I admit to being enamored with Art on the Square in downtown Belleville.
While I like some of the other festivals that take place around the fountain during the year, when May arrives, I look forward to strolling through the crowds and looking at the amazing artwork (and doing some people-watching). This year, the event is Friday through Sunday. And while I am proud that the juried show is the best small-town fine art fair in the nation, I am even prouder of the many, many volunteers that make it run smoothly.
While you’re downtown this weekend, make sure and shop the businesses along East and West Main streets. Peace By Piece in the first block of West Main Street is celebrating Art on the Square by featuring two local artists at its boutique: Sharon Aach will bring her De’Vine Lines Artistry, which are breathtaking reverse painting on glass panels ($75 and up). Heather Holland-Daly will show and sell her eclectic jewelry line, Fripptic. Both artists will be on hand all weekend. Extended hours at Peace By Piece are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Plus, on Saturday, the Evolution of pxp fashion truck will be parked at Peace by Piece until 6 p.m.
Fezziwig's Summer Open House is Thursday through Sunday at the divine O’Fallon store. The events kick off Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. with informal fashion modeling from Hollyhock House of O’Fallon. Plus, there will be sampling of new wines and sangrias until 7 p.m.
All weekend, sample amazing loose-leaf teas that are perfect for making iced tea, look for summer goods for the tabletop, plus pick up summer drink mixes, new rubs, sauces for grilling and much more.
Weather permitting, the Garden Courtyard will be open so you can relax with a glass of wine or a pot of tea for two.
Time for some outdoor fun: Five Below in Fairview Heights has Can Slam, which includes a Frisbee disk and a can slam collapsible mesh barrel for $5. For ages 6 and up, the goal is to get the disk in the can or knock it over. The store also has in stock Ladder Ball, bocce ball sets and more outdoor games, also priced at $5.
Here Today, in the same strip mall as Five Below, has attractive, high gloss-painted metal plant stands/side tables for $7.99. The round tops have a perforated daisy design and the legs are curved. Colors are turquoise, lime green and orange. (Five Below has a very similar table in flat white for $5.)
Neighboring Marshall’s has a nice selection of lightweight travel bowls for pets in several sizes. All are collapsible and many come with carabiners so you can attach one to your backpack. Prices range from $3.99 to $7.99.
World Market in Shiloh has a limited supply of the Belize outdoor occasional furniture set, for good reason: For $199.99, you get a coffee table, two chairs and a bench (more like a loveseat) — all crafted of acacia wood with gray oil finish. The set, which has a very Arts and Crafts look, also comes with antique-white cushions. Assembly is required and online reviews say the set works well for smaller spaces.