Hollywood ain't New Orleans, no sirree. But the beach city's version of Fat Tuesday, Fiesta Tropicale, captures the flavor of the big-time carnival with plenty of Dixieland jazz and Cajun-spiced crawfish. The real Mardi Gras is in New Orleans next week, so consider the events at Young Circle Park today through Sunday a warm-up. Masked and costumed revelers will roam the streets near the park and dance to Hal Donovan and His Dixieland All Stars and C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. NRBQ will play Saturday after the parade, which begins at 7 p.m. and features dozens of elaborate floats winding through the streets, their riders tossing beads to (or at) the crowd. For mud-bug lovers there will be plenty of crawfish-eating contests. (Mmm-mmm.) The food court offers seafood gumbo, jambalaya, and other Crescent City fare, and a daiquiri bar and beer garden are in continuous operation, of course. Admission is $3 to $5, or $10 for three days; $12 includes bleacher seats for parade-watching. Downtown Hollywood is one mile east of I-95 from the Hollywood Boulevard exit. For additional information call 954-922-9959.
Fish counts show which marine conservation methods work, but numbers are only collected through volunteer efforts, says David Humann of Davie. The dive-boat captain and underwater photographer watched marine preservation programs work in the Cayman Islands in the '80s but returned with no evidence. "I saw a rebound in the fish populations in Cayman, as opposed to [Isla de] Roatan, an island off Honduras, which had a similar marine environment and population of fisherman, but no [fish-harvesting] restrictions," claims Humann, whose photos have appeared in National Geographic. "But I can't prove it." Enter his new Reef Environmental Education Foundation, which aims to teach recreational divers to identify fish during counts. He'll promote the group -- and show pretty pictures of reefs from around the world -- during the Ocean Watch Foundation's 10th Anniversary Party and Annual Meeting. The talk starts at 7 p.m., and live rock music is on the bill later in the evening. It's at West Lake Park's Mangrove Hall, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood. Admission is $5; free for members of Fort Lauderdale-based Ocean Watch. Call 954-474-7744.
Seiichi Tanaka's mission is to make taiko as much of a household word in the U.S. as karate and judo. Tanaka is a master of the ancient Japanese art of percussion, which is performed on ornate drums made from hollowed-out logs and animal skins. Dressed in traditional garb, taiko percussionists play in groups, pounding out their synchronized rhythms so hard that audiences not only hear, but feel, the music. Tanaka opened a taiko school in the U.S. in 1968, and he's jammed with the Temptations and the Grateful Dead. He'll play with the local Fushu Daiko drum ensemble during the annual Hatsume Fair, held today and Sunday at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach). The festival of Japanese culture runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and includes exhibits of rare orchids, bonsai miniatures, koi fish, martial arts demonstrations, and origami and storytelling for kids. Admission is $3 to $7. For more information call 561-495-0233.
Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. You always blew it off. Well, today's second annual Breakfast With the Orioles may be worth getting up for. "May" is the operative word, because you have to shell out $15 without knowing whether you'll break the fast with Cal Ripkin, Jr. (yeah, right) or a minor-league no-name just breaking into the bigs (much more likely). Whomever you end up sitting next to, Mom was right: You have to eat breakfast. And after the meal the players and coaches will trot onto the field for practice. There will also be an auction featuring baseballs signed by players and other Orioles memorabilia. Proceeds from the auction and breakfast go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Reservations and advanced payment are required for the event, which takes place from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Orioles' spring-training site at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, 5301 NW 12th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-761-5813.
Go from stressed-out to blissed-out at the new Delray Beach Mahayana Buddhist Center. Buddhist beliefs are growing in popularity in the U.S., and this new group brings the positive vibes, calm, compassion, wisdom, and kindness to town with a free public lecture on "Meditation and Positive Thinking" tonight at 7 p.m. Spiritual leader Nick Gillespie will guide the uninitiated in the 2500-year-old practice, promoting meditational deep-thinking as a way to decompress in our fast-paced world. He says there will be no big-bellied Buddha statue to rub, though a portrait of the more svelte Buddha of the Kadampa Buddhism Gillespie dispenses will overlook the proceedings. Buddhism came to the West from India, and Gillespie learned by studying for sixteen years under guru Gesha Kelsang Gyatso. The opening event is free, but classes held every Monday thereafter will cost $7 each. The lecture takes place at the Social Room, 2220 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-4070.
They may be a step slower these days, but they can still run most of us off the court. Yesterday's tennis superstars Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Andres Gomez, and others play in the Nuveen Tennis Tour Citibank Champions tournament today through February 27 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center (201 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach). The senior tennis event is the final stop on the tour before the Nuveen Masters championship tournament next week in Naples. Borg and Connors have already qualified for slots in that event but will play doubles rounds in Delray Beach. The real drama comes in matches featuring players such as John Lloyd, who battles Brian Gottfried in the opening match today in an attempt to clinch a spot in the Nuveen Masters for the fourth consecutive year. The winner goes to the championship tourney. Citibank matches begin at 1 and 7 p.m. all three days. Ticket prices range from $10 to $30; kids age fourteen and under get in for $3. Call 561-243-0899.