The residents of Affton have taken in about a dozen exchange students from the Duchy of Pamelonia, a remote and rarely mentioned region in the Alps along the Swiss-German border that somehow escaped the cataclysm of 20th-century upheaval, including two world wars. (Think Lichtenstein.) Goats are revered in this tiny principality, which is much less than a third the size of St. Louis County. Goats are also a very big deal here among the exchange students from Pamelonia, and as honored as the sacred cows of India. Suffice it to say; nary a goat is served on a plate over there. As a rite of spring, the goats are celebrated every April, and the Pamelonians have trained the goats over the centuries not quite to become circus animals, but to become agile. (They also remain a very popular dowry item, by the way.) The somewhat obscure climbing goats of Pamelonia are nimble enough to climb trees, and the exchange students in Affton managed to herd the full complement of goats in Affton that they have skillfully trained in just a few months to climb into one tree! Perhaps we failed to mention that the Goat Fest is every April 1—you know, April Fool’s Day? Well, maybe you can catch it next year.

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Those who were wishing that Grant’s Farm would become akin to the Saint Louis Zoo South Annex or the like will, for the time being, have to wish for something else. The zoo has withdrawn its $27 million offer for the complex where Clydesdales roam and other exotic animals frolic on property that has become a tug-of-war among the Busch clan. After all, the ancestral manse is here. Billy Busch, brewer of Kräftig, has floated a comprehensive business plan that includes everything from a large pavilion and small brewery to a honeybee colony. He’s also shared it with his siblings and with the media via a splashy news release featuring renderings by Fox Architects (shown). The farm would remain free to enter but would stay open year-round, weather permitting. Meanwhile, Billy’s plans for the facility are supported by only one other of the Busch siblings, Adolphus. The other four, who favored the zoo deal, are digging in their heels about what to do with the 280-some acres owned by the Busch Family Trust. They had approached the zoo as early as 2013. The zoo was concerned about the likelihood of protracted litigation, while Billy likened the situation to a simple family ‘squabble.’ In any event, it’s a potentially historic disagreement that doesn’t seem to this layman to have an easy way out. Unless the court case is really just the simple probate matter that some reportedly believe it could be.

Stages Triple Threats, Stages’ troupe of younger young people, will be staging Roald Dahl’s James and The Giant Peach … with a Jr. tagged onto the end. You may remember the 1961 book and 1996 movie based on this poignant and quirky Dahl tale, which one reviewer gave a thumbs-up despite a few ‘treacly’ songs. One could argue that even The Sound of Music has a treacly song or two, so what musical doesn’t? Performances are slated for April 23 and 24. As everyone should know by now, Stages is based in Chesterfield nowadays, not Kirkwood, with shows staged at Samuel R. Goldstein Performance Hall (which is in Kent Center for Theatre Arts, on the perimeter road at Chesterfield Mall).

It smelled like, to those who caught a whiff of it, a forest fire not so far, far away. Or worse, a house afire nearby. It was neither. Grass fires many hundreds of miles to the west in Kansas and Oklahoma produced blinding smoke that was whisked into a cold front traversing the metro a week or so ago. Authorities say a controlled burn out yonder in Shannon County, 100 miles and change southwest of here, also contributed to the aroma that must have made plenty of people think that somebody, somewhere, was burning leaf piles against ordinance. Clayton was one municipality that emailed a news release to citizens, perhaps in ropes of slowing the rush of calls to 911 when there was no emergency in the vicinity. There was no fire here, just smoke. And not so much of that. The smoke itself had all but dissipated along the way, leaving in its wake an odor that was hard to miss, unless you happened to miss it. (I did; I must be olfactorily challenged.)

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Rock ’n’ roll … at the library? Sounds like a marriage made in the netherworld. But it’s part of the City Library’s ‘Not So Quiet!’ series, which happens at 7 p.m. every third Thursday in the auditorium at the Central Library downtown. Last month kids from Mozingo’s Rock University pulled together what they’d learned over eight weeks, including the most important element: ensemble playing. For most, the library was their first gig ever in front of an audience. What could a kid possibly want to be in a decade or two? President of the United States … a CEO … a well-paid athlete … or a rock star? Rockers are not gender-trapped, either. There was no glass ceiling for Grace Slick, Bonnie Raitt or Demi Lovato. The next 7 p.m.—free; did we mention free?—show features the band Kingdom Men. Seating is first-come, first-served for the April 21 event.

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Those just whetting their penny whistles, as well as experienced bodhran players alike, are invited to workshops for Irish music players April 15 through 17th. Workshops will be held at Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves for the curious, and for veterans who just want to hone their technique. There also will be a concert that first evening at the Schlafly Taproom starting at 7:30 p.m. It’s all part of the 19th annual St. Louis Tionól, during which some of the world’s top traditional Irish musicians come to town for the three-day celebration, its centerpiece being an April 16 fiddle fest at Sheldon Concert Hall. Performing a prelude during the workshops at Nerinx, players of the aforementioned tin whistle and Irish drum also will appear in the Saturday night show. Pronounced ‘chunawl,’ tionól (ya gotta love a silent ‘t’) is the Irish word for a gathering, and organizers say it captures the spirit of the Auld Sod. Flute, harp and traditional dancers also will season the performances. Some have played a pub named John D. McGurk’s in that not-so-Irish, French-Quarter feeling neighborhood of The Lou, Soulard. Intriguingly, part of the evening at the Tap Room is billed as ‘sessions.’ Aye. Does any St. Louis musician worth his grog, be he or she Irish or Orangeman, need much of an invitation to jam?