Metro-East News

Here are five things you can do before your Thanksgiving dinner

Some of the decorated trees that went home with lucky winners last year during the annual Festival of Trees in New Baden.
Some of the decorated trees that went home with lucky winners last year during the annual Festival of Trees in New Baden.

There’s a little game we play in the newsroom called “One word, two words or hyphenated?”

Yes, we get a little nerdy. The Associated Press clarified some things by making “fundraiser” one word in all cases, but there’s also “all-time or alltime” and “box office or box-office” And so it goes throughout the letters of the AP Stylebook, until one gets to a word the good book does not have, like “pickup.”

Why is this important, Mary?

Because on Saturday, the Boy Scouts throughout the metro-east will collect bags filled with nonperishable food items. Some of those boys may ride in pickups during the pickup, in which they pick up your donations. (Now you understand the newsroom game.)

Leave the blue plastic bag on your porch Saturday morning for the local food pantries and wave to the nice Scouts before turning to these other five things you could do this weekend.


Not every weekend convention has seminars named “The Best Bloodborne Pathogen Seminar Available,” but you can bet the St. Louis Old School Tattoo Expo does.

The expo has more than 100 artists, including Integrity Tattoos’ Jason Wilson of Belleville and Angie Meuth of Evermore Gallery in Edwardsville. Each is ready with ink in hand to work on you this weekend; there are also contests, vendors and live music and a seminar with Lyle Tuttle, whose canvases include Cher and Greg Allman.

“If you can get a ride to the Holiday Inn and 20 bucks, you’re in,” said Micah Richter, a tattoo artist at Integrity. Richter will be running the shop this weekend, but says the convention is “a pretty big deal” and all are welcome.

Tickets are $20 for a day pass at the Holiday Inn St. Louis Downtown, 811 N. Ninth St., St. Louis. The expo continues from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Go to for more information.

(The website also issues the caveat of “if you are easily offended, please do not enter” and reminders that one must be 18 to get tattooed.)

Festival of Trees

It’s not just the trees, it’s the craft fair and the Santa visit that fill out the weekend-long fundraiser Known as Festival of Trees for the Zion United Church of Christ in New Baden, which has expanded its education wing. All the events are at the St. George Community Life Center at 317 E. Maple St. in New Baden.

There’s a $5 admission fee for the tree display, or for the craft fair (which also gets you into the display). Breakfast with Santa is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday for $8; the craft fair is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Festival of Trees, which has more than 30 trees decorated by both professionals and amateurs, continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Raffle tickets — just put a ticket next to one of the 20 or so decorated trees available for the prize — are $1 or six for $5. For more information, email or call 618-224-7825.


If you’ve lived in or around Belleville for any length of time, you’re familiar with “The Nutcracker.” Different this year is the man waving the baton at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Scottish Rite Bodies Cathedral, 1549 Frank Scott Parkway West in Belleville. Robert Hart Baker came on with the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra this summer.

Many of the dancers are from the Belleville School of Ballet although the Sugar Plum Fair is again returning from New York. Tickets for the ballet, are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Go to for more information.


Just before the kids really start asking for toys, take them to the Missouri History Museum for a peek at the toys some of us (or our parents, or grandparents) had as children. The museum is showing more than 250 toys from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and admission is free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.


Once fall hits, and right up through the end of December, it’s craft fair season in Southern Illinois. This weekend:

▪  Winter Wunderland Bazaar is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 7 East St., Smithton. It features Christmas decorations and gifts, homemade cookies, cakes, pies and candy. The cafe will have chicken and dumplings, roast pork, chicken salad, pies and desserts.

▪  The New Baden American Legion has an All You Can Eat Breakfast and Craft/Vendor Fair. Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday for $8 for adults; craft and vendor fair from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 105 E. Illinois St, New Baden. Breakfast features Behrmann’s sausage and homemade pancakes.