We know it’s unofficially summer because the Five Things calendar is filled up for the month before we even hit hump day on the first week. This may just be one of those weeks in which “five” has a few “bonus items.”
▪ Belleville Main Street offers a family-friendly barbecue contest from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday on East Main between Jackson and Charles. Try samples from a dozen barbecue stands, including some local favorite restaurants and the Belleville and East Side firefighters, so you can vote for people’s choice as well as purchase a meal. Music starts at 1 p.m. with Old Salt Union and continues on until 9 p.m. with Rat Rod Kings and DJ Benny.
Darrell Coons of Belleville Main Street says there will be face-painting for the kids and a petting zoo by Rainbow Ranch, which does have chickens and pot-belly pigs. “We’ll keep them as far away from the barbeque as possible, poor little pigs,” Coons said.
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▪ There is exactly one time and place that you can get fresh horseradish, and this is it, according to the Horseradish Festival in Collinsville. There’s also contests: a recipe contest, a bag-stuffing contest, a root-throwing contest, and a Little Miss Horseradish Pageant (contestants wearing makeup or wigs are disqualified; contestants must instead present a fresh horseradish fact).
Plus, horseradish is necessary in making a Bloody Mary, so there’s a contest for that as well. The International Horseradish Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Woodland Park in Collinsville. Find out more at http://www.internationalhorseradishfestival.com/.
You can go home again
▪ The Fireman and Legion Park at 610 W. Main in Alhambra hosts homecoming with a parade at 6 p.m. Saturday and rides, games, food and music.
▪ Try the St. Jacob Homecoming Grounds, 108 N. Douglas, St. Jacob, for a barbecue competition starting at 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Buy the offerings, and enjoy some live entertainment and a wine and beer garden. Go to www.jakeyinjune.com for more information.
If the last time you went fishing involved a foot-long Elmo pole, magnets and a bathtub, then it’s time for an upgrade.
Fishing poles, bait and other supplies will be provided at Pere Marquette State Park for the Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 13653 Lodge Blvd., Grafton for you to try out your catch-and-release skills on some willing bluegill.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources promises a day of knot tying, fish identification, fish cleaning and casting. The 24th annual event is bringing back the 4,000-gallon mobile aquarium with native fish and the trout pond. Entertainment includes Camo the clown, Fredbird and live music. Call 618-786-3323 ext. 1 for more information.
Prairie du Rocher has more events than you can shake a fur-trapper’s walking stick at. The 45th annual event along the town’s Main Street will have a parade at 6 p.m. Saturday, turtle races, food and music throughout the day. Just four miles west at the Fort de Chartres Rendezvous, they’ll have a re-creation of that French fur trapper’s life in the 18th century that will include his friends the buckskinners, militiamen, artisans and entertainers. And cannons on the hour every hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Yes, cannons. Go to http://www.fortdechartres.us/ for more information and a complete schedule.
Nurture your nature
On Saturday morning, join an archaeologist and naturalist for a free guided three-mile hike around Cahokia Mounds, starting at 9:30 a.m. Cahokia Mounds is in Collinsville, off Interstates 55/70 and 255 — go to http://cahokiamounds.org/ for more information.
But if you really want to get up close and personal with some trees, head to the Meurer Family Compound at 2437 Park Road in Belleville to watch the JAMBO tree-climbing competition from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. All actual climbing spots are taken, but you can watch the pros and take part in an obstacle course, belayed open ascent, rope swings and more. It’s free.
The JAMBO competition is set to simulate real-life work scenarios on a series of four trees. Each tree has 10 to 20 bells attached, and climbers race to ring all of them. Here’s the neatest rule: “New and innovative climbing systems are allowed, and climbers are expected to follow common sense rules.”
Want to meet an 850-pound toddler? His new family is hosting an open house on Saturday. (You know I’m talking about the bear at McDonnell Polar Bear Point at the St. Louis Zoo, right?) Tell reporter Mary Cooley all about your weekend’s adventures at email@example.com or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.