Seal the 7th

With a lover's wish

THU 7/7 Those paper-crazy folks at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach) must have stock in Georgia-Pacific. If they're not creating giant origami animals to raise awareness about Florida's endangered species, then they're hanging paper cranes from Christmas trees in the museum's lobby.

Well, in a way, it's Christmas in July at the museum. The seventh day of the seventh month in Japan means you write your wishes on strips of paper and hang them from the branches of bamboo trees -- all to celebrate Tanabata, the Star Festival of hope for lovers and others.

Like many traditional festivals, Tanabata is based on celestial events analyzed through fairy tales. In this case, it's the proximity of the stars Vega and Altair to each other during the year. In the tale, Vega is Orihime, the Weaving Princess, and Altair is Kengyuu, the Puller of Cows. The two star-crossed lovers (or crossing lover-stars) are kept apart by the princess' father, who lets them see each other only once a year -- on, you guessed it, the seventh day of the seventh month. That's also when Vega's and Altair's parent constellations are prominent in the sky, separated by the Milky Way.

What's in your wish wallet? Write it up and hang it from bamboo in the museum's lobby until July 10. Admission is $9 for adults. Call 561-495-0233, or visit www.morikami.org.

Big Choppers

A biker blowout

SAT 7/9

Somewhere between Internet poker and Livestrong bracelets, building custom motorcycles emerged as the new fad for suburban dads. On any Saturday morning, you can see them barreling down I-95 clothed in ironed jeans, a day-old goatee, and a fresh tribal zigzag on their biceps. But these weekend warriors, who wear gloves to cover their soft banker's mitts, had to pay gobs of cash to a real man who would build them their dream hog. The "Florida's Next Top Custom Bike Builder" contest is your chance to watch those same real men work their craft in a serious competition that started in May and finishes in December. If Orange County Choppers won't keep you entertained till then, get down to the Ugly Tuna Saloon (300 SW First Ave., Ste. 206, Fort Lauderdale) at 2 p.m. for a look at the blacksmiths of our day in action. Call 954-766-8198, or visit www.topbikebuilder.com. -- Jake Smith

Grin; They Bare It

Hummina Hummina Hummina

FRI 7/8

Just about every cruise ship serves fruity cocktails and glasses of champagne. Sea Escape, however, trumps them all by offering up six-packs -- lots of six-packs. Not the kind that you crack open and guzzle but the kind that you fondle, do Jell-O shots off of, and throw dollar bills at! See, on Friday nights through July 29, the cruise line features a show starring the men of LaBare, Fort Lauderdale's male strip club. The $24.95 ticket includes a buffet dinner, and drinks are free while you're gambling. The ship departs at 7 p.m. from Terminal 1 at Port Everglades (1850 Eller Dr., Fort Lauderdale) and returns at 1:15 a.m. This cruise has been selling out, so call 1-877-SeaEscape for reservations. -- Deirdra Funcheon

Bears Eating Popsicles

SAT 7/9

P. Diddy made headlines by importing penguins to a Miami hotel for a recent party. But he has nothing on the Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park (1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach), which rounded up a snow-making machine and stilt walkers for Saturday and Sunday's "Winter in July" extravaganza. See bears, jaguars, and bush dogs eat "popsicles" (ice with berries or fish inside). Admission costs $10.95 for adults, $6.95 for kids. Call 561-547-9453. -- Deirdra Funcheon

 
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