Shop for a cancer cure
Forget baseball. That sport is limited to a specific season, when we gorge on peanuts, Cracker Jack, and the sight of steroid-enhanced men running around in tight pants, smacking balls with wooden clubs. America's favorite pastime has got to be shopping. There's no shopping season, ergo no limit on how much shopping we can do in a year, and there are entire television channels devoted to nothing but the exchange of meaningless retail items, knives that can effortlessly slice through steel, gaudy brooches and necklaces designed by fading, formerly famous faces, cheaply manufactured inventions that purport to markedly improve and simplify our lives. The day after any major national holiday, the malls welcome throngs of wild-eyed women who trample over each other to get the sweet sale merchandise. Shopping is straight up awesome enough to have its own national weekend. Saks Fifth Avenue's masterminds are way ahead of you. They would like to welcome you and your wallet to the Key to the Cure National Shopping Weekend. This celebration of commerce isn't only about making the cash registers ring like church bells on a Sunday morning. The whole point of asking women to shop till it hurts is to raise funds and awareness for all women's cancers. This year, it is estimated that 215,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 40,000 will die. Women aren't the only ones who succumb to this disease; approximately 450 men will likely die of it. Given that not every woman cares about the suffering of others, but most of us care about the fashion and the lives of celebrities, golden girl Oscar-winner Charlize Theron has been adopted as this year's national spokeswoman. A chic Key to the Cure t-shirt designed by Marc Jacobs will be available for only $35, the proceeds from which will go to the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Throughout the weekend, expect to see models from Wilhelmina, Runways, and Next strutting around in this season's must-have fashions. Buy your little heart out at Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. Call 305-243-2378. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Cutler of Yore
A favored fantasy among Miami natives (all five of them) is to be able to time travel to the days before South Florida got paved over. This flashback strikes hardest at places such as the Deering Estate (16701 SW 72nd Ave.), which is on Biscayne Bay and made to seem fairly untamed. Imagine the pioneering characters of the late Nineteenth Century plodding through dense mangroves and denser swarms of mosquitoes, tripping over snakes and gators, shooing herds of deer, shooting game from the front porch, walking a few feet into the water and snatching up ten-pound lobsters with their bare hands. No wonder 250 million people now live in Miami-Dade County! Cutler Days is a celebration and historical re-enactment at ol' Charlie's lush estate and botanical paradise, preserved as it was way back when, with carefully detailed repairs made after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The en-actors will be in pioneer mode and many other re-creations of a time sadly passed will be offered for $5; children under 12 get in for 25 cents. History unfurls from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. all weekend. Call 305-235-1668, extension 233 or visit www.deeringestate.org. --Greg Baker
Orchid exhibition extraordinaire
Long-stemmed roses...pshaw! No blooming seductress exudes Mother Nature's unbridled passion like the exotic orchid with its delicately lipped three-petaled bud. This bewitching Mata Hari has inflamed the creativity of artists from Georgia O'Keeffe to Robert Mapplethorpe while knocking countless corsage-bearing prom-night palookas into swoons. "Orchid Safari," presented by the East Everglades Orchid Society, provides the public an opportunity for an up close encounter with the blossom that has held hardcore horticulturists and back-yard botanists captive in her undulating sway. Hosted at the lush tropical gardens of R.F. Orchids (28100 SW 182nd Ave., Homestead) the tantalizing tribute to the fair flower includes a variety of vendors offering orchid plants, growing supplies, collectibles, and more. Also enjoy an exhibit presented by the Homestead Art Club, with paintings and sculptures from local artists. Enjoy an excuse for flower lovers to dust off their pith helmets and parasols and luxuriate in some breathtaking blooms today and all weekend long, starting at 9 a.m. Call 305-245-4570. -- Carlos Suarez de Jesus
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Ever since Crown Prince Luitpold I's wedding to Princess Therese von Schensen-Hildburghausen in 1810, Germans have been tapping the keg, turning up the oompah and celebrating their prince's anniversary. But Americans, excited to add yet another alcohol-fueled festival to the calendar, haven't quite gotten it right. Here, we have an alcoholic Frankenstein's monster of a festival complete with a bastardization of the traditional "duck dance," which, according to twisted legend, an attendant Yank transformed into the "chicken dance." Since then these awkward, arm-flapping movements have plagued weddings, roller rinks, and tragically, every Oktoberfest across the country. Oktoberfest is about more than beer, knocks, brats, and drunken interpretation of funky, poultry-based German dance moves. Celebrate the real tradition when German-Americans open their doors to the community in order to spread Gemutlichkeit, the feeling of well-being. Unbutton your lederhosen and take in all that Oktoberfest has to offer starting this afternoon at 1:00 at the German American Social Club, 11919 SW 56th St. Admission ranges from $3 to $6 . Call 305-552-5123. -- Terra Sullivan