As fair season winds down, let's give it up for the Great Geauga County Fair, one of the area's finest Labor Day celebrations. In addition to the usual rides, games, and food, the fair is jam-packed with daily events -- chainsaw carving, frog-jumping contests, a firefighters' water battle, a pony-pulling contest, the Smashin' Crashin' Demo Derby, raccoon-hound water races, and an open-class swine show. Who says fairs are boring? The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through September 6 at the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton. Admission is $6; kids under 12 get in free. Call 440-834-1846 for more info.
Friday, September 3
There are only a couple days left to check out Portraits of Romania at the Beck Center. Photographs by Louis Martin and paintings by Theodore Pallady and others make up the exhibit, which gathers Romanian artists from the turn of both centuries. Pallady's late-1800s landscapes, nudes, and still lifes offer both striking contrast and fitting balance to Martin's contemporary images of Romania's people. They're on view at the Beck Center for the Arts (17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood) through Sunday. It's open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-521-2540.
Saturday, September 4
Today's a good day to be a Westlakean -- or just to visit. Celebrate Westlake 2004 starts at 8 a.m. at St. John West Shore Hospital (29000 Center Ridge Road in Westlake). A run, walk, inline skate race, and health-and-fitness expo (including free blood-pressure readings!) are included. Registration fees range from $8 to $18. After that, head over to the Westlake Recreation Center (28955 Hilliard Road), where a free Family Fun Festival takes place from 2 to 9 p.m. There's a classic-car show, a children's play area, food from area restaurants, and plenty of live music performances. Call 440-808-5700 for more information.
Canal Days Celebration honors the Ohio & Erie Canal, the frontier-settlement waterway that literally put Akron on the map. A marble exhibit, pioneer craft activities, and glass-blowing demonstrations help mark the occasion, but live music performances happening throughout the fest are the real attraction here. Such folkies as the Kingston Trio, Glenn Yarbrough & the Folk Reunion, Weavermania, Lee Murdock, and Brian Henke sing songs about hammers, greenback dollars, and possibly inland waterways. Food, canal tours, and games and rides for the kids will add to the fun. It all happens from 4 to 10 p.m. at Lock 3 Live! (on Main Street, next to the Akron Civic Theatre, in Akron). Tickets are $10, available by calling 330-253-2488.
Sunday, September 5
The 49th annual Hungarian Scout Festival runs today, so be sure to go with an empty stomach and stretchable pants. With ample servings of stuffed cabbage, sausage, grilled pork steak, goulash, chicken paprikash, and fried-dough langos being dished out, this is one of the area's best excuses to expand your gut. Folk dancing and craft exhibits highlight the fest's ethnic origins, and games, hands-on activities, and live animal demonstrations oughta keep the little ones in line. Live music -- from such Hungarian heavies as the Tokay Orchestra and Kalman Hegedeos -- plays throughout the day. The festival takes place from 1 to 11 p.m. at German Central Park, 7863 York Road in Parma. Admission is $7, free for kids under 10. Call 440-582-1233 for more information.
Sweden's Roy Andersson delights in the absurd. His 2000 film, Songs From the Second Floor, is a surreal look at millennial tension. Four dozen vignettes figure into Andersson's first movie in 25 years, and the results fall somewhere between black comedy and apocalyptic dread. Crucifix-selling businessmen, a feeble 100-year-old millionaire, and a magic trick gone painfully wrong make their way into the bizarre, nonlinear tale, which will leave you awed by its complexity and beautifully rendered portraits of civilization on the brink of destruction. Songs From the Second Floor screens at 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.
Monday, September 6
What better way to spend your extra day off than admiring the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which planted trees and built roads in Cleveland Metroparks 70-some years ago? There's an interesting history here, one that includes the Depression and Franklin D. Roosevelt and the origins of one of the country's finest park systems. The free, one-hour walk is a fitting holiday tribute. It starts at 2:30 p.m. at Lagoon Picnic Area (off Valley Parkway in Rocky River); call 440-734-6660.
Tuesday, September 7
We like sex. So we're pretty sure we're gonna like 1300 Gallery's Sexhibition 2004, an art display celebrating all things carnal. Local and national photographers, video artists, and new media developers contribute to the hot and horny show. It runs through September 12 at 1300, 1300 West 78th Street. It's open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-939-1300.
Wednesday, September 8
The concept behind Equinox's BYO Mug Night is brilliant: Carry a cup -- any cup, up to 32 ounces -- into the bar, and they'll fill it up with any domestic draught for $2. And they'll keep filling it for a mere two bucks till you stumble out the door puking, if that's what you choose. If you don't have a mug, you can order any drink for $2 till 9 p.m. or "bombs" for $3.75 till closing time. And there'll be 20-cent wings till 9 p.m.! It all starts at 4 p.m. at Equinox Bar & Grill, 1091 Pearl Road in Brunswick (in the Hickory Ridge Plaza); call 330-225-4006.