Metro-East News

It’s going to the dogs and giraffes around here

It’s Art on the Square weekend, an event so big it would be wrong for it to mix with the other weekend offerings in this column. Organizers expect 20,000 to slowly wander about Belleville’s streets while pondering artists’ intentions. There are interactive areas for the kiddos, too, where it’s just fine to touch the art because they’re taking it home. And art, of course, in all its glorious forms.

“But Mary,” you say. “I’m not artsy.”

For you, there’s live beer and cold music. Yeah, you read that right.

It runs through 5 p.m. Sunday. (Hint: If you’re there with boys under the age of 5, prepare to stare at the works of Keith Grace and Geoffery Aaron Harris for a while. Mom doesn’t have a chance against toy soldiers and robots.)

Now, for five other things to do this weekend, most of which require one to move somewhat rapidly.

Walk and Run for Wishes

If there’s one thing you really need to know about the News-Democrat’s grizzled sports department, it’s that they love mascots. Fredbird and Izzy will be at the Make-A-Wish Foundation event 9 a.m. Saturday at SIUE’s Korte Stadium, along with any number of characters because costumes are encouraged at the fundraising run and walk. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and races at 9 a.m. for the timed 5K run and 1K walk. Registration is $30 for adult 5K runners; $25 adult 1K fun walkers; $15 for college students and $10 for children 18 and under. It’s free for Wish families.

Elsa at St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas Church in O’Fallon is throwing open its doors to all manner of characters from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, including Queen Elsa, Superman and Harry Potter. The crowd can dine on smoked pulled pork and chicken kebabs and enjoy music and dancers all day. There’s a 5K run/walk at 6 p.m., register online at; fee is $25. Admission is free at the first-ever event, and organizers expect 3,000-some people. For more information, go to stnicholas.

Ducks go to the dogs

Does your Spot retrieve with speed? Does Duke dig rubber ducks? Does Buster bounce?

Contests are going to the dogs in Swansea at Camp Bow-Wow, and all proceeds will go to the Belleville Area Humane Society. Events at 129 Corporate Drive in Swansea include retrieval and vertical contests, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free to spectators, and four-legged friends are welcome.

There’s a duck raffle as well that involves the Dock Dogs and a $1,000 prize, as well as other prizes for the $10 duck. Go to for more information.

Watch out for that atlatl

Make a pinch pot or throw an atlatl at Kids Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville. Face painters — specializing in native designs — a storyteller and the Kahok Dancers will all be part of the event as well. Suggested donations are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students and $15 for families. Go to for a detailed schedule and list of events. If bad weather hits, the fun moves inside.

Be strong, like a giraffe

Nonprofit group The Power of the Giraffe started after Carol Alcorn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. “Never give up. You have to keep going, just put one foot in front of the other,” says Alcorn. Her favorite animal, the giraffe, became the symbol of her recovery and now the mascot of the group that raises money for area cancer patients.

Power of the Giraffe holds a 5K run and 1K fun walk along the Alton riverfront at 9 a.m. Saturday to raise money for area cancer patients. Register online for $25 at

Reporter Mary Cooley loves talking about the weekend. Tell her what you did at or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.