What's all this about St. Louis being such an unhealthy city? Last year, Men's Health magazine ranked us 99 out of 101 major U.S. cities on factors of fitness, quality of life and health. Then Organic Style basically told us to go suck an exhaust pipe, ranking us the absolute worst when it comes to pollution.
Hearing all that, even natives might start picturing fellow St. Louisans as sallow-skinned, front-butted heathens. For a little healthy inspiration, check out -- or, screw it, sign up for -- the third annual St. Peters Rec-Plex Triathlon.
At the fitness-friendly hour of 6:30 a.m., participants will grind through a 500-yard swim in the St. Peters Rec-Plex Natatorium (5200 Mexico Road), a 21-mile bicycle ride along flat farmlands and a 5-mile run on paved trails through the city's area parks. Oh, and then, if you enter as a "competitive" athlete, you have to do all that once more. But you're a fierce mamma-jamma, ain't 'cha?
Information on registration and fees, which vary from $40 to $85 (depending on whether you enter the competitive or non-competitive categories, and whether you enter as an individual or as part of a team), can be found by visiting www.fleetfeetsports.com or www.stpetersmo.net. The deadline for entries is Saturday, June 26. -- Rose Martelli
If you know any little girls, you've probably sat through a four-hour dance recital at least once ('tis the season). It's cute when the kid you know performs, and some of the teens have talent, but the rest is, let's just say, a bit much. Now is your chance to reclaim your interest in dance: ANNOYNArts (formerly Gash/Voigt Dance Theatre) performs at the free Art in the Park event in Faust Park (15185 Olive Boulevard; 636-519-1955), but if dance is still not for you, there'll be many more outdoor artsy activities (provided in part by the Joia percussion ensemble and Worldways Children's Museum) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And you won't have to sit quietly in the dark to enjoy them, either! -- Alison Sieloff
Tow the Line
The Towboat Festival returns
That river. That river that seems so far removed from us, that laps the feet of the gateway-to-somewhere-else: That river is the very reason our town is here. There are whole cultures and subcultures associated with it, whole ways of life that depend on it like blood flowing through the veins. Heraclitus was right about not being able to step into the same river twice, for the times are a-changin', but that river still plays a major, if somewhat unnoticed, role here.
The goal of "Lovers of the River," part of the Annual Great Rivers Towboat Festival in Grafton (Water and Market streets, Grafton, Illinois), is to spread awareness of that importance. Come down and tour a working towboat, enjoy New Orleans flavor with a crawfish-and-shrimp boil, and hear live Cajun music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 27. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, call 618-786-7000. -- Guy Gray
Kachunga the Alligator Wrestler must have one of the more interesting tax returns. He gets to list his profession as "Alligator Wrestler," which is cool in and of itself, but then he also just goes by the too-cool-for-a-surname "Kachunga." Think he's audited much? See him earn his keep at Six Flags (I-44 and Six Flags Road, Eureka, Missouri; 636-938-5300) daily until August 8. Admission to the park is $39, but Kachunga's show is free. -- Paul Friswold