Back to Ellis Island

Remember Liberty Weekend? World-class partyers are still talking about it. Now it's Ellis Island's turn to unveil, after a six-year, $156-million face lift.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Inc. -- the same folks who gave Liberty her overhaul -- would like to have invited the 20 million people who contributed to the project to the official opening ceremony Sept. 9. Unfortunately, only 2,000 partygoers can be accommodated on the island, so that event is by invitation only. Never mind. On Sept. 10 the rejuvenated main registry hall goes public again, along with the new Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. And a new ferry service will connect Liberty and Ellis.

Even if you or your ancestors didn't pass through here, Ellis's epic renovation is noteworthy. With the island abandoned since 1954 and exposed to the elements, the registry took 18 months just to dry out -- about as long as revelers after Liberty's bash. Less Young at Hearth

Start your own personal campaign to bring up the average age at youth hostels worldwide by joining the fastest-growing segment of American Youth Hostels' membership: those over 55. You don't have to be young and callow to take advantage of the original bargain in accommodations (for as little as $5 a night), or go on one of the organization's special trips. For details, send for the free World Adventure Trip Catalogue. But if you want to go along -- or stay at hostels -- you'll have to join AYH ($15 for ages 55 and up, $25 for the less experienced). Do try to make curfew. For information: 783-6161. TRAVEL TRIVIA Which marsupial has a brain proportionally larger than any other?

ANSWER BELOW TRIVIA ANSWER: THE HAIRY-NOSED WOMBAT AND ITS LESS ILLUSTRIOUS COUSIN, THE COMMON WOMBAT. (BOTH ALSO HAVE EXCELLENT VISION.) SHOP OPS: LONDON

Savvy American ex-pats have long known Brown's as The Source for American designer clothing in London -- as well as for the best of the latest from the Italians, French and British. Two years ago, the store opened Labels for Less, selling overstock from a tiny second-floor room. Now it's come out of the closet, joining the other boutiques at Brown's side by side. For up to 70 percent less than retail, styles from familiar American names like Donna Karan and Europeans like Gigli, Byblos, Moschino, Mugler and Gaultier can be had. Another move is planned for the fall, so call before you go. Brown's Labels for Less, 18 S. Molton St., London W1, phone 491-7833.

FAIR WARNINGS

13th World Orchid Conference, Sept. 5-18, Auckland, New Zealand.

International Camel Races, Sept. 7-9, Virginia City, Nev.

425th Founding of St. Augustine (Fla.), anniversary celebration, Sept. 8.

Northern Appalachian Storytelling Festival, Sept. 14-15, Mansfield University, Mansfield, Pa.

Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Fall Arts Festival, Sept. 14-Oct. 8.

Oktoberfest, Sept. 22-Oct. 7, Munich.