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Eight great weekend events: From clowns to healing herbs

This weekend, you can discover something new, whether it’s about science or the circus, art or music, water or herbs. You might even learn something about yourself.

Circus Vargas: If the circus teaches us anything, it’s that laughing is fun. So check out what the clowns are up to under the 90,000-square-foot Big Top. There’s also lots more. Expect juggling, tumbling and aerialists plus motorcycle mania inside the steely “Globe of Death” and even a “bungee ballet.” The Mira Mesa show runs through Monday. Information: www.circusvargas.org

Cirque du Soleil:This decidedly untraditional circus is also in town. The new show, “KOOZA,” returns to the origins of Cirque du Soleil by blending the art of acrobatic performing and the art of clowning. The title comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “treasure box.” And as SDNN’s Hoa Quach pointed out in her article, “you’ll see a bevy of performance artists from around the world, who open a koza of excitement.” The show runs through March 28 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. If you’re not laughing, you’ll probably be thinking ‘How do they do that?’ Information: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/kooza/tickets/san-diego.aspx

San Diego Science Festival: It’s a scientific fact – the Science Festival has become a San Diego tradition. And it’s back. The festival kicks off on Saturday, “Family Day,” in Balboa Park. A better name for Family Day might be “Bargain Day” because various museums and cultural institutions also have discounted admission. Children ages 17 and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult admission at participating museums. So help the kids discover science in a new way. And if Saturday isn’t enough, the countywide festival continues throughout the week, culminating in the free Science Expo at PETCO Park on March 27. The expo will feature more than 150 hands-on exhibits and 20 stage performances. Information: www.sdsciencefestival.com

Annual World Water Day Festival: Another scientific fact is that water is a basic necessity for all life. Yet millions do not have access to safe drinking water. With that in mind, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate March 22 as the “World Day for Water,” the idea being to highlight issues about water resources. You can get into the spirit on Saturday, when the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation presents the Fourth Annual World Water Day Festival at Carlsbad’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center. The free, family-oriented event combines education and entertainment with activity stations, craft booths and animals ranging from live birds of prey to frogs and toads. (Don’t worry, the hawks won’t snack on the frogs.) The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, located at 1580 Cannon Road at Faraday in Carlsbad. Information: http://www.aguahedionda.org/Festivals/WaterFestival.aspx

Herb Festival: Whether or not you have a green thumb, you can appreciate these fascinating plants on Saturday and Sunday. The San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens) is hosting its annual Herb Festival in Encinitas. There will be children’s activities that showcase dill (which happens to be the Herb of the Year) plus guided herb garden tours, plants for sale (including tomato seedlings) and more. Author James Duke will give a presentation on foods (particularly spices) as medicines, and will sign copies of his book, “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns.” So come and learn how you to spice up your life! The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Information: http://www.sdbgarden.org/herbfest.htm

The Paint Out: What kind of art can you create? You can find out the third Saturday of every month, when the San Diego Art Institute offers amateurs and professionals a chance to explore Balboa Park and create their own works of art. Everyone is encouraged to participate, whether you use acrylics, charcoal, digital, mixed media, oils, pastels, pencil or watercolor. The group will meet back at the museum for a show-and-tell session in which participants share their work and a potluck meal. So grab your brushes, pencils or other favorite tool and Paint Out! Information: http://www.sandiego-art.org/finished_2columnR_content.php?conID=73

Spike & Mike Animation: There’s an artistic adventure for film lovers, too. Check out 19 animated short films that promise to be “new,” different” and the “most impressive and electrifying possibilities that creativity has to offer.” At least that’s what Spike and Mike Animation calls them. Judge for yourself at showings slated for 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in La Jolla. General admission tickets cost $15 and student tickets cost $10. For groups of four or more, tickets are $12. Information: (858) 459-8707 or http://spikeandmike.com/sitepages/festival.php

Special Chamber Concert: On Sunday, La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is hosting a concert that will not only treat your ears, but teach you about music history. Baroque violinist Victoria Martino, accompanied by James Lent on the organ, will perform works by composer Johann Sebastian Bach. And for good reason. It’s Bach’s 325th birthday. As you listen, you’ll have no doubt as to why Bach’s music has lasted so long. The Library is located at 1008 Wall St. Tickets cost $20 for members; $25 for nonmembers. Information: http://www.ljathenaeum.org/specialconcerts.html

Kristina Blake is an SDNN intern.