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Downloads can get you in the mood for 2010 Games

If you can't wait for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to begin in two years, the organizers at the World Games 2010 Foundation have a couple of free toys for you.

You can now download a dozen desktop wallpapers featuring Games events at www.feigames2010.org/wallpapers.

There's also a free digital clock that counts down to the start of the Games on Sept. 25, 2010, at www.feigames2010.org/downloads/widget/default.asp.

Just think, you can sit in front of your computer and watch the days, hours, minutes and seconds of our lives tick away. Sounds like hours of cheap fun.

The messages on the wallpaper range from puns, such as "Reining Supreme" and "The Eventing of a Lifetime," to humor: "The Ultimate Test of Will, Stamina and Talcum Powder" and "Of Course They're Superhuman, That's Why They Wear Tights," referring to the vaulting event.

There's even something for the straight-laced: "16 Days 8 World Championships 1 World-Class Event."

A personal favorite? "One Trick Ponies Don't Stand a Chance."

FAO Schwarz is returning

What goes around, comes around — at least for FAO Schwarz.

The legendary New York toy merchant is returning to Lexington in 2009, as a department at Macy's in Fayette Mall.

It's all part of a plan to open 685 FAO Schwarz "stores" in Macy's department stores nationwide by the end of 2009.

FAO Schwarz opened at Florence Mall on Sept. 24 and at Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati on Sept. 26, the company said.

"Other FAO Schwarz within Macy's will be coming to Louisville and Lexington, Ky., in 2009," it added.

Those who were in Lexington from 1976 to 1983 might remember the FAO Schwarz store on the first level of the Lexington Center Shops.

The biggest attractions were the huge stuffed animals and the electric train that ran around the top of the store's outer walls. It had no ceiling.

Shoppers and downtown workers would stand along the rail on the second level of the mall to look down at the toys in the store and watch the train.

In the end, the store's relatively small size and large toy inventory contributed to its closing, the company said.

"We can't show our range of merchandise in such a small store," an FAO Schwarz executive told the Herald-Leader in January 1984.

Maybe Macy's will bring better luck to FAO Schwarz the second time around.

One big box for Christmas

The Salvation Army is looking for a little help during this holiday season.

The non-profit group needs a vacant big-box store or supermarket in Lexington that it can use during November and December to distribute toys and food to local families.

The vacant supermarket that was used last year is not available this year, said Major Debra Ashcraft, Salvation Army services coordinator.

A big space is needed because "we have a lot of volunteers who sort canned goods and pack food bags and toys," she explained. "We actually lay the toys out in rows (on the floor) in numerical order."

Parents are given a number that identifies their family's items that they can locate and take home.

More than 2,300 families and 6,000 children were helped last year, and that takes space — 25,000 square feet or more would be nice, Ashcraft said. Ideally, the site will have rest rooms and will be on a bus route. The Salvation Army will provide insurance and pay the utilities.

The contact person is Brent Rafferty at 252-7706, Ext. 117.

Ashcraft said that when the program first began, the Salvation Army had room in its gym on West Main Street to lay out the gift items.

"As the need has grown, our need for space has increased," she said. "Volunteers do the work and it now takes six or seven weeks, until after Christmas."

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