Plus, there are smaller municipality fairs — enjoy rides, crafts and games at Ballwin Days from Friday, June 25, through Sunday, June 27 (www.ballwin.mo.us) — and mondo events, such as the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia (www.mostatefair.com). This last one is the big dog of summer fairs, with livestock and human competitions, concerts, motocross events, comedy acts and so much more, all packed into eleven days in August (Thursday, August 12, through Sunday, August 22). General admission is $2 to $8; additional charges apply for certain happenings within the fair.

By Land, Air And River
Embrace the local waterways by hopping aboard an evening Blues Cruise ($18) under the Gateway Arch and floating on down the Mississippi River. The Soulard Blues Band kicks off the blues-cruising season at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17; call 877-982-1410 or visit www.gatewayarch.com to get the full six-concert schedule, which runs through October, and to make your reservations.

If you'd rather check out the metropolis' skyline from above, helicopter tours also depart from the riverfront by the Gateway Arch. Flying high costs $35 to $150, and you can lift off any day of the week from 11 a.m. to sunset. Check out www.gatewayhelicoptertours.com to see the various touring options.

Natalie Daradich and Vicki Noon in Wicked.
Joan Marcus
Natalie Daradich and Vicki Noon in Wicked.

Then, for the land lovers, Gateway International Raceway (700 Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois; 866-357-7333 or www.gatewayraceway.com) has a full summer schedule, with drag races throughout the season and a NASCAR double-header weekend happening Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17 (regular admission costs $20 to $65), featuring all manner of high-speed entertainment and roaring engines — BYO earplugs.

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