Without the Mississippi River, there would be no St. Louis; St. Louis would be just another Effingham or Rolla, a mere place in the middle of noplace. No Arch, no Cardinals, no Tina Turner or even Nelly. But these days St. Louisans can go through life barely aware of the river that made us, except as one more obstacle to vault over on the highway. Doesn't the Muddy Old Man deserve better? Don't you? Every Tuesday night from May 4 through August 24, you and your bike can get to know the mighty Mississip' at close range with Trailnet's Tuesday Night Riverfront Trail Rides. The free rides start at 6 p.m. at Laclede's Landing and head north along courses of various lengths for riders of all skill and conditioning levels. The long 27-mile route crosses the Chain of Rocks ridge into Illinois. After the ride, merchants at the Landing offer food-and-drink specials to cyclists. For more info, including Trailnet's extensive summer calendar of group rides, see www.trailnet.org or call 314-416-9930. -- Jason Toon
The World's Fair in Forest Park
The International Folklore Federation invites you to attend the centennial celebration of the 1904 World's Fair and the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase at Forest Park from Friday, April 30, through Sunday, May 2.
A truly multicultural event, the celebration will include an American Indian powwow, Chinese acrobats, a children's playground with games and crafts from different countries, and lots of live period music and other performances.
The World Bird Sanctuary will have a live bald eagle on display and will release a flock of red, white and blue homing pigeons. Because predatory eagles attack other birds, things could get interesting. And speaking of eats, you'll be able to gorge yourself on anything from sushi to hamburgers.
The event is free and open to the public and runs from noon to 7 p.m. each day. For more info, check out www.worldsfairstlouis.org. -- Guy Gray
Frolic in the Fruehling
Although you've probably never heard of the place, Maeystown, Illinois, has nestled among the hills 35 miles south of St. Louis since Jacob Maeys settled there in 1852. This weekend Maeystown hosts its annual Fruehlingsfest, an antique and garden show for those who take their Americana with a side of Germanic oompah. But the most impressive work of art is the village itself, a warren of narrow lanes and nineteenth-century storefronts surrounded by green hills. Visitors approach the pocket-size town on an arched stone bridge so weathered you'll expect to find trolls living underneath it. Maeystown's natural and man-made vistas go beyond merely "quaint" or "picturesque" into the realm of the truly beautiful. (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free admission; see www.maeystown.com or call 800-458-6020.) -- Jason Toon