This is the last or next-to-last weekend of freedom for schoolchildren across the area, so be careful. They’ve got a lot of fun to cram in a few days, if they don’t get shipped off somewhere first ...
Rock the boat
The astonishing thing about the Pinta and the Nina, of Christopher Columbus fame, is their size. They’re ... cozy. (“Cozy” is the word used when you mean, “Too small to spend a week in with the extended family”, right?) The Nina is an exact replica of the original, and measures 65 feet long. The original was packed with provisions and live animals, leaving little room for the crew of 27 men. Today’s crew has it a bit easier, as there is no livestock smell nor is there the associated bilge-cleaning.
The Pinta is a roomier replica than the original, built larger to accommodate more tours and blissful air conditioning below deck.
Both are docked for your self-guided touring pleasure from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Aug. 16 at The Loading Dock Restaurant at 401 Front St. in Grafton. Admission is $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 students (5-16), children under 4 are free. No reservations necessary.
Six bands for 15 bucks ain’t a bad deal, especially when half of that is going straight to the Wounded Warriors Project and the other half to the American Legion. The concert lineup has something for any musical taste, starting with acoustic at 1 p.m. Saturday and ending with The Robert Perry Band with the Original Mojos from 7:45 to 10 p.m. In between is soft rock, country, big band and blue grass. The concert is at the Edwardsville American Legion Post 199, 58 S. Illinois 157 in Edwardsville, and they’re taking extra donations as well.
Enjoy the pit
Peach pits, of course. Pere Marquette Lodge at 13653 Lodge Blvd. in Grafton hosts a peachy-keen fest featuring all the fruit’s favors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Sample local peaches and peach wine, wander among craft vendors and enjoy some live music. Partake in a peach pit toss to possibly win a free night’s stay at the lodge. Call 618-786-2331 or go to pmlodge.net for more information.
Rock a new look
The Metro East Mothers of Multiples have lots of kids, and even more kids clothing. Racks upon racks of clothing – much of it paired up in cute little twin sets – is available from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Southwestern Illinois College Intramural Gym, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville. The moms also have boxes upon boxes of shoes, crib essentials and toys at the semiannual sale. Go to memom.org/ or email email@example.com for more information.
There is a dulcimer community in the metro-east, and they’re not going to be quiet about it this weekend. The Gateway Dulcimer Festival features classes and music vendors for the mountain and hammered dulcimer, the autoharp and more at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville through Sunday. They plan a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday and a hymn sing-along at 9 a.m. Sunday; go to gatewaydulcimer.org/ for a schedule; costs vary.