There’s a point, say about 10 years after you’ve resettled in the Midwest, when you suddenly realize you’ve missed out on some mighty fine amusements. This weekend is a great time to address that misguided past. (In other words: I’ve lived here 10 years and I haven’t yet been to Mascoutah’s Homecoming.)
It’s not just a homecoming, it’s Homecoming “Und” Augustfest.
“It’s just packed from Day One and stays packed the rest of the weekend,” says Harold Knoth Sr, president of the Mascoutah Improvement Association. The group puts on the festival as a fundraiser for the city’s parks department and grossed about $240,000 last year, Knoth said.
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“One person doesn’t do it all,” he said, which may go a long way to explain the varied entertainment lineup. Saturday morning starts off with beef, dairy, sheep and goat shows then progresses through carnival rides, live music and a parade with a plow and weight tractor pull, livestock auction and more live music finishing at 11:30 p.m.
Sunday starts with a bike ride and ends just as strong with a diesel smoker tractor pull and a drawing for $3,000. The car show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. has all antique cars, and Knoth thinks it’s the biggest in Southern Illinois.
With all that going on, there’s one more thing Knoth says is important. The Augustfest — German for “food and festival” he says — will also have plenty of places for the weary crowd to sit down.
Make ’em mush
“Sisterhood. Skates. Empowerment.” is the motto for the dozens of Confluence Crush Roller Derby skaters. See all that Crushie power in action when the whistle blows at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the flat-track roller derby action at the Belle-Clair Expo Center in Belleville. To find out more, including profiles of the 35-plus skaters, go to confluencecrush.com/. Tickets are $10 in advance; $12 at the door; $8 for military and first responders. Children 8 and under are free.
The annual Trash and Treasures sale in historic Maeystown is from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. A map of sale sites will be at the Maeystown General Store and Georgia Mae’s Antiques on the day of the sale. While you’re there, the Maeystown Mill & Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; and tours of the town are $7 and last a bit more than two hours.
Maize and more
Archaeology Day, where you can play the Native American game of chunkey or throw an atlatl, will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville. The event is free and includes demonstrations of crafts and making bows and arrows and arrowheads. Kettle maize and refreshments will also be available.
Monarchy in the garden
It’s called the “queen of the garden,” says iris aficionado Claire Martin of the Mid-Illinois Iris Society, and a couple hundred of the plants will be for sale to grace your garden from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Caseyville Township Senior Center Building, 1000 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights.
Plants come from two commercial growers as well as members’ own gardens. Martin herself is bringing 12 and says some of her fellow gardeners will bring more than that.
“The blooms are in every color except tomato red and, I would have to say, royal blue. The blue is a bluish purple, and the red are more wine-colored,” she said. Iris bloom in May, although some will bloom again in October.
Have a spot of sun that’s a bit on the dry side? Iris would be happy there; Martin says the plant needs full sun and doesn’t like too much rain because it can be susceptible to fungal infections.
“This is a good time to plant them because it gives the roots and the plant three to four months to get established before winter comes,” Martin said. “But it’s so hellaciously hot, it’s a terrible time to plant them.”
Planting ought to be easier than digging them up, though. Members dug up the plants with 12-inch plus roots, shook and washed off the dirt and trimmed the roots and leaves to present plants ready for sale.
“They start out trimmed up, so you don’t have to dig such a big hole to get the roots nicely in the ground,” Martin said.