You may not know much about the Grateful Dead, but that's OK you can still have fun and learn about the rarely clean-shaven lead guitarist of the legendary jam band during Jerry Garcia Week at the Grateful Inn (7336 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-647-3323). Here are some facts to get you started: Jerry began playing the guitar at age fifteen; he played the banjo pre-Dead; he and some bandmates visited the White House in 1993 (the Clinton years ruled); he met Strom Thurmond in 1994 (what a long, strange day that must've been); the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that same year; and on August 9, 1995, Jerry Garcia's heart gave out in his sleep. But he shines on through festivals like this one, which begins on Wednesday and continues through Saturday (August 9 through 12). Jake's Leg rocks the Dead on Wednesday from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and the Johnny Fox Band keeps the same hours on Thursday, as does City Park on Friday (all of these shows are free). Then, on Saturday, the outdoor stage jams from 3 to 11 p.m. and features all kinds of music (blues, roots rock, reggae and, of course, Dead) admission to Saturday's all-day concert is $10 to $12 (314-534-1111 or www.metrotix.com).
Oh, and here are a few things you might not know about the Grateful Inn: It's a vapor bar, meaning you can sniff euphoric herbs while in the smoke-free establishment; it serves yummy food (including veggie burritos!); and artists and vendors will be set up throughout the festival.