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Glen Carbon Homecoming this weekend

Main Street will turn into Party Avenue again this weekend when Glen Carbon hosts its annual homecoming.

Revived three years ago when civic leaders banded together to continue the tradition, the celebration will be another two-night soiree filled with music, rides and games -- not to mention a parade at 5 p.m. Saturday followed by fireworks at dusk.

You can start digging the good times at 5 p.m. Friday when the food stands open and the Well Hungarians take the stage at 8. Saturday's entertainment lineup features Exit 12 at 5:30 followed by the Topper Harley Band at 8. There will be karaoke each night as well as a chance to take out your frustrations at the smash-a-car concession.

Save yourself some bucks by purchasing advance ride tickets -- $18 for a sheet of 24 -- at the Village Hall and Sweetie's Confections until 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Cahokia firefighters are ready to party

The Cahokia Volunteer Fire Department will give spring an early boot when it hosts its annual Summerfest this weekend.

Summer doesn't start until 12:45 a.m. Sunday, but that won't stop the firefighters from getting a jump on the new season with two nights of five-alarm fun.

On Friday night, the ever-popular Smash Band will get things hopping before Missouri's Most Wanted Band brings the festivities to a close on Saturday night. Also on Saturday, revelers will be treated to a parade at 11 a.m. from the pool to the high school, a firefighters muster at 12:30 p.m. and more rides, games and food.

For complete information, go to or call 223-9654.

Comics illustrator coming to convention

In many ways, Tim Conrad's life has followed the dramatic twists and turns of the fantastic characters that populate the graphic novels he illustrated.

So, he should prove a most fascinating guest when he appears at the Metro East Comic Book Convention Sunday at the American Legion hall in Collinsville.

Conrad began illustrating for Marvel Comics in the early '70s, doing adaptations of Robert E. Howard's Almuric, Savage Sword of Conan and Worms of the Earth. Then, he began illustrating stories of his own in Epic Illustrated, including the graphic novel "Toadswart D'amplestone."

As Conrad's sons grew older, his artwork wasn't paying the family bills, so he worked his way up to the vice presidency of a chain of Illinois banks. But just as he thought his life had come together, he was struck by a car in 1995 and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Facing years of rehabilitation therapy, Conrad remained positive, adopting John Lennon's philosophy: Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans. Now, he says, he is happy to attend conventions to talk about his "glory days."

In addition to meeting Conrad, fans will find comics from the Golden Age to the present day along with related collectibles. Those who have comics collecting dust are welcome to bring them along to find the highest bidder.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. The legion hall is at 1022 Vandalia Street (Illinois 159).

Outdoor concert at Madison church

True Fellowship Church will be working to promote harmony in Madison with a free, all-day, outdoor concert Saturday at the church at Third and Ewing.

National gospel recording artist J.R. will headline a huge lineup of entertainers that includes Mitchell Ford & The Worship Experience, Jewel & Converted, J&J Power Tools and the Zion Travelers. Of course, Pastor CeCe McCall's Church will get into the act with its own Sound of the Ship choir, Wings of Worship Youth Dance Ministry and the Y-C.R.E.W. Youth Ministry.

The music starts at 10:30 a.m. and keeps on going until 6:30 p.m. Free refreshments will be available while supplies last, but those coming are encouraged to bring a picnic basket and seating. No alcoholic beverages will be permitted.

Picnics planned at area churches

St. Dominic's Church will let the good times roll in Breese Saturday night with its annual picnic on the church grounds.

Dig into a savory chicken dinner from 3:30 to 8 p.m., then settle in for a night of bingo, music, rides and drink. The church is at North Second and Clinton streets.

If you're looking for a more Old-World atmosphere, don't miss the St. Boniface Germanfest Saturday night in Evansville. Ledenhosen aren't required, but a love for bratwurst, beer and oom-pah is. All that plus an auction and a country store on the parish grounds at 1007 Olive St. Prost.

Movie scheduled at Troy park

Troy wants to add another dimension to your moviegoing fun when it takes you on a "Journey to the Center of the Earth" Friday night in Tri-Township Park.

The first 200 to arrive will be given 3-D glasses so they can better experience the dinosaurs and other special effects coming out of the screen.

"We have held the sing-along movies, but we wanted to do something a little different this year," said Dawn Mushill, executive director of the Troy/Maryville Area Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the movie along with Troy and the park. "We realize there is an entire generation who has never seen a movie through 3-D glasses.

It's free; just bring snacks and a seat. Or, for another free cinematic journey, you're invited to set off for "Madagascar" at dusk Friday night in Dupo Community Park.

Fish are biting in Maryville derby

Start digging out those fishing poles -- and some worms -- for the ninth annual Maryville Fishing Derby Saturday in Drost Park.

Sponsored by Maryville's Parks & Recreation, the free, just-for-fun competition is open to any youngster 14 and under. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with the derby beginning promptly at noon and ending at 1.

Numerous awards for fishing prowess will be presented in six age categories as well as attendance prizes. And, as the results are tallied, hungry anglers will be treated to hot dogs, chips and drinks.

In addition, Mark Yehling, a biologist from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will offer a talk on fishing and water safety at 11:30 a.m. along with a small gift bag filled with fishing information. All kids need are a pole, bait and supervising adult; for information, call Carol at 288-3142.

Fireworks to mark Alhambra homecoming

Organizers really have done a bang-up job putting together the Alhambra homecoming this year.

For the first time, the festival will come to an extra spectacular close when fireworks light up the sky at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

And, that's not the only new twist. As a preview to the two-day gala, an armband ride night will be held starting at 6 tonight. Games and concession stands will be open as well.

The homecoming proper fires up at 5 p.m. Friday with two more nights of rides, food and music. Highlights include a parades at 7 p.m. and music by the Mark Murphy Band on opening night followed by another parade at 6 p.m. and dance tunes by Buzz the Dawg on Saturday.

Wishing Dunham a happy 100th

St. Louis will celebrate Katherine Dunham's 100th birthday Saturday with an all-day block party at St. John's Methodist Church at 5000 Washington Place.

Born June 22, 1909, Dunham was heralded as dance's Katherine the Great for her storied career as an innovator of African-American modern dance.

But far more than just a dancer and choreographer, Dunham, who adopted East St. Louis as her hometown in 1964, was also hailed for her work as a songwriter, author, educator and activist. She died in 2006, just a little more than two years shy of the century mark.

"Celebrate Life is a block part that consists of individuals in the community that have worked in grassroots ways to promote Ms. Dunham's concept of socialization through the arts," said Albert Phillips, of Albert Phillips DesignScapes, who is co-hosting the event. "It's a concept she introduced to help people create growth in difficult times and circumstances."

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will offer dancers, drumming, hair and fashion shows, music and speakers along with educational games for children. Food also will be available. The church is at 5000 Washington Place at North Kingshighway Boulevard, a block south of Delmar.