Metro-East News

Things to do: Chili cookoff, NAACP awards

Mary Cooley
Mary Cooley

I bet the good-hearted readers of the Belleville News-Democrat sometimes see a problem and think, “Someone ought to do something...” This weekend, that someone could be those very readers. Washington Park is looking for volunteers for its Citywide Clean-Up Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Meet at the Trinity Outreach Center, 5110 Forest Blvd. in Washington Park.

Don’t you like how we just sneaked in a sixth thing to do this weekend, right under the boss’ nose? For five more things to do this weekend, read on.


If your own selfish hungry desires aren’t reason enough to visit the Chili Cookoff, consider this: You’re supporting the nonprofit organizations cooking that chili. According to the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, the event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for many of the booths.

There are 63 listed vendors for the weekend’s Chili Cookoff in Belleville, and most of them will have some form of chili. A sampling: Pork or vegan, beef or vegetarian, “Firemans’s Hot” and “Jet Fuel,” or mild. There is at least one booth promising milk shakes and others with beer for those who over-imbibe on the heat.

The 33rd Annual Belleville Chili Cook-Off started Friday and continues 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday along Main Street from First Street through Church Street.

Awards night

TheEast S. Louis Branch of the NAACP will honor those who are “doing some great things in the community” on Sunday night, says Stanley Franklin, branch president. The theme of the 62nd Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet is “Our Lives Matter ... Our Votes Count.”

Honorees include such “icons in the community” as retired educator Peggy Lewis-Lecopte and Dr. Herschel Garrett Jr. The NAACP is also recognizing two not-for-profit directors, Chet Cantrell, of the Christian Activity Center, and Wendell Covington Jr., of the Matthew Dickey Boys and Girls Club, among others including a high school senior for her work with the homeless.

Franklin says the event typically has a thousand guests; this year the program is at the Marriott St. Louis Hotel at 800 Washington Ave. in St. Louis. VIP tickets, which include the reception starting at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, are $150; general admission tickets for the banquet that starts at 5:30 p.m. are $75.

For more information, go to; for tickets, call 618-271-4698.

Art in the Park

Highland’s Lindendale Park hosts 65 artists this weekend, showcasing sculpture, mixed media, wood, watercolor, fabric & Fiber, painting, glass, clay, jewelry, photography, drawing and graphics. Whew.

Continuing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday; entertainment includes continuous projects for the kids, music and a culinary arts demonstration both days.

For more information, go to

See war...

The Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is usually home to re-enactments from hundreds, not dozens, of years ago. On Saturday, the site near Prairie du Rocher gets a little more modern with World War II event with re-enactors, displays and demonstrations. Sponsors are the Living History Association, who re-enacts as German soldiers from World War II, the U.S. 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion of St. Louis and Les Amis du Fort de Chartres. The World War II Day is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and is free; Fort de Chartres does accept donations.

... and peace

The Espenschied Chapel, at 317 N. County Road in Mascoutah, is playing host to World Peace Day celebrations on Saturday, with silent mediation starting at 7 a.m. and Mark Biehl’s Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation starting at 6 p.m. In the hours in between, enjoy four sessions of yoga, including one for kids, as well as an aromatherapy class and a peaceful sing-along. A potluck of vegan food will be from noon to 1:30 p.m.. The Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation is $25 at the door; all other events are free. For more information, call 618-972-6392.