At precisely 7:30 Friday evening, a procession will march down a wooded path, past an authentic German chalet, carrying a parade of flags. Then, with the gravitas that accompanies such official ceremonies, one of the marchers will execute a sacred autumn ritual -- tapping the first Oktoberfest keg. With that, he'll ignite two weekends of accordion-based music, root-beer schnapps, and chicken dances.
Bartenders in lederhosen will drain keg upon keg of Warsteiner and Becks. Servers in dirndls will scoop plate upon plate of potato pancakes and veal loaf. Some of the 30,000 revelers will stack empty cup upon empty cup to create the tallest beer towers. Kids will take advantage of the fact that their parents are wasted and play in the carnival area in the dark. Two bands -- Trio Edelweiss Express and the Die Sechs Ruhpoldinger -- will have flown in from Germany, and a full roster of traditional dancers -- like the Sea Turtle Cloggers and the Ukrainian Dancers of Miami -- will perform.
Oktoberfest at the American-German Club (5111 Lantana Rd., Lake Worth) is one of the largest such celebrations in the United States. It lasts Friday through Sunday both this weekend and next. Call 561-967-6464, or visit www.americangermanclub.org. Admission costs $7. -- Deirdra Funcheon
You're standing in dogma
Your kittens missed their first communion, and you never baptized your bassett hound. Fido buried a copy of The Razor's Edge in the backyard, alongside a string of rosary beads and several key pages from the Book of Revelation, and ever since your hamster went through that niche phase, he hasn't seen his way back to the wheel. It seems everyone has questions. Guide your furry, slimy, or scaly animals through their religious quandaries with a complimentary Tibetan Pet Blessing at 11 a.m. Saturday at Quiet Waters Park (Pavilion 8, 401 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach). The Tubten Kunga Center for the Study of Tibetan Buddhism welcomes all animals to attend a literal food chain of karmic purification. While pets must physically arrive leashed or caged, be assured, their spirits will be set free. Call 954-421-6224, or visit www.tubtenkunga.org. -- Jamie Laughlin
Lil' Wayne's big birthday bash
Lil' Wayne ain't so little anymore. Although the New Orleans native has been involved with Cash Money Records since the tender age of 12, the rapper celebrates his 23rd birthday Friday at Club TKO (1900 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach). Sure, the ex-Hot Boy is still young, but this is a guy who survived a self-inflicted bullet wound to the chest, a few label shakeups, the death of his stepfather, and, of course, that infamous hurricane. Remember, Wayne and the Cash Money crew first hyped the term "bling-bling" -- now recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary. So if you're down for some booty-slammin' crunk beats -- and a special appearance by 305 diva Trina -- drop by at 10 p.m. Call 772-260-2705. -- D. Sirianni
Poker runs used to involve Harley dudes picking up one poker card at a time at five tiki bars between Key Largo and Key West. But the Scuderia South Florida Poker Fun Rally has an upscale twist -- Ferrari and Lamborghini drivers getting their hands dealt at alcohol-free stops between Doral and Boca Raton; it's also a charity benefit. If you own flashy wheels, register by calling 954-802-4694, or visit www.pokerfunrally.com. It costs $50. -- Deirdra Funcheon