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Waterloo Homecoming is 'tooning up

"Nyeh, what's up, Doc?"

The Waterloo Homecoming, that's what, and Elmer Fudd and his favorite wascally wabbit may be among those in the spotlight during the parade Saturday afternoon.

Yabba-dabba-doo, the theme for this year's march is cartoon characters. They will set off from the Waterloo VFW at 3 p.m., heading south on Moore Street before turning left on Fourth, left on Library, right on Mill and left on Main.

The procession will highlight a two-day festival that opens Friday night and continues all day Saturday with rides, food, a beer stand and music.

Replica ships will arrive Tuesday

He dared the dangers of the ocean blue in 1492, but some pesky river fish have delayed the trip of two Columbus ship replicas to the metro-east 500 years later.

Originally set to dock last Monday, the Pinta and the Nina now are expected to sail into the Alton Marina on Tuesday and be open to the public from Wednesday through Sept. 6.

The scheduling snag came when the upper Illinois River was closed to all traffic on Aug. 17. The closure was forced to service the electric fence that keeps invasive species, such as the Asian carp, out of the Great Lakes.

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." The Pinta recently was built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on her travels. It boasts 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. daily. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children 5 and older. No reservations are necessary. 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.

Carillon sounds final concerts

Centralia hopes you'll be there with bells on when the city's carillon closes its summer concert season with two special programs this weekend.

On Saturday, Doug Gefvert, the carillonist at Valley Forge, Pa., and Mr. Marcel Siebers, carillonist from The Netherlands will perform at 2 and 2:45 p.m. On Sunday, Julianne VandenVyngaard from Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Carol van Ulft, resident carillonist of the Centralia Carillon, will share the honors at the same times.

After the concerts, stick around for a free tour of the carillon. The tower is at 114 N. Elm in downtown Centralia. For more information, call 533-4381.

Book fair benefits East musicians

Members of the Belleville East High School music program will be hitting the books harder than usual this weekend.

Starting tonight, the Belleville East Band/Orchestra Parents (BEBOP) will host its first book fair at Mel Price Park in Swansea. The Thompson Civic Center will be filled with not only thousands of books, but also CDs, DVDs, records, computer games and audio books.

For $5, you can have first crack at the treasures during a sneak preview from 4 to 8 p.m. tonight. Admission will be free the remainder of the fair -- 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. In addition, the final day will feature a bag of books for $2 special from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Yvonne Wilson at ypwilson@charter.net.

Welcome back party at SIUE

For years the return to campus has been a reason to party in Edwardsville, and this summer is no different.

To celebrate the start of the fall term at Southern Illinois University, the city and school will throw their 10th annual Welcome Back Block Party Friday in the downtown area.

SIUE Athletics as well as Wang Gang Asian Eats and Beats are just two of the vendors that will provide food and drink during the gala, which starts at 6 p.m. A DJ will spin music from 6 to 8 p.m. followed by the main act, the rock group My Own Medicine Band.

The party, which boasted an attendance of about 2,500 last year, is open to the public and will include games and booths for the entire family.

St. Teresa to hold parish picnic

St. Teresa's Grade School in Belleville will be hopping with activity Saturday night when it hosts its annual parish picnic from 3 p.m. to midnight.

They'll have a polka Mass for worshipers at 4 p.m. and follow it up with more polka music from 6 to 8 p.m. Also on top: games, rides a chicken dinner, a beer garden and dancing from 9 p.m. until festivities close. To enter the second annual washers tournament, call Pat at 589-3457.

Rock around the block in Alton

Third Street in Alton will rock to the sounds of the Glendale Riders Saturday night as the city continues its series of summer block parties.

From your Lynyrd Skynyrd to ZZ top, the Riders will keep you moving to your favorite classic and new country and Southern rock sounds. In addition, the Budweiser Clydesdales will put in an appearance from 6-8 p.m.

As always, they'll kick off the festivities with family-friendly activities at 4 before getting down to the serious fun at 6:30 p.m. For information, call 465-6676.

Christian artist at Highland church

Accomplished Christian recording artist Byran Sirchio will be sharing his faith during a free concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at Evangelical United Church of Christ in Highland.

"I write and share song that somehow offer snapshots of thoughts or feelings or experiences I've had as a person who is trying to take the life and teachings of Jesus to heart," says the ordained minister on his Web site, www.sirchio.com.

"I've also done my best to take some of the biblical content that pasttors and parents often want children to memorize and to write some fun (i.e., silly/crazy) songs that make it easy to learn Bible stories and themes."

Through his career, he has released 10 CDs, three study guides and four songbooks. The church is at 2520 Poplar. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 654-7459.

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