cause a traffic jam and/or an accident -- now that's bad.
Besides, the earlier you get to the park, the more you and the kiddies can enjoy the Purina Children's Entertainment Area complete with pony rides (opening at noon), the all-British car show (opening at 12:30 p.m.), the National City Youth Performance Stage (starting at 1 p.m.) and the Pepsi Parachute Team performance at 3 p.m. And if you want to get to the park really early, check out the 70 competitors and their "rides" at the Balloon Glow at the World's Fair Pavilion on Friday, September 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You know, propane is what lights up and makes those balloons fly -- Hank Hill would be happy to hear that. For more info visit www.greatforestparkballoonrace.com. -- Alison Sieloff
Getting Goofy in Disney's hometown
It probably won't answer the question of whether Walt's frozen body really rests in the bowels of the Magic Kingdom, waiting to be revived as soon as science catches up with the dream, but there's still plenty to do at Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest in Marceline, Missouri. In addition to free seminars beginning at 12:30 p.m. featuring some of today's leading cartoonists and Disney memorabilia shopping, the event includes the "Monsters and Dinosaurs and Dogs, Oh My!" parade at 10 a.m.; Walt's Dreaming Tree ceremony in the evening on the Disney Farm; and the Rural Olympics. It might have all started with a mouse, but it ends with chasing a greased pig. For more info visit www.toonfest.net or call 660-376-9258. -- Andrew Schubert
Tennis on a Table
With a tiny net
The recently concluded Athens Olympics proved that table tennis -- or, for those of us who haven't picked up a paddle since we were ten years old, when our parents finally broke down and bought us a Super NES, Ping-Pong -- is a far more exciting sport than, say, synchronized swimming, anything involving a horse (real or pommel) or basketball. Discover in person just how fast and exciting table tennis can be at the annual St. Louis Gateway Open Table-Tennis Championships on Saturday and Sunday (September 18 and 19), at the clubhouse of the Missouri Athletic Club West (1777 Des Peres Road; 314-539-4444). Table-tennis jocks of various ages and skill levels participate starting at 9 a.m. both days, with the semifinals of the singles division slated for 6 p.m. on Saturday, and the finals of the junior, senior and doubles divisions scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission for spectators is free; call 314-368-6677 for more details. And please don't ask if there's a "Beer Pong" division. -- Ian Froeb
You hear tons about games: Olympic, baseball, reindeer. But you never hear anything about biker games. If you're curious, come out to the Local 42 Bike Show at the Pacific Eagles (707 West Congress Street, Pacific; 636-451-2886). Sign-in for the show starts at 11 a.m., with trophies awarded at 3 p.m. Pay the $10 to register your bike, and find out what kinds of games these motorcycles play; free admission, hot food and cold beverages say you'll be glad you did. -- Alison Sieloff