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New York Times Mar. 24, 2002 article in the Sunday travel section by editor Pam Noel on Split Tree Fool's Fest Dance Weekend, Apr. 5-7, 2002

Celebrating April Fool's Day

Q. Do any cities have a special festival on April 1? - Steven Moffic, Milwaukee

A. The St. Stupid's Day Parade in San Francisco is among the best-known April Fool's Day celebrations in the United States. The parade, sponsored by the self-proclaimed First Church of the Last Laugh, is a motley gathering of wigged and oddly dressed participants. This year's parade, the 24th, is scheduled to step off at noon from the Embarcadero Plaza at the foot of Market Street. It will loop through the sidewalks of the financial district and end back at the plaza. The event is free and anyone can march.

A lesser-known, and more specialized celebration, is the Fool's Fest Dance Weekend at Split Tree Farm Studio, 597 West Cove Road, Chickamauga, Ga. 30707; (706) 539-2485; This year, because Easter and Passover both fall near April 1, the weekend has been moved to April 5 to 7 at the farm, 16 miles south of Chattanooga, Tenn.

The dancing, which takes place over three days is a merry mix of contra, waltz, tango, swing and other styles. There is live and recorded music, dance lessons, breakfast and lunch buffets and a Fully Unformal Fool's Ball, at which jesters' outfits and other costumes are welcome. It is an event that its founder, Sid Hetzler, hopes can offer "a license to be foolish." The celebrations have taken place in one form or another since 1990, he said. Adults are asked to donate $60, and, if they wish, an additional $15 for food ($20 for children over 12, plus $6 for food).

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