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September 19, 2002|By SUN STAFF

Margaret Cho at the Improv

Her network television show, All-American Girl, lasted only briefly (1994-95), but it gave stand-up comedian Margaret Cho wide public exposure and gained her many new fans -- fans who then followed as she resumed her career as one of the nation's few Korean-American comedy stars. She was disappointed, of course, that the sitcom bombed, but says in her Web site bio that it "was a good experience as far as finding myself, knowing who I was and what direction I wanted to take with my comedy." You can check out Cho's comedy direction tomorrow through Sunday at the Baltimore Improv, 6 Market Place. Show times vary. Tickets are $25. Call 410-727-8500.

'Ancient Art' at the Walters

Starting Sunday, Baltimoreans can contemplate objects made up to 4,500 years ago when Art of the Ancient Americas opens at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. The exhibit will include 120 pieces from Central and South American civilizations from 2500 B.C. to 1520 A.D. that were used in agricultural fertility rituals and in the practice of shamanism, or magic. The exhibit is being loaned to the Walters for the next 10 years from the Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Foundation. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $5-$8. Call 410-547-9000.

The 17th Maryland Million

We can all use a little bit of magic -- Magic Weisner, that is. The 3-year-old, who came in an astounding second in the Preakness Stakes, will be the horse to beat Saturday in the $200,000 Maryland Classic at the Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave. The race will be the highlight of the 17th annual Maryland Million, a series of 10 races open only to thoroughbreds sired by Maryland stallions. Kids' events include free pony rides, a petting zoo and exhibits of trick riding, jousting and jumping. The first race begins at 1:05 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children 12 and younger. Call 410-252-2100 or 410-542-9400.

Festivals

Ethnic festivals for all to enjoy

It's a weekend full of ethnic festivals: Irish, Korean, African-American and Greek. The Irish and Korean festivals are the final two events in the Baltimore's Showcase of Nation's ethnic festivals. Featuring music, dance, crafts and food, the Irish Festival takes place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. tomorrow, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division Street. The cost is $3-$8. Call 410-747-6868.

The 25th annual Korean Festival highlights music, martial arts, games, fashion and more. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Center Plaza, 120 W. Fayette St. Free. Call 410-242-6838.

The Baltimore County African-American Cultural Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Towson Courts Plaza, 400 Washington Ave. On tap are arts, crafts, music, information booths, health screenings and more. The musical headliner is the O'Jays. Free. Call 410-887-5557.

The 31st annual Athenian Agora Greek Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 24 W. Preston St. Enjoy music, dancing, games, food specialties and more. Free. Call 410-727-1831.

Jones Falls Valley Celebration

Get out of your car and on your feet, bike or skates. The fifth annual Jones Falls Valley Celebration takes place this Sunday, and that means you can walk, bike or skate in the closed-to-traffic northbound lanes of the Jones Falls Expressway and in the Jones Falls valley. The fleet of foot can even run in an 8K race on

the expressway. And there will be canoeing and kayaking on the Jones Falls. After all that exercise, you'll want to stop by the post-race party on the Cedar Avenue bridge in Druid Hill Park. The 8K race (4.9 miles) begins at 8:30 a.m.; canoeing and kayaking hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; walking, biking and skating take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fees vary. Call 410-448-5663 or 410-377-8882 (8K information), or visit www.jonesfalls.com. Day-of-event registration takes place at Wyman Park Drive and Sisson Street.

Maryland Wine Festival

Traveling to an Italian vineyard is one way to experience fine wine, but the Maryland Wine Festival offers another, more convenient, idea. The festival, which takes place Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. at the Carroll County Farm Museum, offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy fine wines and a

long line of entertainment. Festival tickets include a souvenir wine glass and 10 tastings of wine from 11 Maryland wineries. In addition, the festival will feature regional bands, arts and crafts, wine seminars and plenty of wine for purchase. Admission is $15 for adults, free for children. Call 800-654-4645. The farm museum is located at 500 S. Center St., Westminster. On Saturday, you can cycle in the

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