Eight things to look forward to this fall

| Managing Editor

After spending the summer in cities like New York, London, Paris or LA, the flight back to St. Louis can feel like a one-way ticket to the boonies. But the truth is, fall is an incredible time to be in our fair city. The humidity begins to fade, and suddenly there are tons of reasons to get out of your dorm room and explore before winter attacks. And best of all, most of it is free.

St. Louis Bluesweek Festival

What: Two full days of live music performances by some of the best and most influential jazz and blues musicians from the city. Related Bluesweek events continue until Sept. 5, so check out the website for information on workshops, panel discussions, brunch, and a blues cruise!
Where: Peabody Opera House Steps, 14th St. and Market St.
When: Aug. 27-28
How much: Free (but suggested $5 donation to the St. Louis Blues Society)

For more information, visit: http://www.stlbluesweek.com/Bluesweek.html

Twilight Tuesdays in Forest Park

What: A series of concerts under the stars in Forest Park. Look forward to some kickin’ throwbacks, like a tribute to Earth, Wind, & Fire and The Fabulous Motown Revue.
Where: Missouri History Museum Front Lawn, Lindell Blvd. and DeBaliviere Ave.
When: Tuesday evenings, Aug. 31-Oct 19
How much: Free, so spring for a nice bottle of wine and a picnic dinner.

For more information, visit: http://www.mohistory.org/education-and-events/series-list/twilight-tuesdays

The Great Forest Park Balloon Race

What: It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like—a hot air balloon race. Be sure to go by the field Friday night to see the massive balloons lit up for the Balloon Glow, followed by fireworks. The race on Saturday is accompanied by live music, food, a photo contest, and pony rides for those who can pass for 10 years old.
Where: Forest Park, near the Jewel Box
When: Sept. 17-18
How much: Free

For more information, visit: http://www.greatforestparkballoonrace.com/

Festival of Nations

What: A celebration of multicultural St. Louis, complete with ethnic music, dance, food, crafts and games. Be prepared to make some tough decisions; 4 stages simultaneously offer the likes of Afro-Mexican storytelling, Celtic song, Nordic dancing and Chinese martial arts, just to name a few.
Where: Tower Grove Park, near Grand Blvd.
When: Aug. 28-29
How much: Free, but bring cash for food and shopping.

For more information, visit: http://www.stlfestivalofnations.org/

St. Louis Art Fair

What: Hundreds of artists from across the country come out to showcase their wares. If you have no shame and don’t mind battling 6-year-olds for sequins and pipe cleaners, head over to the Creative Castle where you can make paper bag hats and suncatchers.
Where: Forsyth Blvd. in Downtown Clayton
When: Sept. 10-12
How much: Free, but bring cash for food. Some of St. Louis’ best restaurants set up stands with mini portions of delectable treats. Go for the “Kick Ass Fries” from Portobella and the seared ahi tuna from Ruth’s Chris.

For more information, visit: http://www.culturalfestivals.com/slaf_home.html

Japanese Festival

What: A celebration of Japanese culture with origami, bonsai, cooking, sumo and martial arts demonstrations. Some crafts and food are available for purchase, too. If you’ve never been to the MoBot, this is the perfect time to see the gardens with an added bonus!
Where: Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd.
When: Sept. 4-6
How much: $15 for an adult ticket (no student price available)

For more information, visit: http://www.mobot.org/events/japanesefestival/default.asp

Dancing in the Street

What: A kick-off to the Grand Center’s fall season featuring over 700 dancers performing a variety of dance genres on outdoor stages. Look for an instructional video to be posted on YouTube prior to the event—guests are invited to learn the choreography and perform in a community street dance during the festival.
Where: Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District, Grand between Lindell Blvd. and Delmar Blvd.
When: Sept. 25
How much: Free

For more information, visit: http://www.grandcenter.org/

Taste of St. Louis

What: Voted the second best food festival by AAA Traveler’s Best of the Midwest 2010, Taste STL features just about everything St. Louis culture has to offer. Expect celebrity chef competitions, various interactive tents, live music and art and wine pairings.
Where: Soldier’s Memorial, 12th St. and Market St.
When: Oct. 1-3
How much: Free, but bring cash for food.

For more information, visit: http://www.tastestl.com/

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