Metro-East News

Five things: Church fests, PrideFest, Coal Fest, car fest, and fish

PrideFest is from noon to 10 p.m. this Saturday in Belleville.
PrideFest is from noon to 10 p.m. this Saturday in Belleville.

Got the kids this weekend? Good, because it’s an awesome weekend to hang out with the non-adult set. (Adults are welcome at all of these events. Some events will even have adult beverages.) It’s a game of duck-duck-goose in today’s column, just substitute “Fest, Fest, Fest, Fest, FISH!” for the options for your five things to do this weekend.


The president and founder of Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois calls this weekend’s event in Belleville a “stepping stone” to the bigger and more brash PrideFest in St. Louis in two weeks.

Sarah Sowell says PrideFest in Belleville gets people from all over, and all types of people as well. “It’s great for people just coming out, or newly experienced to Pride ... We have straight allies, family members – we are blessed to have a very well-rounded PrideFest.”

Music, vendors, social organizations and a drag show fill the day from noon until closing remarks at 10 p.m. Saturday. Highlights include a community service awards ceremony and the announcement of the first scholarship winner from Metro East Pride at 5:30 p.m. at the main stage, which will be at the corner of Second and West Main streets.

“You won’t see any craziness” or vulgarity, Sowell said.

PrideFest wraps up with a drag show at 6 p.m. and a concert by Neon Cadillac until closing. The drag show will be in front of the main stage because Sowell doesn’t want “the queens dancing on the stage in heels” and getting hurt.

“Last year it was so heartfelt to see these little toddlers dancing with the drag queens; they were just dancing with the pretty ladies,” Sowell said.

Coal Festival

“Kids” and “Coal Festival” go together like dirt on a toddler’s knees. On Saturday in Marissa, they’ll start with the Kiddy Pedal Tractor Pull at 9:30 a.m. (registration is at 9 a.m.); and move on to a free kids art project at 11 a.m. It’s put on by Lydia Latham and high school art students. The Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and coronation of the queen, prince and princess at 9 p.m.

Ride armbands are $15 for the carnival rides by J&J Magic Midway; and music starts Saturday with the Air Force Band Roots in Blue from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Avery Hill performing from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Fish for a day

The folks at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton are out to change those of us who don’t fish. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, they’ll provide a one-cast station, a bow-fishing station, a catch-and-release bluegill pond and more. You don’t have to know what any of that means to participate. The free event does not require fishing gear or a license.

Church festivals

▪  We notice that most church-associated food frenzies around here feature fish and barbeque. Not the folks at Holy Rosary at 2716 N. 42nd Street in Fairmont City. They’ll have Mexican food and chorizo in addition to the hamburgers and hot dogs. They’ll have a half-grand raffle every hour, a children’s carnival, game booth, live music and a beer garden. The festival is from 5 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and there’s a Mass at 4 p.m. Saturday.

▪  St. Elizabeth Church, 2300 Pontoon Road in Granite City, has carnival rides, and bingo all weekend, as well as kids games, raffles and more. Live music, including The Well Hungarians, from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday. On Sunday they’ll also have first responders and their equipment, Clydesdales from Anheuser-Busch from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, and the Serengeti Steve Reptile show on Sunday afternoon. Saturday food will be pigs ‘n’ blanket from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Sunday it’s all-you-can-eat-chicken dinner from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, call 618-877-3300.

▪  Sterling Baptist Church at 9204 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights, is hosting a Crossover event from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday with a soccer tournament associated from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’ll also have a zip line, live music, inflatables and more. It’s free; catering from Chick-fil-A is not. For more information, go to

Route 66 Festival

Entertainment, art vendors, craft beer, a children’s activity area — and of course a classic car show and cruise round out the Route 66 Festival at Edwardsville City Park. The festival opened Friday, and continues starting at 8 a.m. Saturday with the Metro Milers 10K Run; it closes at midnight. For more information, go to