Metro-East News

5 Things to Do This Weekend: Hit the Mother Road, find a mother lode of fun

Mary Cooley

Five things to do

Gas is hovering around three bucks a gallon, which is good enough for the road trips we’re gonna want to take this weekend. Grab your cooler for the road, we aren’t stopping til we get there (wherever “there” may be). First up: The Mother Road.

Miners and mobsters on the road

Miners and mobsters were welcome on the Mother Road, and you are too this weekend for the Blue Carpet Corridor, a series of festivals from Chatham to Collinsville that celebrate historic Route 66. Metro-east communities throwing soirees are Hamel, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Litchfield, Mount Olive, Williamson, Livingston, Troy and Collinsville. Expect food, local musical talent, historical displays, art, bouncy houses and more for your road trip breaks. Find out more at

Miners and pirates and more

The annual Marissa Coal Festival features the merry kind of mayhem courtesy of pirates this year, kicking off at 4 p.m. Saturday in Marissa with a “Pirates in the Park” parade. Kids’ activities start off in the morning and include an art project led by Marissa High School art students at 11 a.m. Saturday; live music and a petting zoo start at 6 p.m., and the queen, prince and princess are crowned at 9 p.m. Carnival rides with $15 armbands available each night, and food and drink vendors will be on site.

▪ Carlyle Street Fair — 9:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday, Clinton County Courthouse Square, Carlyle. Rides, music, poker tournaments, washer tournaments and more, including a 10:30 a.m. pet parade and 1 p.m. Carlyle Fire Department Water Wars.

▪  Schweizerfest — Rides open noon Saturday and Sunday in the celebration of Swiss heritage at the downtown square in Highland. Parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Also have entertainment and food; go to for more information.

▪  Heritage Days in Okawville: Free admission to the fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Schlosser Museum grounds in Okawville. Learn to churn butter, knead bread and hand-crank some ice cream, sampling what you make. Also has a book fair, flea market and craft fair.

Martin mania

As you no doubt know, Purple Martins are the largest of the North American Swallows and weigh almost two ounces. But as coconuts are significantly heavier than birds, one must wonder if the Purple Martin can carry a coconut any better than its swallow counterparts in Europe or Africa.

But what Purple Martins can do, and do well, is gobble up flying insects. At 10 a.m. Saturday, local members of the St. Louis Audubon and Purple Martin Conservation Association will be at Cahokia Mounds State Park in Collinsville to demonstrate a nest check of baby birds and share – serious – information about how we can help increase the numbers of martins.

Raise it up

For 99 years, the United States has officially noted June 14 as Flag Day (thanks to President Woodrow Wilson) but the same day in 1777 is also a good day to commemorate. Whatever year you count as your official start to Flag Day, Greenville hosts its Flag Day celebration at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Bond County Courthouse in Greenville. The Sons of the American Revolution and local Boy Scouts will put up the 50 state flags and present 20 historic flags, many from Revolutionary War battles, at 2 p.m.

But ... in public?

Growing numbers are making a certain activity more commonplace and accepted in public – even with children around – although those clicking needles do look dangerous to the uninitiated. The Saint Louis Science Center opens its Makerspace Gallery with a World Wide Knit in Public Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Bring your own knitting, or come prepared to learn with Suzanne Hirth from Knitorious, the Maker-in-Residence, who will demonstrate crochet, needle felting and knitting.

Reporter Mary Cooley also needs to fit in a Monty Python viewing or two this crazy weekend with an uninitiated friend. Email her your favorite Monty moments at or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.