The good old-fashioned county fair is alive and kicking in Jersey County. In addition to the carnival rides, heartland exhibits and animals vying for attention at happenings like the swine and goat shows (at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17, respectively), the 136th annual Jersey County Fair features events the founders never could have imagined. Perennial favorite "Kandu," the magician, returns, getting participants right into the action with his Wild & Wacky Game Show (twice daily). And at "Elephant Encounter," fairgoers have an opportunity to learn about everyone's favorite farm animals (also twice daily). Cora, the elephant, weighing in at 9,000 pounds, and pal Shannon, a slender 4,500 pounds, might be surprised to hear that the fair has a new spin this year -- one capable of budging even them, the most immovable of objects! Yep, sure to pull in attendees and kick up some mud, the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA) makes its Jersey County Fair debut on Friday, July 15. Established in 1969 to give structure to a previously unruly sport, the NTPA is bringing fairgoing fans no less than three Grand National classes for the competition (including different kinds of tractors and modified four-wheel-drive vehicles).
The Jersey County fairgrounds are located at the northern end of Jerseyville, Illinois, along Route 67. Main gate admission is $2 for adults; children younger than twelve get in free. For the NTPA tractor and truck pull, grandstand ticket-pricing ranges from $5 to $12. The NTPA event begins at 7 p.m., but diehard enthusiasts are advised to arrive an hour early for the Kid's Fun Pedal Tractor Pull. For more information about these or the fair's other events, or directions, visit www.jerseycountyfair.com or call 618-498-3422. -- Mark Fischer
It's time to party
Hello loyal Night & Day readers! My name is Jade (that's a picture of me at right), and I'm a nine-month-old Weimaraner. I'm borrowing Ms. Day's space to tell you all about Heartland Weimaraner Rescue's free "Dog Days of Summer" event going on from 1 to 5 p.m. at the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog (1721 South Mason Road, in Queeny Park, Ballwin; 314-821-3647). This is going to be a really fun party, and I'm excited about meeting all of your dogs (all breeds are welcome) and hanging out -- and maybe sneaking a bite of someone's hamburger, hot dog, pretzel or bratwurst (my favorite!). In addition to all the yummy food, you and your dog can get your photo taken, enjoy some live jazz music and watch dog dancing! Ruff! I mean, hooray! Plus, there are even special events just for the doggies, like the tail-wagging contest and the doggie water park to help us keep cool. These human organizers are so thoughtful (especially since they're giving out free goodie bags to the first 200 dogs)! For more information about the fun, visit www.heartlandweimrescue.org. -- Alison Sieloff
Attention all vege-detesters: Broccoli and its naughty cousin, cauliflower, are in season, and the Kirkwood Farmers' Market Web site (www.kirkwoodjunction.com) is bragging about it. And also about the fact that eggplants and tomatoes are being offered there -- who needs to know about those creepy characters from the nightshade family? But even though we have the eating desires and habits of a four-year-old doesn't mean that we don't enjoy the market -- it also offers honey, maple syrup, strawberries and cherries (all yummy) -- or that we don't eat the hell out of a bag of kettle corn (that's a vegetable, right?). We also love the flowers and plants there, and the ideaof organic produce. But what we really go to the Kirkwood Farmers' Market for is the many flavors of Tropical Moose Shaved Ice (that, and the fact that asparagus is no longer in season). To enjoy both the things we do and don't, you can stop by the market (150 East Argonne Drive, Kirkwood) Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call 314-822-0084 for more information. -- Alison Sieloff
The Mark Twain building on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road) hosts the Joe Torry (pictured) Celebrity Basketball Challenge at 5 p.m. Half the fun of attending celebrity-studded charity events is imagining the power plays going on behind the scenes -- previously, this event has featured both Shaq and Dean Cain (Kazaam and Superman!). The other half of the fun, of course, is watching professional athletes condescend to play with non-athlete celebrities who flail about comically and remind us that they're only human. If there's a third half to the fun, it's knowing that the price of your ticket ($10 to $30, available at 314-534-1111) goes toward helping some local underprivileged kids. For more information about the fundraiser, visit www.joetorryfoundation.com. -- Jedidiah Ayres
The roar of overachieving parents, the ting of the aluminum bat against the ball, the coolness of the very reasonably priced beer resting in your hand: Yes, these are the things that make going to your local municipality ballpark worthwhile. No matter if baseball or softball is your pleasure, often you can see them both in the same night -- and for free. It doesn't matter if you know anyone playing; just pick the team colors you like best or your favorite team name (if it's softball you're watching, there are some doozies out there) and cheer away. Observe athleticism often at its height, reminisce about your days at the park -- before you were of legal drinking age -- and take a long sip of that beer. This is the real thing you're watching, not some money-driven chump game, so enjoy it. The season will slip away soon enough, just like lazy summer nights. -- Alison Sieloff