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OFFBEAT EVENTS HELP TAX FILERS LEAVE AS SMILERS

For $1, taxpayers in Santa Rosa, Calif., will have the pleasure of throwing a pie in the face of an IRS agent.

In Harrisburg, Pa., filers can - and no doubt, will - pay to dunk tax collectors in a tank.And in Manhattan's main post office, tax day will be a circus - literally.

It's all part of a trend by the U.S. Postal Service to arrange music, food and fun for folks making the trek to local post offices to beat or meet the tax filing deadline.

Monday is the big day for most of the nation, delayed from the normal April 15 because that fell on the weekend. Taxpayers in New England and upstate New York, who send their returns to Andover, Mass., have until midnight Tuesday because Monday is a state holiday in Massachusetts.

Dunking booths are popular this year, with people dressed as Uncle Sam or tax collectors taking the plunge.

In Annapolis, Md., fees paid to dunk Uncle Sam will benefit the Leukemia Society while the local AIDS-assistance network will receive the money raised in Harrisburg, Pa. Taxpayers who successfully dunk a "tax man" in Concord, Calif., will win free postage for their tax form.

In Santa Rosa, the pie-throwing fees will go to the family of a local deputy sheriff killed recently. Several tax agents have volunteered to take turns in the event, say local postal officials.

Ringling Brothers Circus is providing elephants and clowns to encourage New Yorkers to mail early in the day, and there will be giveaways of headache remedies, antacids and food for the 50,000 people expected.

The Springfield, Mass., post office is renowned for such a good party that some residents save their taxes until the last day just so they can take part. This year's program features quartets of postmasters singing "Mailhouse Rock," a concert by the University of Massachusetts jazz band and samples of spaghetti and meatballs donated by local merchants.

Ice cream is on the menu at post offices in San Francisco, Lubbock, Texas and Charlotte, N.C.

Pizza, free stamps or T-shirts will be given out by local radio personalities at post offices in Richmond and Roanoke, Va., New Orleans, Philadelphia and Fayetteville, N.C.

The 15-piece Erie Junior Philharmonic will play on tax evening at the main post office in Erie, Pa., and a local high school marching band and a Dixieland band will perform in Cincinnati.

Abilene, Texas, has scheduled a street party outside the main post office. There will be coffee and doughnuts at the Daytona Beach, Fla., post office and coffee and cookies in Olympia, Wash.