Metro-East News

Five Things to Do: We’re not done with chili and pumpkins just yet

There are so many things going on this weekend, I can’t get them down to five.

We here at the News-Democrat tend to be folks who like to read, and we find libraries fine places to be. So it’s with a heavy heart that I cannot include a costumes-encouraged Star Wars Reads Day at the Collinsville Library at 2 p.m. Saturday in this week’s column. There simply isn’t room. Nor can I mention their Lego Club at 10 a.m., also with a Star Wars theme. PProbably can’t talk about their Cubs trophy case either. Oh, well, just did. So there you go.

Walk away Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association set a goal of raising $15,000 at this weekend’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Southwest Illinois College in Belleville. Pfft. Too low, supporters said.

More than $60,000 has already been raised by the 500-plus already signed up; the money will go to increase awareness of the disease and funds for care, support and research.

Join the walk by registering at 8 a.m. Saturday. Open ceremony starts at 9 a.m., with the walk at 9:30 a.m. For more information or to make your own donation, go to

It’s still chili

▪ Sample your way through the Breese Optimist Fall Festival on Saturday at the Breese North Side Park, where for $10 you get a wristband that allows you to sample chili and beer all day. The day starts with 1K and 5K fun runs at 9 a.m.; and a vendor fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with bounce houses, face painting, games and live music. Concessions and beer also available. Go to .

▪ The Freeburg Chili Cookoff is from 11 a.m. to 7 pm. Saturday at Freeburg Village Park. Includes music, a washers tournament, jam and jelly contest, and a kids corner with face painting and pumpkin decorating.

▪ Over in Trenton, the planned chili cookoff has yielded instead to the Chili Bowl, a 5-on-5 flag football tournament sponsored by the Special Olympics of Illinois. It’s free to watch the 12 teams, who start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, and the last game starts at 3:30 says Justin Dunning of the Special Olympics. Trenton donated the use of the City Park, and park boosters are selling concessions. The Special Olympics raised about $4,000 from sponsorships, Dunning said.

Trucks and sirens

▪ Climb on in and make all the “vroom” noises you want at the Touch-A-Truck event in Edwardsville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Robert C. Stille Edwardsville Township Community Park, 6368 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville. In addition to the trucks, including the pink plumbing truck from Tiger Services, expect a children’s zone with balloon artists, face painters and more.

▪ Be prepared to clap your hands over your ears at the Sirens at the Shrine from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. It’s an appreciation day for first responders, and will feature a 1 p.m. helicopter landing, a 2 p.m. police K-9 demonstration and a 5 p.m. Blessing of First Responders. The SWAT team and muster demonstrations will also be there, as will bouncy houses and more.

Silents are golden

Silent movies don’t mean the theater was quiet. Get a taste of the 1920s movie-going experience with Buster Keaton’s “The Haunted House” and “One Week” and “Barney Oldfield’s Race for Life” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Alfresco Art Center, 2041 Delmar Ave., Granite City. SIUE faculty, students and alumni will perform the musical scores and lead a sing-along; they’ll also act as uniformed ushers. Jack Jenkins, of Lincoln Theater in Belleville fame will also use the 1921 pipe organ to full acoustic effect. Concessions are available. Tickets are $15 per person and proceeds benefit the Friends of Music Scholarship Fund for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Hug a pumpkin

▪ Down in Waterloo, they’re welcoming the Waterloo Pumpkin Fest with live music, crafts, pumpkin-themed contests, pumpkin painting, a juggler and magic shows, food and a mirco-brewery tasting. There will also be pumpkin train rides and a hayride, as well as a 5K walk/run. For a full schedule, go to, and watch out for the seed-spitting contest. It’s free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Waterloo.

▪ Up in Greenville, the Marcoot Jersey Creamery is hosting it’s own free family-friendly event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, including a hay maze, pumpkin picking, face painting and games for the kids. There will be artisan cheese to sample, and a cheese-making demonstration at 11 a.m.. Try your hand at milking a simulated cow (or petting a real baby calf). The patch is open for pumpkin and gourd picking. It’s four miles south of Greenville at 526 Dudleyville Road.