Dade County Fair and Exposition: They've got daredevils who'll take your breath away. They've got plants and animals from forests and farms. They've got food, games, magic shows, art exhibitions, vendors, and loads of live music. But let's face it: Those super-loud, ultra-illuminated, fabulous puke-inducing rides are the main draw. The Fair opens today at the Tamiami Park Youth Fairgrounds (SW 107th Avenue and Coral Way). Highlights of this year's fair include concerts by Neil Sedaka, the Mamas and the Papas, the Smothers Brothers, and Phyllis Diller, among others (did we forget to mention they've also got kitsch?). Admission is seven dollars for adults; five dollars for kids ages six to twelve (kids under six get in free). The fair is open Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. (opens at noon March 28) and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., through March 30. Call 223-7060. (GC)
National Swing Dance Festival: Swing into spring as the South Florida Swing Dance Society hosts the National Swing Dance Festival, which takes place today through Sunday at the Ramada Resort Deauville (6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Nationally ranked dance champs Jackie and Charlie Womble and Ramiro Gonzalez conduct dance workshops during the day; later, several top DJs will spin the swingingest music of all time while dancers from across the country jitterbug, shag, fox trot, and swing their butts off. Tickets cost $25, $45 for a weekend pass. Call 264-3040 for times and tickets. (GC)
Italian Renaissance Festival: The traditions and customs of the Renaissance come gloriously to Vizcaya (3251 S. Miami Ave.): Haggle with merchants, take part in games of skill and chance, or simply stroll among the dozens of musicians, mimes, and other assorted festival characters on the grounds. This year the festival features the Gruppo Sbandieratori del Palio D'Asti, flag throwers from Miami-Dade's sister city of Asti, Italy; a living chess game with two acting troupes representing comedy and tragedy as the chessmen; and the living history classroom, with characterizations of more than 30 historical figures from the period. Admission is ten dollars, half-price for kids under twelve. Festival hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through Sunday. Call 250-9133, ext. 3 for more information. (JO)
Visiting Mr. Green: Film and stage actor Eli Wallach stars in playwright and screenwriter Jeff Baron's first full-length play, which opens tonight at 8:15 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove). Set in an unkempt apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Visiting Mr. Green chronicles the growing friendship between a surly octogenarian widower (Wallach) and an amiable young man (David Alan Basche) who narrowly avoids running over the older man with his car. Tickets cost $30 and $35. Performances continue through March 30; call 442-4000 for a complete schedule. (GC)
Feast with the Beasts: Creatures fierce and gentle invite you to Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St.) tonight from 8:00 p.m. until the wee, wee hours for Feast with the Beasts, the Zoological Society of Florida's annual fundraiser to benefit the children's zoo. International cuisine will be provided by more than 40 restaurants (including Joe's Stone Crab, Norman's, and Chef Allen's), and entertainment by sixteen musical and dance acts. This year's headliners are ubiquitous local favorites Carlos Oliva y los Sobrinos del Juez and Zucchero, Italy's answer to Sting. To reserve your place ($150, but it's a hot ticket), call 255-5551. (JO)
National Symphony Orchestra: After spending decades with the St. Louis Symphony and guiding that orchestra to multitudinous accolades, conductor Leonard Slatkin recently moved on to the National Symphony Orchestra. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. the renowned baton wielder will wave the wand at pianist Jeffrey Siegel and the NSO within the friendly confines of the Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). The menu for this evening's event includes Ives's Central Park in the Dark and The Unanswered Question; MacDowell's Piano Concerto no. 2 in D minor, Op. 23; and Brahms's Symphony no. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Tickets range from $20 to $70 Call 532-3491. (JF)
Molissa Fenley/Peter Boal: The Miami Light Project concludes its 1996-97 Contemporary Performance Series with a dance collaboration between Las Vegas-born, Nigeria-raised choreographer Molissa Fenley and and New York City Ballet principal dancer Peter Boal, who perform tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The program, which premiered in January at New York City's Joyce Theater, features Fenley's multimedia pieces Sita, which is set to music by Philip Glass and incorporates photographic images by Sandi Fellman; Trace, which includes a spoken-word segment with text by John Jesurun and an African-influenced score by pianist-composer John Hart Makwaia; and Pola'a, set to symphonic music by composer Lou Harrison. Tickets cost $18. Call 531-3747. (GC)
Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Italian Renaissance Festival: See Thursday.
El Bolerista: Choreographer Alice Billman joins forces with the Latin American AIDS Koalition to present the bilingual musical theater production El Bolerista (The Bolero Singer) tonight at 8:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the James L. Knight Center's Ashe Auditorium (400 SE Second Ave.) to benefit the LAAK. The show combines modern dance, theatrical dialogue, and music performed by the singer-actors and by the local band Pharr on-stage. Tickets to tonight's show cost $50 (includes dinner and open bar), $20 for tomorrow. Call 892-2202. (GC)