SUN 4/17After seventeen years in the game, the planners of the annual AIDS Walk Miami must have this parade down to a science. Step one, pick a route and a gathering place; step two, ask walkers to raise at least $25 in donations; and step three, add charitable celebrity grand marshal. A long and quirky collection of famous faces has led the parade. Local heroes Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Sylvester Stallone, Cindy Crawford, Cristina Saralegui, and Rosie O'Donnell have all done the honors. And there have been some more, um, creative choices: Ted Casablancas (a delightfully scathing gossipmonger whose infamous column The Awful Truth for E! Entertainment Television makes Hollywood types shake in their expensive designer boots), fashion critic Melissa Rivers, and comedienne Cassandra Peterson, who is otherwise known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. This year's grand marshal is the talented Rosie Perez, she of the thick Nuyorican accent and fly dance moves.
Today's participants will run, walk, or Rollerblade through Miami Beach's historic Art Deco district for the benefit of Florida's largest HIV/AIDS organization, Care Resource. WSVN-TV (Channel 7) news anchorman Craig Stevens will be co-master of ceremonies, alongside Miami Beach tourism honcho Michael Aller. Participants should meet at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach. Registration and opening ceremonies begin at 8:00 a.m. Stay after the walk for a fun family celebration with food, drinks, and music at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach. Call 305-751-9255, or visit www.aidswalkmiami.net. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
SUN 4/17Things sure have changed since the days when biker gangs terrified squares and had books written about them by Hunter S. Thompson. Today the riders of big motorcycles still tend to travel in packs, but rebellion has segued to charity in many cases. The 694 chapter of HOG (Harley Owners Group) is leading a rally to raise funds for Victim Response's privately run shelter The Lodge, which assists domestic violence victims. Riding for Justice begins at 9:00 a.m. at Peterson's Harley-Davidson (19400 NW Second Ave., North Miami). Watch 'em roll; enjoy barbecue, live music, and raffles; and know that your $20 (kids under six free) goes toward hope for victims. Call 954-727-8206. -- Greg Baker
SAT 4/16Local artists converge in a beautiful park setting at this weekend's free Merrick Festival. This fair steers away from the more sedate fine arts and provides a venue for homegrown and immigrant artists, with a strong contingent from the local Colombian community, to share their works for admiration, discussion, and, of course, sale. Not to be missed is the Do-It-Yourself Area, a participatory art experience where you can revive the artist in you with origami, mobiles, and even paintings. Be artsy today and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at George Merrick Park, Le Jeune Road and Miracle Mile. Call 305-448-2021, or visit www.artinthetropics.com. -- Karen Dale WolmanApril Frost
FRI 4/15Robert Frost had close ties to Miami and the Florida Keys. At the University of Miami, he is remembered with a marker near the Cosford Cinema. In Key West, the vacation cottage where he wrote "The Gift Outright" is a part of the Heritage House Museum (410 Caroline St., Key West). At this weekend's Robert Frost Poetry Festival, enjoy tours, poetry readings, workshops such as "Writing Poetry to Classical Guitar" and "Essential Haiku," films, and art, all while absorbing literary history in splendid Key West. Friday and Saturday's events cost $150 and require preregistration, while Sunday's festival is free for everyone. Call 305-296-3573, or visit www.heritagehousemuseum.org. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik