Like the swallows of Capistrano, it's that time of year again -- when Canadians drag themselves from the drudgery of shoveling snow (and the occasional dog-sled race) to make their annual migration to South Florida. Go ahead and joke. Say something about their horrendous driving or their funny accents; that's as easy and predictable as ripping on Paris Hilton. But these are our neighbors. We share a border and much of the same culture and celebrities. It doesn't matter that we'll never understand why Canadian bacon is essentially ham, or why their police force takes pride in being mounted. This weekend offers the perfect opportunity to bridge the void between our great nation and theirs as CanadaFest 2005 hits the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk (Johnson Street and A1A).
The festival features 150 kiosks offering a variety of products, services, artists, music, and great food. Organizers expect the free event to attract more than 150,000 French Canadians. That means Hollywood Beach will be teeming with 51st-staters whose junk is stuffed snugly into bathing suits that wouldn't fit the Olsen twins. Sounds like a party, eh? The invasion takes place Saturday and Sunday. Call 954-294-9705, or visit www.canadafest.com. -- Paul Leone
Watch sports on screens in a mock arena bar
It's one thing to play sports but another to watch them on TV (a sense of remove that Italian writer Umberto Eco called Sports2) and still another thing to watch Greg Gumble on TV talking about sports he's watching on a studio monitor (this would be Sports3). But how about watching real people in a sports bar who watch Greg Gumble on TV talk about sports he's watching? Hmm, Sports4, Mr. Eco?
The Park Sports Club -- with giant video walls, skyboxes, and a stadium entranceway meant to convey sports arena physicality -- is opening its doors at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (5763 Seminole Way, Hollywood) with a cocktail reception starting at 9 p.m. Saturday. The $10-per-person admission price partly benefits Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. At 8 p.m. Monday, January 31, watch The Bachelorette with its star, Jen Shefft, at the club for a $20 viewing party that benefits tsunami victims. Would this be Bachelorette4? -- real men watching real Jen watching TV men watching TV Jen? Yikes. Call 954-556-7450. -- Dave Amber
Fun is served at chili cook-off
To add beans or not to add beans? That is the question chili lovers have pondered for decades. See who wins the debate this year on Sunday at C.B. Smith Park (900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines) during the KISS Country Chili Cook-off. This is the 20th year the country radio station has combined chili and music and cooked up a foot-stompin' good time, and it's doing it up with a slate of performers led by Hank Williams Jr. and Keith Urban. Tickets cost $30 in advance ($35 at the gate) and are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Gates open at 8 a.m. Call 305-654-1700, or visit www.wkis.com. -- Mary Damiano
If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting a greyhound, you know the breed is part sweet little angel, part graceful little doe, and part jet engine. From noon to 3 p.m., some fine-looking 'hounds star in a luncheon and fashion show for Greyhound Pets of America. Dogs will strut down the runway and accessorize with Miss Palm Beach County pageant contestants, who accompany them dressed in outfits from CityPlace boutiques. Tickets cost $25 to $30. Call 561-737-1941, or visit www.greyhoundpetsfl.org. -- Deirdra Funcheon