It's all right to admit it: Late one night, after the significant other went to bed, you furtively watched the television in the other room. With the volume cranked down and the door closed, you bit a pillow to stifle the sounds of glee that emanated from deep in your throat as you watched a tape-delayed lumberjacking competition.
So come on, 'fess up -- you're a timber-sports junkie, and it's time you came out of the closet. She doesn't understand why you'd watch two men compete chainsaw-to-chainsaw to see who can make a cleaner cut, but we do. The combination of man's competitive nature, his love of loud power tools and the raw physicality of the timber sports makes them compelling television. Men run spitting chainsaws through massive timbers with lithe grace; burly dudes swing axes with such force that the whole tree shakes with every cut; two men hack away like something from a Jack London epic, and as one tree starts to fall, it's all you can do to keep yourself from screaming "Tiiimber!" as gravity pulls the mighty trunk to earth.
But this Friday and Saturday (September 23 and 24), you can watch real-life lumberjacks compete in person at the Family Arena (2002 Family Arena Parkway, St. Charles; 636-896-4200 or www.familyarena.com). From 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, highly skilled foresters compete in categories such as speed cuts, bore cuts, springpole and tree-felling in the 2005 National Game of Logging Finals, as part of the Midwest Forestry Industry Show. Tickets for the show are $8. -- Paul Friswold
Bleed Blue Again
In the NHL family, Mom and Dad play up their reunion to put the kids' minds at ease, and everything is all smiles and "welcome back" to the fans. After a season's hiatus that looms against the record books like the shadow of the strike-shortened 1994 season, only longer, the owners and players (not to mention the vendors, hotels and city revenue keepers) throw aside their differences and throw open the Savvis Center doors (South 14th Street and Clark Avenue) to you, the public, their lifeblood. That's right, preseason Blues hockey starts this week with a Wednesday, September 21, game against the Nashville Predators, and a Tuesday, September 27, match-up with the Dallas Stars. Both games start at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at Ticketmaster (314-241-1888 or www.ticketmaster.com) for $15 to $125. -- Jedidiah Ayres
These days, you hear an awful lot about recycling, but it's always just the same old, boring information. Recycling should be fun! As much fun, we suppose, as participating in the timed "Remix Recycled Art-O-Rama" competition. For this contest -- which happens on Saturday, September 24, during the Ferguson StreetFest (going on all weekend in downtown Ferguson) -- you get some random materials (like toothpicks, balloons, milk jugs, etc.) and four hours (from noon to 4 p.m.) to create an award-winning artwork. Can you do it? If not, or if you're too chicken to try, the StreetFest also offers up some doo-wop music, carnival rides and other amusements. To learn more about the StreetFest fun, call 314-524-3180 or visit www.fergusonstation.com, and for more about the art fun and to sign up for "Remix," visit www.northsidearts.com. -- Alison Sieloff
Your Big Fat Greek Fest
This weekend, loosen the belt another notch and make your way to the free St. Louis County Greek Fest organized by and held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (1755 Des Peres Road, Town & Country). A smorgasbord of Greek food and pastries are available, including oft-mispronounced delights like gyros, moussaka, baklava and galaktoboureko, as well as baked chicken and Greek salad. But eating isn't all the fest has to offer: There's also an outdoor taverna with live Greek music, traditional folk-dance performances, the agora (a marketplace), a kids' corner with carnival-style games and, for a small entry fee, a wine garden with Grecian wines! The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday (September 23 through 25); for additional information call 314-966-2255 or visit www.stlouisgreekfest.com. -- Mark Fischer