So, I took a gander at Gander Mountain in O’Fallon this week. It’s a new sporting goods store with a strong emphasis on hunting equipment, from fish coolers to rifles. There’s a good-sized section for outdoor clothing, and not just camouflage. I saw Columbia, Under Armour, Asics and other brandnames in rain jackets, hoodies, T-shirts, shorts, shoes and more.
My favorite part of the visit made me wish I’d photographed these two items a bit differently. First, I encountered YETI Rambler Tumblers. The company is well known among hunters and fishermen for its line of tough coolers. YETI tumblers are touted as keeping drinks and ice cold twice as long as plastic tumblers, with no sweating — and they work just as well for hot beverages. Made of 18/8 stainless steel, the tumblers are vacuum-insulated and have a lid that is shatterproof and crystal clear, so you know exactly how much of your drink you still have to look enjoy. Could be just right for Dad. Not cheap, though. The 20-ounce tumbler is $29.99; the 30-ounce, $39.99. Still, I think it’s possible one could be used as a projectile to keep a bear away from your campsite.
Wandering a little farther into the store, I and a small child were both startled by the 6-foot-plus-tall mossy green man in the aisle. I yelped. The kid did not. It was a mannequin wearing a ghillie suit. I’d heard of them, but never seen one. Wearing one, you kind of look like a Wooki or a yeti dressed in shrubbery. Hunters like them because they’re cool camouflage and the lightweight stringy/leafy stuff moves in the breeze just like the real thing. (The better to fool you with, my deer.) This one was on sale for $69.99, regularly $99.99.
Wish I’d thought to tuck that YETI tumbler in the ghillie suit for a photo. ...
Hobby Lobby in Fairview Heights was stocking Father’s Day goods while I was there Tuesday. Whether Dad likes cars, sports, his garage, boating, Route 66, the Old West or superheroes, this store has the accessories to show them off. I liked the “Hey Batter Batter” wood sign for $24.99 and the baseball light-switch plate for $6.99. (They also had football plates.)
More stuff to brighten up your patio or deck, at a really good price: Five Below in Fairview Heights has cute little round painted plant stands or side tables. I’m not sure if they’re strong enough for sitting (maybe kids), but at $5 each in four colors, I think they’d be very handy.
If you’re the kind of gardener who wants something different, it’s worth taking a trip to Cottage Garden on Illinois 111 in Piasa. This small nursery is big on exotic tropical plants, which right now, along with annuals, are 40 percent off. Owners Chris and Bill Kelley have a good supply of unusual hummingbird plants, including mint, an amazing variety of coleus, plus elephant ears, caladiums, begonias and succulents. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Need more information? Call 618-729-4324 or find them on Facebook.
I often mention craft classes going on at big-box stores, but if you want a different experience meant for adults, check out the beautiful Brickstreet Arts Gallery & Studio in downtown Lebanon. Learn to paint a wine or beer glass during a Sip & Suds class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday for $30, which includes supplies, a drink and snacks. On June 19 at the same time and including supplies, stencil/paint a sign made of reclaimed wood slats for $35 during a Pinterest Night. The first glass of wine is on Brickstreet. Reservations are required to 618-537-4492 or go to brickstreetarts.com and see all the choices.
Cinnabon makes a return to St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights today. It’s been about two decades since it had a small space on the upper level. It will be located in the Food Court this time around.
Plus, Scooby Doo is back from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Center Court.