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Old Time music returns to Cahokia

The Cahokia Courthouse will be the center of the acoustic music universe Sunday when it hosts its Old Time Music Fete.

From noon to 5 p.m., the 18th annual affair will showcase a half-dozen traditional St. Louis area groups, including Country Folk and O'Fallon Folk along with the south porch debuts of Black Mountain Flower from Edwardsville and the Stephanie Brickey Band. Taum Sauk and Celtica round out the offerings.

Hosted by the Fete du Bon Vieux Temps Committee, the lively get-together is free and open to the public, and musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in the fun in the jam area. Just bring lawn chairs or blankets -- and a few extra bucks for the Knights of Columbus barbecue and the Fete committee's raffles, which will include an acoustic guitar.

Strassenfest is back

After a year in mothballs, the St. Louis Strassenfest is feeling its sauerkraut again as it prepares to bring a weekend of German merriment to a brand-new home: Chesterfield, Mo.

After spending 30-plus years in downtown St. Louis, organizers are promising a more Old World flavor of the kind festivalgoers once enjoyed when the gala started in 1962 in Columbia, Illinois.

Well, they certainly had their lederhosen on when they lined up the entertainment this year. Two stages will be filled with nearly exclusive oom-pah sounds, including the Waterloo German Band from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday along with the Wendl German Band and the Deutschmeister Brass Band. A third stage will offer more German color from glockenspiel players to dancers of all ages.

And, that's just the start of what could be the wurst of times for you this weekend. Food, rides, games, arts and crafts and a children's village will all be part of the gemutlichkeit Friday night through Sunday in Chesterfield's Central Park. From I-270, go west 5 miles on I-64/40 to Clarkson Road and follow the signs. For complete details, go to www.strassenfest.org.

Apple Festival

Prairie du Rocher has a most a-peel-ing time lined up again with its annual Apple Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Creole House.

The colorful little town will turn into the Big Apple for a day with apple butter making, an apple pie baking contest, craft show and Colonial crafts and demonstrations. There also will be a vintage photo stand to help you remember your good times as well as live music, games and carriage rides.

Don't worry about food -- in addition to the apple treats, the Prairie du Rocher Volunteer Fire Department will fill you to the core with its barbecue and car show from 11 to 5. And, historians will want to be there at 12:30 p.m. when a bronze plaque is unveiled to commemorate the Creole House's placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Armenian treats

Treat yourself to a taste of Armenia when the Holy Virgin Mary & Shoghagat Armenian Church throws its annual picnic from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in Swansea.

Enjoy a plateload of such delicacies as lamb and chicken shish kebabs, piaz, yalanchi and tabouli -- but be sure to leave room for paklava, boorma, penerlee and the other heavenly desserts. Then, sit back and enjoy the music and games.

It happens rain or shine at the church, 400 Huntwood Drive. For information, call 277-6400.

Fun in Okawville

You'll have no trouble separating the fun from the chaff in Okawville this weekend during the town's annual three-day Wheat Festival in its Community Club Park.

They'll start kicking up their heels at 5 p.m. Friday and won't stop until Hot Rod Johnny shuts down its musical engines at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Along the way, they'll offer a queen coronation at 7 p.m. Friday in the Leuchtefeld gym, an antique tractor pull at 2 p.m. Saturday and the big float parade at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Join in the old-fashioned fun of the watermelon- and pie-eating contests or sit back and enjoy the sounds of J. Christopher on Friday night and The Jorrells from 8 to midnight Saturday. You'll also want to take advantage of the armband ride specials each evening.

Go green in Alton

Revelers are being asked to paint the town green during the third annual Mississippi Earthtones Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Alton's Riverfront Amphitheater.

Part fun and part ecology lesson, the free family-friendly fest celebrates the nation's mightiest river through art, music and conservation.

On the environmental side, festivalgoers are asked to turn in old gardening pots and old cell phones and join in a two-hour river cleanup starting at 9 a.m. (462-6802). Organizers are even buying wind-power credits to offset what energy is expended at the affair.

But all recycling and no play would make Johnny a dull ecologist, so the gala also will feature a variety of food, nature crafters and artists, and a slew of entertainment, including a Grateful Dead jam band and the Alton River Ramblers. You can even give your car a rest and head out on organized bike rides at 9 and 11 a.m.

For complete details, go to www.RiverfrontAmphitheater.com/Earthtones.

Heritage buffet

Once called Hungary Hollow, the Lincoln Place neighborhood in Granite City will return to its roots during the seventh annual Lincoln Place Heritage Association Festival Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Lincoln Place Community Center will turn into a mini United Nations as it serves up an international buffet of food and entertainment, from Scottish pipes to mountain dulcimers. And, for the first time, the festival will offer folk dancing from Armenia -- and Hungary.

