Metro-East News

Five Things To Do This Weekend: It’s not yet the holidays, but we act otherwise

Belleville School of Ballet members practicing for ‘The Nutcracker’
Belleville School of Ballet members practicing for ‘The Nutcracker’ BND file photo

Sigh. I tried.

Look folks, the official holiday season doesn’t really start until after Thanksgiving (or mid-December, if you grew up in my family) so I’m reluctant to trot out the holiday happenings just yet. But Clara and the toy soldiers wore me down.

Nutcracker Ballet

For more than three decades, the Belleville Philharmonic and the Belleville School of Ballet have packed performances for “The Nutcracker” at Scottish Rite Bodies Theater, 1549 Frank Scott Parkway West in Belleville. There’s no reason to expect this year to be different. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 at the door.

Find nature’s pace

Learn more about The Nature Institute’s history from historians portraying John M. Olin, Aune Nelson, James John Audubon and others, some dressed in full costume with period artifacts. Move along the eight historical stops at your own pace starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at 2213 S. Levis Lane in Godfrey.

The $10 admission goes to the preservation and restoration of the institute; you can also volunteer from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the institute that Nelson founded in 1982, because she wanted children to learn about nature so they would grow to protect it.

Ugandan choir

Ten children from the poorest parts of Uganda — tapped for the task for their enthusiasm, ability and dedication — will “bring a message of hope” with “high-energy performances and infectious joy” to two churches on Sunday. They’ll be at the 8 and 10:30 a.m. services at St. Paul United Methodist church in East Alton, and at the Friedens United Church of Christ, 207 E. Center in Troy at 6 p.m. Sunday. Go to for more information.

I like trains

With about 1,000 feet of railroad track on two levels, including an area that depicts Glen Carbon circa 1940, there’s plenty to see at the Metro East Model Railroad Club’s open house. Admission and snacks are free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Glen Carbon Firehouse/City Hall, 180 Summit St., Glen Carbon. For more information about the club, go to

And nearly everybody loves a parade

The rain or drizzly weather doesn’t keep the hearty soles from enjoying a good parade. This weekend, Granite City accommodates their needs at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Santa’s Holiday Avenue Parade.

The parade starts at 27th Street and Madison Avenue and ends in downtown Granite City where there’s a chili cookoff, balloon making, pony rides, vendors including food trucks and more. Santa’s cabin is inside the Granite City Cinema at 1243 Niedringhaus.