There will be a lot of parades this summer, but none can match the Maeystown Homecoming Parade.
The parade steps off at 6 p.m. Saturday through the scenic, historic town. It features floats, the Bud Light Brigade, Krazy Klowns, the Shriners Brass Band and the King and Queen of Kloepper. (Kloepper is a card game with a 24-card deck in which the black queens rule as permanent trumps.)
The fun starts at 5 p.m. Friday. Friday's highlight is a beer pong tournament at 8 p.m.; to register, call Amy Rohlfing at 618-458-6863.
Saturday events include a Creekside Kloepper Tournament, with the first hand dealt at 2 p.m. (to sign up, call Glen Voelker at 618-458-7775 or Chris Voelker at 458-7771).
Fried fish will be served Friday evening, with chicken dinners on Saturday evening. Also, burgers, fries and brats. Local band Sofa Kings will perform from 8 to midnight.
Food, drinks and games for children will be available both days.
Elvis in the park
Elvis tribute artist Steve Brandes will get you all shook up from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Fireman's Park, off Route 159 in Maryville.
Bring your lawn chairs and relax to some of The King's greatest hits. Best of all, it's free.
Additional parking is available at Mother of Perpetual Help Church, east of the park. Kettle corn will be available for purchase.
Benld is getting its Italian on with a four-day festival of food, rides, games and music Friday through Monday at Benld City Park.
Just follow the aroma of Italian specialties including torellini soup, homemade Italian salami, meatball sandwiches, bagna caulda and spumoni ice cream.
The park opens at 4 p.m. Friday. Carnival armbands are $20 from 6-10 p.m. Robert Perry Band with the Original Mojos will perform from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday events include a 1 mile/run registration at 7 a.m., run at 8 a.m. 5K/10K run at Benld City Ball field begins at 8:30 a.m.; registration fee $30. Rides are $1 4-10 p.m. Agent 99 delivers the music from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
On Sunday, one ton of spaghetti will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the park's lunch stand. Music is by Bagna Caulda Combo, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Avery Hill, 3-7 p.m.; Smash Band, 7:30-11:30 p.m. Carnival armbands are $20 from noon to 4 p.m. A bocce ball tournament stars at 1 p.m. (registration at noon in beer tent).
On Monday, the park is open from noon to 5 p.m. Ride armbands are $20 from 1 to 5 p.m. Bingo will be played at 7 p.m. each night, except Monday when it starts at 1 p.m. The fish stand opens at 4 p.m. the first three days.
Hike the Mounds
An archaeologist and a naturalist will lead a tour of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
The 3-mile hike goes through the fields, marshes and woods of Cahokia Mounds. The leaders will discuss what archaeology has revealed about the site and how the Indians used plants for food, medicine, dyes and construction materials.
Walk the dog
Dogs will have their day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Willoughby Farm in Collinsville.
Bring your dog to the farm, meet vendors who have goodies for you and your pooch, watch a presentation by the Collinsville Police Department K-9 Unit and take advantage of the free training session with John Dahman from Cindy's Critter Camp.
Pet photography, grooming, a doggie costume contest and pet adoptions are all part of the action. The event is free.
Fresh from the farm
Swansea Farmer's Market is all about "fresh and local" produce from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today on the Rural King parking lot, 2801 N. Illinois St., Swansea. You'll also find crafts and food products. Bel-Air Bowl will be serving chicken and dumplings. Information: Call Norm Geolat at 618-978-8753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then on Saturday, Old Town Market gets cranked up from 7:30 a.m. to noon at West Main and First streets in downtown Belleville. Sponsored by Belleville Main Street, it offers home-grown fruits, vegetables, bakery goods and craft items. Information, contact Laurie Bauer at 618-233-2015 or www.bellevillemainstreet.net.