It’s the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and it begins early. State and federal offices will observe the holiday on Friday, since the real holiday this year is Saturday. Most businesses will follow suit.
That means an extra day to do some fun things. Here are five suggestions:
Rockets red glare
Steelville, Granite City, Dupo, Columbia, Mascoutah and Albers are among those venues planning July Fourth celebrations that will include fireworks, but a couple others are going a little beyond the rockets’ red glare to remember your stomach.
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▪ Caseyville: First the firefighters and police departments go for a corn-on-the-cob eating contest at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Caseyville Park, then the contest opens to everyone else, including the kids.
▪ Highland: From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Highland’s Public Square is home to free popcorn and peanut butter and jam sandwiches, along with other foods and crafts for sale and entertainment by Scott AFB Roots in Blue. (Those Roots are busy this weekend; they’ll also be in Mascoutah from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday)
And don’t forget the Fair St. Louis celebration, which will be in Forest Park again this year. It begins at 5 p.m. Thursday and runs from noon to 10:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, capped off with a fireworks display each night at 10 p.m. The 133rd annual Veiled Prophet Parade begins at 9:45 a.m.
For a complete list of fireworks shows in the area, click here.
Ring the bells
The Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial is closed due to flooding, but a whole lot of water isn’t going to stop historic interpreters and speakers at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Fort Kaskaskia. There are two reasons for celebrations there: the country’s Independence Day and the day Kaskaskia was taken by the Virginia militia from the British.
Ring it up
Summer feels halfway over; have you made it to the local farmer’s markets yet?
▪ The Alton Farmer’s & Artisans’ Market is open 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at Landmarks Boulevard and Henry Street. In addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables and grass-fed beef for your grill, they expect to have flowers and artwork for sale.
▪ Old Town Market is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at North First and West Main streets in Belleville. More seasonal produce and flowers and crafts; and because this is the first weekend of the month, bring your bike. “Cycle of Giving” bicycle repair is there on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
For giant fireworks displays, think baseball. The Cardinals are home against the San Diego Padres this weekend, and there will be fireworks on Friday after the game. And the Gateway Grizzlies are home against the Frontier Greys, and promise fireworks after games Friday and Saturday.
Friday is also a hat giveaway at GCS Ballpark; Saturday is the “Super Show & Fireworks Frenzy.” (The extra-spiffy thing about keeping it local Saturday — it’ll likely take a little while to leave the parking lot, and it’s a great spot for viewing fireworks shows all up and down the river.)
For those seeking a quieter holiday weekend, it might just be time to experience the Mississippi again. The river is up and some areas are cut off from easy access, but scenic overlooks remain open. Go to experience
river-attractions/ for a list of places in our area to best see the area, including the locks and dams at East Alton and Granite City.
Albers: dusk at Jaycee Park Pavilion
Alton: 9 p.m., Riverfront Park
Caseyville: 9:30 p.m., Caseyville Park
Sauget: GCS Ballpark, after 6:35 p.m. game