There'll be clowns, magicians and jugglers for the kids as well as a chance for you to see what the coffee grounds fortune tellers have brewing up for your life. The center is at 822 Niedringhaus Ave.; admission is free.

Parish picnic

St. Augustine of Canterbury will let the good times roll during its parish picnic from 4 to midnight Saturday.

Whether your happy feet enjoy a lively polka or the sounds of Freefall, you'll find it here along with rides, inflatables and games for everyone. And, you'll certainly want to load up on the all-you-can-eat chicken dinner starting at 2:30 p.m.

Magic of Oz

Go off to see the wizard as you've never seen him before when four area theaters present "The Wizard of Oz" in high definition Wednesday.

Warner Home Video and Turner Classic Movies are celebrating the film's 70th anniversary with a one-time showing of a re-mastered version of the beloved classic.

Not only that, but the special event also will include an exclusive cut of "To Oz! The Making of a Classic," which offers interviews with original Munchkins; an audio outtake of "If I Only Had a Brain" with Ray Bolger and Judy Garland, complete with stills and home movie footage; and a look at how MGM created the music, costumes and special effects for the movie.

It will all be introduced by film historian Robert Osborne, who will share his own stories about the cinematic treasure. So, follow the yellow brick road to the Edwardsville ShowPlace 12, the Esquire 7, the St. Louis Mills 18 or the Chesterfield 14 for the 7 p.m. presentation; tickets are $10 and available in advance through www.fathomevents.com.

On local stages

They think you're gonna like it there if you see the Alton Little Theatre production of "Annie," which opens a 10-performance run on Friday.

Sarah Hasse will play everyone's favorite orphan in this Tony-winning musical that has been packing theaters for more than 30 years. Based on the age-old comic strip (which cartoonist Harold Gray originally conceived as "Little Orphan Otto"), the show boasts such tuneful favorites as "Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" and "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here."

Nightly performances are set for Friday, Saturday and Tuesday through Sept. 26 along with 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday and Sept. 27. Just remember that the troupe has moved curtain times back to 7:30 p.m. this year or else the sun won't come out for you tomorrow. Tickets are $18, $8 for students; for reservations, call 465-6562 The theater is at 2450 N. Henry St.

It's also your last chance to see the Monroe Actors Stage Company's (MASC) production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Capitol Theatre, 202 S. Main St., Waterloo. Call 939-7469 for the $8-$10 tickets.

All that jazz

New Athens sousaphone king David "Red" Lehr will lead the St. Louis Rivermen ashore for an afternoon of Dixieland favorites Sunday at the Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville.

Join Lehr, trumpeter Bob Ceccarini, banjo wizard Bobby Grimm, et al., as they head up Bourbon Street from 2 to 5 p.m. in the banquet center. Admission is $15 -- free for students -- and refreshments will be available.

At the same time, the saints will go marching into Godfrey, where Cornet Chop Suey will kick off the 69th season of the Greater Alton Concert Association at 3 p.m. Sunday at Lewis and Clark Community College.

Led by horn masters Tom Tucker and Brian Casserly, this septet has brought its version of traditional jazz to festivals around the world. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door ($5-$6 for students) or buy a five-concert season ticket for $75. For reservations or group rates, call 468-4222.

Native music

Fall into a season of colorful music when Southwestern Illinois College presents the hauntingly soulful sounds of Autumn's Child at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Belleville campus theater.

"Autumn's Child combines Native American flutes, cello, guitar and world percussion into a unique musical experience," said SWIC music professor Gail Fleming of the group that features Mark Holland. "It will be an evening of music that truly speaks to your soul."

The free program will kick off a fall concert lineup that will include the annual cabaret at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at Fischer's Restaurant and a guitar ensemble concert on Dec. 3 as well as the annual pre-holiday series of SWIC performance groups in early December.

McKendree films

You're in for an out-of-this-world experience when McKendree University in Lebanon cranks up its next Film Art Series Monday in the Hettenhausen Center.

This year moviegoers will be given a double treat -- four dystopian films based on the works of science-fiction wizard Philip K. Dick and five more that Peter Palermo simply calls "Unseen Worlds."

"The purpose of the series is to expose students and the community to the world's canon of great films," said Palermo, director of the Hett. "Some are provocative, some are entertaining, but all have merit."

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back to open the Dystopia series Monday in "Total Recall" followed by "Blade Runner" Nov. 19, "A Scanner Darkly" Feb. 9 and "Minority Report" April 17.

The other series, a mix of fact and fiction, will offer "Murderball," an Oscar-winning documentary on wheelchair rugby, Oct. 7; "The Color of Paradise" Oct. 25; "Memento," Jan. 29; "Water," March 16; and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," a true story about a man left paralyzed except for his left eye, on April 26.

All films are free and open to the public and start at 7:30 p.m.

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