Best Bets: Find something fun to do this weekend

July 3, 2013 

Old Fashioned 4th

Put on your best red, white and blue and head for Sheve Park in Mascoutah today for the Old Fashioned July 4th Celebration.

For the athletically inclined, the Meltdown 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m. (Registration, 6:45-7:45). A kickball tournament continues at 9 a.m. on the ballfields and the Scott AFB-Mascoutah Exhibition Softball game is at 4 p.m. on Ballfield 5.

Cub Scout Pack 43 will run kids games in the center of the park from 4 to 6 p.m. Small Town Famous will perform from 4 to 6 on the Depot Stage.

At 6 p.m., te Junior ROTC Honor Guard will present the colors and the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America Starlifter perform the national anthem.

Starlifter will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on the Depot Stage, followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

The vantage point

Your best bet for viewing Fair St. Louis fireworks and air shows might be from Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park on the East St. Louis riverfront, directly across from the Gateway Arch.

It will also be the site of a family friendly and patriotic event today through Saturday. It's sponsored by the Metro-East Park and Recreation District.

Each day, there will be face painting, caricature drawings, balloon art and magic shows. Circus Kaput will host interactive games for kids. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout.

Highlights include Gateway Geyser eruptions several times each day. The fireworks begin at 9:20 each night.

On Thursday, the Scott AFB Band will perform from 6 to 9 p.m.; a hot air balloon display is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; magic shows will be in the amphitheater at 7:30, 8 and 9 p.m.

On Friday, the hot air balloon display is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and a fire show is at 9 p.m. in the amphitheater.

On Saturday, carnival games and a circus workshop is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the fire show is at 9.

The park is at 185 W. Trendley.

Ring in independence

Kaskaskia, Illinois' original capital city, celebrates two important events today -- Independence Day and the day Kaskaskia was captured from British forces during the American Revolution.

The 44th annual Independence Day celebration takes place at 12:30 p.m. today at the Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial. The memorial houses the Liberty Bell of the West. On July 4, 1778, two years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the bell rang out to celebrate the capture of Kaskaskia by Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark.

The bell, made in 1741, is no longer rung, but nearby church bells will toll in celebration.

Glenn Poshard, president of Southern Illinois University, will be the speaker. The Chester Municipal Band will perform patriotic music and Chloe Wallace will sing. Brian Roth will play Taps in memory of patriots.

Area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as French Marines from nearby Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, will participate in the hour-long ceremony.

Visitors are asked to bring lawn chairs. Directions: Go to St. Mary, Mo., take Highway 61 to the Old Channel Bridge, turn right, then follow Kaskaskia Bell markers for 5 miles.

Patriots in the Park

Granite City's annual Patriots in the Park is in full swing today through Saturday at Wilson Park.

There are food vendors, games and carnival rides each day.

Today on the main stage, a contemporary Christian concert starts at 6 p.m.; American Originals, Chris Krause and Tess Hanna, will perform at 7. A parachute demonstration begins at 7:30 p.m. A 30-minute choreographed fireworks display begins at dusk at Coolidge Middle School.

There's a softball tournament Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, a car show and a 5K run/walk begin at 8 a.m.

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