So you don't have tickets to the final two Cardinals games at Busch Stadium, but you still plan to head downtown to soak up the ambiance. Why not saunter a few blocks over to the Taste of St. Louis and soak up some gravy while you're at it? On Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2, at the Gateway Mall (along Market Street, between Ninth and Eleventh streets), 30 St. Louis restaurants provide samples of their fare as well as compete for the Taste of St. Louis Culinary Championship. (We fervently hope this involves chefs in toques and kitchen whites bashing one another over the head with folding chairs, but it almost certainly doesn't.) The Taste of St. Louis runs from 10 a.m. till 10 p.m. both days, which for even the most ardent gastronome leaves a lot of time to do something besides eat. Fortunately, there is live music from 1 p.m. until closing both days, with headline performances from the Neville Brothers and Ozomatli on Saturday, and from Live and the Roots on Sunday. Also, local artists will display their work for sale, or just as a visual digestif.
For more information on the free Taste of St. Louis, including a list of participating restaurants (which includes Momos, pictured), contact the Taste of St. Louis at 314-995-1202 or visit www.tastestl.com. -- Ian Froeb
Hay, Need a Ride?
Head to Forest Park
Think back to your first hayride: on your spinster aunt's farm, with all your second cousins piled in, jumping and diving in the hay as the adults screeched for you to sit down or they'd let the headless horsemen get you. Experience the nostalgia with Urban Hayrides in Forest Park, Friday and Saturday nights, September 30 through December 10 (except Thanksgiving weekend). Forty-five-minute-long rides on tractor-drawn wagons start at Faulkner Drive (at Clayton Drive near the Science Center) and end at a one-hour bonfire, where riders can toast BYO hotdogs and marshmallows. Ten wagons holding groups as large as twenty people depart each evening between 7 and 8:20 p.m. The cost is $100 per wagon, and reservations are required. Call 314-289-5330 to RSVP or for more information. -- Amy Helms
Shaw has both
This weekend, downtown will be amass with people, what with the bye-bye to Busch and the Taste of St. Louis and all. But another portion of the city proper will be rockin' as well: the Shaw Neighborhood. Drop by the historic district for two fulfilling fests, which are conveniently highlighted below.
First up, you've got your Historic Shaw Art Fair (www.shawartfair .com), held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (October 1 and 2) at Flora Place and Tower Grove Avenue. More than 130 artists showcase all kinds of works, from textiles to paintings and then some. Your two-day admission costs $5, and a portion of the proceeds help organizations and schools that serve this 'hood historic.
Then, after you've worked up an appetite visiting the fair of yummy art, head over to check out the edible treats and other goodies at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Best of Missouri Market (4344 Shaw Boulevard; psst, the garden's across the street from the art fair). There, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, you'll find Missourians' fruits, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, baked goods, soaps, cows to milk and more. Admission to this fest is $3 to $10; for more information call 314-577-9400 or visit www.mobot.org. -- Alison Sieloff
Hark, an Aardvark
Contrary to rumor, Arthur's Picnic in the Park does not involve Dudley Moore lookalikes or the music of Christopher Cross. This is a picnic for kids, sponsored by KETC (Channel 9; 314-512-9000 or www.ketc.org ) and featuring appearances by popular PBS characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Mr. McFeely and Arthur (the aardvark, not the dissolute millionaire). There are also live musical and stage performances, an inflatable playground, and a Happy Healthy Monster Market in which to buy a nutritious lunch. Admission is free and the picnic takes place in Forest Park (near Cricket Drive and Lindell Boulevard) from noon to 5 p.m. -- Paul Friswold