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Kirchenfest tents packed with fun

St. Paul's Catholic Church in Highland will roll out another weekend of "in-tents" fun during its Kirchenfest Saturday and Sunday on the church grounds.

Strassenlaufs, korbball and, of course, those hearty Bavarian breakfasts prepared in custom-made 500-pound skillets -- they're all part of this 39th annual German-flavored affair, along with two huge tents packed with nonstop entertainment.

On Saturday, you'll have your choice between Sh-Boom (3:30 p.m.) and the Double D's (8) or The Last Resort (4) and Effic (8). On Sunday, it's the Good Times polka band, The Company and Down the Road in the South Tent starting at 11 a.m. while The Jorells (1 p.m.) and Ralph Butler (6) entertain in the North.

Activities kick off bright and early each day with the 2K/5K strasssenlauf at 8 a.m. Saturday and your choice of a 20- or 40-mile bicycle ride at 8 on Sunday. Before it's over, you can enjoy a three-on-three korbball (basketball) tourney, flea market, bingo and the huge Kirchenfest auction from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Even worship will turn extra festive when the church offers an outdoor polka Mass at 10 a.m. Sunday with the Good Times Band. For complete details, go to www.kirchenfest.com.

Centralia

Balloon Fest is looking up

Centralia is more up in the air than usual over its annual Balloon Fest this weekend in Foundation Park.

This year marks the event's 20th anniversary, and they're celebrating with three days of activities ranging from balloon races above to loads of classic rock and doo-wop acts down below.

It all takes off at 6 p.m. Friday when more than 40 colorful balloons fill the sky over the city during the first race of the weekend. More races are set for 6:30 a.m. Saturday and 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday along with those crowd-pleasing balloon glows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. You can even get a taste of flight yourself by taking one of the tethered rides throughout the weekend, weather permitting.

On the ground, music lovers can get off on a host of tribute artists, including Lee Logan & The Legendary Drifters at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Cher-ish at 2 p.m. Saturday, the 4 & 20 Crosby, Still, Nash & Young group at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Elvis at 3 p.m. Sunday.

And, don't forget about the Friday night fireworks, car show, craft fair, children's activities and Sunday afternoon cardboard boat race. Admission is $2 for anyone over 6 or $5 for a three-day pass. Parking on the festival grounds is an additional $3. No alcohol or coolers are permitted. For complete details, go to www.balloon-fest.com.

Alton

Replica ships return to marina

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Next week, two replicas of his ships will float into Alton for a weeklong visit at the city's marina.

Sponsored by the Columbus Foundation, the Nina and Pinta are touring together as a new and enhanced sailing museum. The idea is to educate both youngsters and adults about the caravel, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and other early explorers.

The Nina was built completely by hand without power tools and was called by Archaeology magazine "the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built." If you think you've seen it before, you might be right: It was used in the movie "1492" starring Gerard Depardieu and directed by Ridley Scott.

The Pinta recently was built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on her travels. She is bigger than the usual caravel to offer a larger space for tours and a 900-square-foot main salon below deck to view slide shows of the ships' construction.

While in port, self-guided tours will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, Aug. 30. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children 5 and older. No reservations are necessary.

In addition, teachers and groups can schedule 30-minute guided tours with a crew member by calling (787) 672-2152. A minimum of 15 people is required at a cost of $4 per person.

For more information, go to www.thenina.com.

Illinois wines go well with music

Even Izzy the Grizzly may raise a glass to toast the Illinois Wine and Music Festival this weekend at the Hidden Lake Winery and Banquet Center.

After all, it will be easy to bear when Hidden Lake and a half dozen other wineries show off their best bubblies for sampling or purchase while you enjoy two days of food and music on the Aviston winery's grounds.

Taking the stage Saturday will be John Cornell from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Double Trouble from 7 to 11. Stephen Koritta then entertains during Sunday brunch before Bud Summers wraps up the weekend from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Izzy, the Gateway Grizzlies' mascot, will visit the festival from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is free. Ten dollars will get you an engraved wine glass and five tickets for food and drink; additional tickets will be two for a buck. For more information, go to www.hiddenlakewinery.com or call 228-9111.

Antique club hosts Olden Days fest

Enjoy a taste of the good old days when the Tri-County Antique Club hosts its 19th annual Olden Days Festival Saturday and Sunday near Dow.

See how Great-Grandpa and Grandma used to do it when the group shows off such old-fashioned skills as threshing saw-milling and other heritage demonstrations. As special treats, there will be an antique tractor pull on Saturday along with "cowboy church" and an antique car show on Sunday.

All that plus a craft show, children's activities, entertainment and tasty food from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the club grounds at 23946 Illinois 3, just northwest of Dow. Admission is $3 for anyone 12 and over; for information, call 639-4192.

Have a good laugh with 'Plan 9'

The arguably worst movie ever made gets skewered tonight when "RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 from Outer Space" invades movie theaters around the nation.

The event features Brian Nelson, the comic genius behind "Mystery Science Theatre 3000." For 11 seasons, Nelson and his robotic companions, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, subjected viewers to the cheesiest movies in history while "riffing" each film mercilessly.

Tonight, live from Nashville, they'll do their best to destroy "Plan 9 from Outer Space," Ed Wood Jr.'s hopelessly amateurish mishmash of laughable zombies, bad acting and even worse special effects.

It will be shown at 7 p.m. CDT on more than 425 screens around the country, including the Edwardsville ShowPlace 12 and, in St. Louis, the Esquire 7, Chesterfield 14 and the St. Louis Mills 18. Tickets are $12.50 each and can be reserved through www.fathomevents.com.

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