Latest News

Something a little different: A magic carpet ride

Magic carpet ride

Put a little high-octane imagination in your blanket and let Southwestern Illinois College take you for a magic carpet ride through family activities, kids games, a Persian rug exhibit and an animated movie Friday on the Belleville campus.

And it's all free.

"We encourage you to bring your magic cartpets (blankets) and join us for a fun evening of family entertainment," said college activities director David Paeth. "We'll offer a host of activities leading up to an outdoor screening of 'Disney's Aladdin.'"

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the front lawn, families can participate in makign balloon sculptures, arts and crafts, animal displays, an inflatable bouncing tiger house and a rock-climbing wall.

At the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center, Roger and Karen Popwell, of Belleville, will exhibit Persian rugs and Oriental carpets they collected during their travels to Turkey. These wool, cotton and silk textiles with colors and patterns that reflect their tribal or geographic origins were hand-made on looms in Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Visitors can enjoy Turkish tea and can have thier fortunes told.

All these activities will wrap up just before the start of the movie at dusk under the stars.

The disney classic tells the story of Aladdin, a kid from the streets, who becomes a prince thanks to three wishes granted by a genie he releases from a magic lamp.

Horseback scavenger hunt

The 4-H Horsequarters Club wants you to get your giddyap on for a horseback scavenger hunt Sunday at Royal Ranch north of O'Fallon.

Whoa, Nelly! How does a scavenger hunt work on horseback?

"We'll put you on hoseback to ride trails through the woods to find milk jugs containing different color tokens," said Janet Corvallis, leader of the Horsequarters and mother of the 18-member club's president, Michelle Corvallis. "The riders will work in teams to find the tokens, which are hidden."

Whichever team gets the most tokens in the fastest time is the winner. You can bring your own horse or rent one at the ranch.

"They're all real gentle," Corvallis said. "And 4-Hers will go with each team."

The cost for the scavenger hunt is $25 per person. Show up at 9 a.m.; the first group leaves at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there will be a silent auction, face painting, attendance prizes, a raffle and a concession stand. Pony rides ($5 each) are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Proceeds will go toward 4-H Horsequarters activities.

Live on the Levee

You don't have to be a redneck to listen to Pocahontas' own Gretchen Wilson country up Saturday during a Live on the Levee concert Saturday on the St. Louis riverfront.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is the headliner for this weekend's concerts beneath the Gateway Arch on Saturday, while Angie Stone will bring a lot of sould to the microphone on Friday.

Live on the Levee free concerts take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 1. Each night includes free family entertainment in the AmerenUE/Schnucks K-Town Kids Zone from 6 to 8 p.m. Opening acts appear on the Budweiser Main Stage starting at 6, followed by headliners at 8. Fireworks start at 9:15 both nights.

On Saturday, the Sauce Cafe offers a three-course meal from Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood. Reservations can be made at

Next week's headliners are Guster on July 31 and Lupe Fiasco on Aug. 1.