Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I hope ta get the blues....

I am beside myself, and can't seem to get centered. Midterms are tomorrow, Hub still very not himself sick, and we have no groceries to speak of. But....FRIDAY'S COMIN....

Blues fest slated in St. Louis

Sun Staff Writer

Observing the Fourth of July is an annual tradition in St. Louis but for the second year in a row the event will have an added attraction.

The second St. Louis Blues Festival will take place in conjunction with the usual holiday celebration.

The first festival was so successful it has been expanded to two days this year, said Minard Shattuck, owner of the renovated Center Stage at Gem Theater downtown.

The 200 block of North Mill Street will be blocked off for the event, which will run from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and include a beer tent.

A $5 festival button is good for admission both days.

"The Fourth of July holiday has been celebrate in St. Louis as a special event with fireworks for many, many years," Downtown Development Director Phil Hansen said. "I've seen postcards of the holiday going back probably into the early 1900s.

"We think this year that more people will stay closer to home than usual, hopefully spending their money on the Blues Festival and on food and local shopping rather than on gas. Also the Blues Festival typically draws people from out of town too, especially with such an inexpensive ticket cost."

Although seating will be provided, Hansen encourages those who attend to bring their own lawn chairs.

"We should have quite a bit of seating but their own chair might be more comfortable to relax in," he explained.

Musicians scheduled to perform Friday are: The Ronnie Torres Band at 2 p.m., Emanuel Young at 3:15 p.m., 6 Hands Down at 4:30 p.m., Lemon James at 5:45 p.m., Howard Glazer & the EL34's at 7:15 p.m., The Old Town Blues Band at 8:45 p.m. and Joanna Conner at 10:30 p.m.

The slate for Saturday is: Love Child at 1:30 p.m., Marble Garden at 2:45 p.m., Blues Ambush at 4 p.m., Crossroads Blues Band at 5:30 p.m., Root Doctor at 7 p.m., Larry Garner at 8:45 p.m. and Laith Al-Saadi at 10:30 p.m.

Center Stage at the Gem, River Rock Bar & Grill and the city are the major sponsors of the event.

"People should attend to relax and enjoy what St. Louis has to offer," Hansen said. "The Blues Festival created a nice atmosphere last year downtown and was well received by the community.

"Several different classes of St. Louis High School alumni are planning reunions for this weekend so local folks might run into someone they haven't seen for awhile too."

The St. Louis/Alma Lions Club will have a food wagon set up from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.

There are also a number of other activities set for Saturday.

From 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. the First United Methodist Church will host a pancake breakfast. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

A 5K run will begin at 8 a.m. at the high school. It will also feature one-mile walk and kid's fun run. Registration, which costs $20 for the regular race and $10 for the fun run, takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Call Kevin Painter at 989-763-2328 for more details.

Local historian and author Dave McMacken will conduct a book signing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall. He recently released an updated version of his book, "The Saratoga of the West," the story of the St. Louis Mineral Springs.

The St. Louis Police Department and Mid-Michigan Community Fire Department will be hosting a child identification program from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Food Pride store. Each participate will receive a driver's license-style ID card. The cost is $7 for one card, $9 for two or $11 for three. The first 25 families taking part will get one card free.

The two-day celebration will conclude with a fireworks display over the Mill Pond at dusk.

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