If you were asked to name the St. Louis public fair that packs the most punch, you might think of Fair St. Louis or the Soulard Mardi Gras, or possibly the Central West End Halloween party.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. No festival can compare in sheer variety of events to the Florissant Valley of Flowers spring festival -- this is a celebration with one of everything.
The festival includes a parade led by Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, a carnival, flea market, book fair, craft fair, flower and plant sale, police K-9 show, balloon launch, bingo contests, ice-cream social, historical-house tour, auto show, maypole dance and beauty contest. You can attend concerts by the Northwinds Concert Band, the Hawthorne Players and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians, along with German, bluegrass, folk and zydeco bands. Don't forget the Irish and Mexican dance troupes. Sports lovers can take in tennis and high-school-baseball tournaments or walk in the Volksmarch.
There's no festival without plenty of food, especially barbecue. In addition to a food court and a beer garden, look for barbecues sponsored by the Jaycees and the popular Elks/Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center tent at City Plaza Schnucks, 3431 Natural Bridge Rd.
A whole separate festival for kids, the Children's Celebration of Performing Arts, fetures shows by puppeteers including Paul Mesner and the Kincaid Karacter Puppets and theatrical shows by the St. Louis Black Repertory Company and the St. Louis Science Center. There's also a craft area, dog parade, tot-wheels parade, bicycle safety town, pretty-baby contest, petting zoo, pony rides and inflatable bounce playground.