Metro-East News

Five Things To Do This Weekend: Beautiful weather expected, although somewhat chili

Lace up those adventure shoes for the weekend; once again I can’t properly count to five.

October means chili

It could be in the 90s this weekend, and Belleville folk would still call it chili. The annual Chili Cook-Off around the Public Square for more than 30 years features the red and white favorites you expect, as well as a new flavor combinations bound to knock your pants off. Admission is free and vendors set their own prices; beer tokens available for $3 a token. The People’s Choice Award will be determined by $1 donations, which go to the Community Interfaith Food Pantry. The beer tokens go toward the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce programs. Chili will be sold from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; a junior idol competition starts at 1 p.m.; the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America takes the stage at 3 p.m.

If the chili overwhelms you, consider smelling the roses at the Rose Society Show at 225 E. Main St., in Belleville.

‘They come from another world’

In 1977, the author of “A Song of Fire and Ice” was the guest of honor at the first Archon Convention. You might know that author better as the father of dragons and brother of the Knight’s Watch — Mr. George R.R. Martin. “A Song” was adapted into “Game of Thrones.”

Which is to say you just don’t know what you might find at the Archon 39 Convention which runs through Sunday at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville. Oh, we have an idea from the website at, which lists mundane-sounding things like “children’s activities” near things like “filking” for the self-described “Midwest’s Premier Science Fiction Fantasy Event.” There’s also gaming and a masquerade and writer’s critique workshop, and we’re not even halfway through the list. Guest of honor this year is writer Jacqueline Carey, and Harlan Ellison is the special guest.

Single day rates are free for children 5 and under; $8 for children ages 6 to 10, $20 for children 11 to 16 and $45 for adults on Saturday and $25 on Sunday. Full weekend adult price is $70. Costume/Cosplay friendly.

Walk with reason

▪  An African-American woman is more likely to get breast cancer at a younger age than a woman of another race. She is also the most likely to die of the cancer.

But the ladies (and gentleman) of Sista Strut are doing their darnedest to raise awareness and reduce incidence of the disease, and the walk Saturday is a step toward that goal. It’s the 6th Annual Sista Strut in St. Louis, and the rally starts at 8 a.m. and the 3K walk starts at 10 a.m. at Soldier’s Memorial. Go to for more information. Registration is $25.

▪  The Children’s Dyslexia Center of Southern Illinois is sponsoring its annual walk-a-thon at 10 a.m. Saturday, with registration starting at 9 a.m. at the Scottish Rite Building, 1549 Frank Scott Parkway West in Belleville. Proceeds from the $27 entry fee and $20 child fee go toward the center. For more information, go to

Bless a pet

In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or just because you love your four-legged family, there are several pet blessings on Saturday.

From 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, both the O’Fallon United Church of Christ at 207 W. Adams St. in O’Fallon and the St. Henry Catholic Church, 5315 W. Main in Belleville, are hosting animal blessings. O’Fallon has an “ask a vet” booth with Dr. Gary Gass, and representatives from Spencer Kennel and other pet-related businesses.

St. Teresa Catholic Church in Belleville is also hosting a pet blessing at 10 a.m. Saturday in the grassy area behind the bell tower at the church. All animals should be on a leash or in a closed carrier. The church will be accepting donations for the Belleville Humane Society. Suggested items to donate include Purina dog food, puppy food and cat food; clay cat litter; and dog and cat toys.

Mourn the dead

I wouldn’t typically think of the Benjamin Stephenson House as macabre, but that’s just what curators are promising this month. The Colonel died there on Oct. 10, 1822, and they’ve set the house to reflect the mourning customs of the time. Learn more about these at the house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays through October at 409 S. Buchanan St. in Edwardsville. Tours are $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 12. It’s “not for the faint of heart,” according to organizers.

Back in 1822, Lucy Stephenson had to auction off her belongings to keep the family going. On Sunday, the Stephenson House will benefit from an auction at 9 a.m. Go to for more information, including a partial list of items to be auctioned. It includes everything from knives and forks with bone handles to a canoe made of aluminum.