If the world were a better place, we Irish folk wouldn't suffer from such stupid stereotypes. Not that other ethnicities don't suffer from unfair prejudices, but mention the Irish in conversation and you're not likely to hear a single redeemable response. As far as most Americans are concerned, the island is overrun by car-bombing, fair-skinned, Riverdance-ing leprechauns who either give birth to hundreds of Catholic babies a month or get drunk at all hours. Why can't people associate us with something a little less zany? If that Commitments movie from '91 had gotten more famous, maybe redheads would be mistaken for passionate, talented members of soul revival bands. Or Boondock Saints might've given freckled guys a reputation as gun-blazing, vigilante warriors. But instead people just ask us for blue stars, yellow moons and green clovers. The dumb jokes don't necessarily equate to full-scale persecution, but they're annoying. We think that's reason enough to band together for this weekend's North Texas Irish Festival. This year's fest, held in Fair Park from Friday through Sunday, celebrates the connection between bluegrass and Celtic music. More than a dozen bands that straddle the line between the two genres, including international acts The McKrells and The Elders, will perform alongside arts and crafts booths, traditional Irish dance troupes and healthy portions of shepherd's pie. Also on hand will be Houston's "Celtic romance" author Cornelia Amiri to sign copies of her novels, which essentially combine Celtic legends and mythology with greasy, Fabio-lookin' dudes on the cover. Unfortunately, the Commitments won't be on hand to play a soulful concert, but then again neither will those Riverdance idiots. We'll take the compromise. Entry is $10 to $30. Call 972-943-4624 or check the schedule at www.ntif.org. --Sam Machkovech
Before we wrapped ourselves in business attire, before we flipped the bird in traffic and when we still thought the opposite sex was all yucky, we played with some pretty neat stuff. And we can again in the name of science when the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History brings us Kid Stuff: Great Toys From Our Childhood Exhibit, opening Saturday, which features popular toys ranging from Lincoln Logs to G.I. Joe to Colorforms. Admission to the museum, 1501 Montgomery St. in Fort Worth, for Kid Stuff is $7 for adults, $6 for ages (3 to 12) and seniors (60 and up). Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 817-255-9300 or visit www.fortworthmuseum.org. --Jonathan Freeman
Almost everyone has either been published or knows someone who has. Remember John Madden's Hey Wait a Minute, I Wrote a Book? Madden proved the theory that if you assemble monkeys banging on typewriters, they will eventually compose Othello--or the South Beach Diet. But most of us aren't John Madden or monkeys. That's why we need the Author's Party at the Plano Book Festival featuring chats with published authors, a silent auction supporting adult literacy and a publishing panel of renowned experts from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Southfork Hotel, 1600 N. Central Expressway in Plano. Tickets are $40. Call 972-633-9603. --Mark Stuertz
Park yer horse 'n' listen up: In honor of Women's History Month, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame offers Laura Ingalls Wilder Pioneer Day, featuring demonstrations and activities about Wilder and other famous ladies, including National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honorees sharpshooter Annie Oakley, photographer Laura Gilpin and horse diver Mamie Hafley. The museum is spillin' stories of pioneer youth with authentic artifacts and activities and re-creatin' the one-room schoolhouse that strong pioneer women once endured. Come milk a cow and witness the progress at 1720 Gendy St. in Fort Worth's Cultural District from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children ages 6 to 18 and free for children 5 and under. Call 817-336-4475 or www.cowgirl.net. --Danna Berger
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