Learn how to be a ninja Saturday at the Louisville Free Public Library.
Learn how to be a ninja Saturday at the Louisville Free Public Library.

Spend Saturday afternoon at the Louisville Free Public Library, and you might come away a stealth ninja, a skilled cow milker, a robot builder, an expert jump-roper, a bicycle mechanic, a sword fighter or even a knowledgable Tarot card reader. Yes, even an old dog like you can learn new tricks at the fifth annual “How-To Festival,” which runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at LFPL’s downtown branch.

The event features more than 100 15- to 45-minute sessions on everything mentioned above and more. According to LFPL’s communications director Paul Burns, the “How-To Festival” has nearly doubled in size since the first year it was held and now appeals to both adults and children. While the first year they booked sessions geared mainly to adults, the interest by teenagers and kids was so overwhelming that last year they added a Kids’ Tent.

Ever wondered how to milk a cow?
Ever wondered how to milk a cow?

Burns says the ideas for the sessions can come from all over — presenters, library patrons and friends — but most are developed from the planning staff “either through brainstorming, talking with our community partners, looking at new trends, or just stumbling across a unique local business or organization on our day off,” he says.

Some of the more bizarre topics this year include “How to Milk a Cow” by Southland Dairy farmers, which Burns says has created the most buzz so far, as well as sessions led by Brewgrass Homebrew Supply on “How to Brew Your Own Beer” and Turners Circus on “How to Join the Circus.” And new this year will be a Louisville Mini Maker Faire with one of the founders, Campbell Boyer, teaching folks how to make a robot and a mechanical launcher as well as how to solder.

We asked Burns if he were to lead a session on “How to Organize a How-To Festival,” what would be the first lesson.

“The first rule for organizing something like this is to have an incredibly hard-working, creative and detail-oriented planning team,” he responds. “The next thing you need is to live in an outstanding city with talented people and local experts galore who generously want to volunteer to share their knowledge with others. Luckily we have both.”

To view the complete list of sessions and times, click here. Highlight your favorites and head downtown to LFPL, 301 York St., on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All sessions are free and open to everyone. Food trucks will be on site serving up local fare as well.

Editor’s Note: The original version of this article indicated the mayor would teach a session on creating a business, but he has since had to cancel.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."