Need-to-Be Inspired Minds

Want to go (to Hannibal)

Thomas Edison once said that "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." (Or was it Willy Wonka who spoke those words of wisdom?) Regardless, in these end-of-May times, you're probably doing OK in the perspiration department; it's the inspiration you're lacking. Your good buddies at Night & Day Global, while inspiring in and of themselves, would like to recommend a little day-tripper up north to Hannibal, Missouri, to fulfill your needs. After all, this little town along the mighty Mississippi was inspiring for Mark Twain, so you should definitely feel something at the Hannibal Arts Council's annual River Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along historic North Main Street both days, you can fill your eyes and, in turn, your mind with the works of more than 90 artists and artisans as you chow down on fair food -- hey, corndogs can be inspiring, too! But in truth, there may not be any corndogs at the festival (all the food is homemade, which is better and more inspiring anyway). For more information about the free fest, visit www.hannibalarts.com or call 573-221-6545.

And while you're in Hannibal, you may want to make time to revisit your youth and visit the Mark Twain Cave (7032-7037 County Road 453, near Highway 79, Hannibal; 573-221-1656 or www.marktwaincave.com), which offers a variety of tours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the weekend. A caving tour can cost anywhere from $6 to $14, but the cool cave air is priceless! -- Alison Sieloff

The Nationals Pass Time
Here in St. Louis

The Memorial Day weekend is ripe for baseball. The weather is traditionally pretty acceptable (in St. Louis terms, at least), there are plenty of backyard parties, most people have Monday off -- a three-game home stand is the perfect accompaniment to all of the washers, lawn darts, pork steaks and barley pops. And for the first time in decades, a team from our nation's capital comes to town to take their lumps from So Taguchi and the Redbirds. The newly-minted Washington Nationals (né Montreal Expos) visit Busch Stadium for the first and last times at 7:10 p.m. Friday, 6:15 p.m. Saturday and 1:15 p.m. Sunday (May 27 through 29). Tickets are $12 to $65, and Busch Stadium is located at Broadway and Walnut Street (314-421-2400). -- Paul Friswold

Strawberry Fields Forever
This weekend in Belleville

Little-known Eckert's fact: The first Eckert's fruit trees took root in the 1860s. Well-known Eckert's homegrown strawberry fact: Yummy! Make this Memorial Day weekend a little sweeter by spending it at the Belleville Eckert's Strawberry Festival (951 South Green Mount Road in Belleville, Illinois) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday, May 28 through 30. Not only can you catch a free wagon ride out to the strawberry patch to pick your own berries, but you can also enjoy kettle corn, roasted sweet corn and a plethora of strawberry delicacies at the bakery, restaurant and custard stand. Wear the kids out at the petting farm and on the carnival and pony rides while you enjoy live country music from noon to 4 p.m. each day. Entry to the festival is free, but there is a charge for some of the kids' activities. For more information call 618-233-0513 or check www.eckerts.com. -- Amy Helms

Happiness Is a Memorial Day Run

MON 5/30

On your mark: It's time for the annual University City Memorial Day Run, which benefits various charities in U. City. Get set: Visit www.ucpl.lib.mo.us by Friday, May 27, to download an entry form; registration costs $8 to $16 in advance ($9 to $20 after Friday). Go: You better arrive in front of the University City Public Library (6701 Delmar Boulevard; 314-727-3150) at 7:30 a.m. for the 10 K run, at 9 a.m. for the 5 K run, and at 10 or 10:15 a.m. for the one-mile "fun runs." All participants in these last runs receive ribbons at the finish line -- happiness, indeed! -- Alison Sieloff

 
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