1. See how the students in Studio Arena Theatre School spent their summer vacation. Children interested in acting will see what it's all about as they watch their peers in these affordable shows (all tickets are $7). There are shows today at 4 p.m., Friday at noon and 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. of "Are We Alone? Tales From Your Imagination" (ages 8 and 9) at 700 Main St. (sixth floor), and of "Wiley and the Hairy Man" (ages 10 and 11) at the Pfeifer Theatre Cabaret. "Half-pint Windom Rides West" (ages 12 and 13) will be presented tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, all at the Pfeifer. The Touring Division performs Aug. 1 through 3 at 7:30 in the Pfeifer, and the high school group performs Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at 700 Main St. For information, call 856-8025, Ext. 1770.
2. Spots are still available in two remaining "Kidshops" at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for children ages 6 to 12. The workshops, from 9 a.m. to noon, mix music, games and crafts to bring kids closer to their cultural heritage with good, old-fashioned fun. On July 31, "The 1870s, Kid Style" turns back the clock to a time when children made their own entertainments. On Aug. 7, "Treasure Trackers" will explore the museum's collection, and do some collecting of their own. Kidshops are $12 for society members, $15 for non-members. Register by calling 873-9644.
3. And you thought the Festival of Lights was only for Christmas! The Falls Street Summerfest, from Friday through Tuesday in downtown Niagara Falls, brings back many holiday favorites plus summer. A World of Animation will be open daily on the second floor of the Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet Mall. There will be a midway on the East Mall, a giant flea market on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Convention & Civic Center parking lot, reptile shows, musical performances, the Hershey's Kiss Mobile (Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m.), and even a "Falling in Love on Falls Street" contest on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Wintergarden. All this, plus, of course, Niagara Falls.
4. Theatre Beyond Words and the innovative creators of the Potato People will be spending part of the summer at home in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The silent but expressive family of spuds will present daily matinee performances (except Tuesdays) of the family show "School Daze," at 1:30 p.m. at Parliament Oak School. Each Monday at 8 p.m., the troupe will present "Still Laughing," a show that celebrates Theatre Beyond Words' 20th anniversary. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for youths and seniors, $6 for children under 12 for "School Daze"; $18 for "Still Laughing." Call the Shaw Festival box office at 468-2172 or (800) 511-7429.
5. It will take a pair of strong legs to hit every spot on this year's Garden Walk in the Elmwood Village area. The free, self-guided tour features 60 gardens, including the LucasVarity corporate gardens at Delaware and North. The walk runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with maps available at 231 Norwood Ave. (corner of West Utica), and coincides with the Lexington Street Fair (at Ashland) on both days.
If that sounds like too much, head to 230 Longnecker St. to pick up a map for the Garden Tour of Lovejoy (known at least within its own boundaries as "The Flower Capital of Buffalo"). The Lovejoy tour is Saturday only, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is sponsored by the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy.