Up, Up and Away

Besides families, the Ballunar Liftoff Festival attracts hot-air ballooning and photography geeks -- folks hooked on getting high without that trip to the toxin-removal store -- from all over the country. Watching the balloons launch and float by is a soothing experience, especially early in the morning or right before dusk. The festival's coolest event is what's known as the Balloon Glow, in which the pilots make their airships pulse up and down in sync with music. That will happen each evening as the hot air balloons land. The weekend also brings freestyle sky-diving teams, extreme BMX bike teams and astronaut autograph sessions. And, as required of every festival, music will be part of the mix, with Austin country rocker Charlie Robison performing Friday night. The Ballunar Liftoff Festival happens from Friday, August 22, through Sunday, August 24. Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Road One in Clear Lake. For information and a full schedule, call 281-488-7676 or visit www.ballunarfestival.com. $15 Friday, $10 Saturday and Sunday (free for kids 11 and younger). -- Greg Barr

MON 8/25
Little Wonders
Raise a future cash cow with the help of HITS

Does your child bang around the house singing and dancing? Perhaps one day he'll become a star and buy you a mansion. To increase the likelihood of your little exhibitionist's rise to fame, enroll him in Broadway-style classes at HITS Theatre in the Heights, which get under way on Monday, August 25. 311 West 18th. For a full schedule, call 713-861-7408 or visit www.hitstheatre.org. Classes start at $100. -- Cathy Matusow

Legal Tender
Sponsored by Wells Fargo, the "Mad About Money WonderWeekend" at the Children's Museum teaches a kid how to write checks, design his own money, use banks and pay interest. If you're concerned about raising a future counterfeiter, relax. It's just paper and crayons. In other words, no need to bring a lawyer. Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24. Children's Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-522-1138. -- Troy Schulze

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