I want to do all of this stuff. Quick, Emmett Brown and Marty McFly, figure out how to stretch out the hours this weekend.
Five wheels (four tires, one steering wheel)
“It’s quite a thing to see what are essentially race cars driving on a freeway,” says Jeff Dahlin of Hot Rod Magazine, which is supporting this week’s five-day Hot Rod Drag Week that ends Saturday at Gateway Motorsports.
The cars that will speed down the quarter-mile track Saturday will have driven more than 1,000 street miles during the last five days; each trying not only to win at the tracks but also just to make it to every day of the race. While street-legal, many vehicles are modified to perform very fast at very short distances, Dahlin says, and racers are known to carry extra gasoline for the small tanks. Some even haul their race tires on small trailers. Vehicles absolutely must make it to each race under their own power.
You’ll see everything from unmodified cars to “Gosh, I really don’t see how that guy got the OK from the state for that,” vehicles powered by nitrous oxide, Dahlin said. The faster classes are required to have roll cages and harnesses for the drivers.
All ages are welcome, but Dahlin said kids “13 and up will have a great time.” Tickets are $10.
Racing begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts as little as 6.16 seconds. Racers come from 34 states, and 20 of the 350 who started are from outside the United States, including Australia and Great Britain — drivers who ship their vehicles over.
And who are the drivers? Anyone — professional mechanics to teenagers — willing to fork over a few hundred bucks and who were awfully quick with the online sign-up a few months ago. The 350 spots sold out in 10 minutes, Dahlin said.
There must be one heck of a grand prize for all that, right? Sure is: Bragging rights. No money, no trophy, just all the grandstanding one can spout until next year.
It’s Cowboy versus Bull at the Optimist Blue Army Bull Bash at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Waterloo. The bull riding is part of the Tuff Hedeman’s Championship Bull Riding Horizon Series Tour, which means if a man stays on a beast for eight seconds, the man and his fans are pleased.
Tickets are $20 at the gate, or $15 in advance. Go to www.waterlooILoptimist.org or call 618-477-7240 for more information. The Optimists promise food, drink, activities for the kids and music after the bull riding.
Three art activities
I was really, really excited about Highland’s Street Art Festival last week. So excited that I suggested it as a “Thing To Do” a week early. It’s this weekend, Nancie Zobrist of the Highland Chamber of Commerce confirms, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, on Highland streets. She says they’ll have more than 50 artists chalking up the sidewalks, as well as other entertainment, an artist expo and children’s crafting and food and “adult beverages.”
But in Belleville, the 2015 Plein Air Art Auction will be going on around Oktoberfest from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Artists will be painting at historic sites in Belleville, with an auction of their works at 1 p.m. at the historic Garfield Street Saloon, 633 E. Garfield St. Proceeds go to preservation efforts in Belleville. For more details, visit http://bellevillehistoricalsociety.org/events/plein-air-art-auction-2015.
One last thing for the art lovers, Art on the Bluffs in Columbia hosts metro St. Louis area artists for an art walk from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Some of the entertainment is roving, including clowns. There’s also a balloon artist and a magician, so it’s all child-friendly. Go to http://www.artonthebluffs.com/ for more information.
Two consumption fests
Wo sind die Bierzelte?* In downtown Belleville, of course.
Plan on Oktoberfest activities from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday around Public Square. Expect beer tents, German music, a Wiener Dog Derby and old favorites of continuous music on the Main Stage, a children’s area and food vendors.
Come il cacio sui maccheroni,** the other big food fest this weekend is Italian Fest in Collinsville. The theme is Italian Carnevale, so expect music and dance and this year even martial arts demonstrations. Oh, and food. Authentic Italian food will be prepared and sold by local civic groups and businesses. Did we mention a grape stomp? Go to www.italianfest.net or call 618-344-2884 for more information.
*Where is the beer tent?
** Like cheese on macaroni (meaning, icing on the cake).
One history lesson
With seven dead, three injured and one child kidnapped, the Fort Hill area was a dangerous time for the settlers between 1811 and 1814. Fort Hill was among three forts built in the Bond County area to protect settlers from the Native Americans who were encouraged and supported by the British, according to the Fort Hill Society.
The society is sponsoring a living history weekend through Sunday that will include traders and vendors and re-enactors of those days. Fort Hill itself is reconstructed to be as it stood in the early 1800s. The American Farm Heritage Museum, on Illinois 127 in Greenville, hosts. Go to http://www.fortsofillinois.org/index.html for more information. (Psst! The dead and wounded were on the settler’s side. No word on any other casualties.)
And one more thing... Henry Raab Elementary in Belleville is hosting a Cosmic Bingo at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Moose Lodge, 2425 N. Illinois St. in Swansea. Proceeds from the $25 at the door cost go to field trips, classroom gear and sports equipment. Contact Mary Cooley, who clearly needs to go back to school to learn to count, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.