The Biggest Ball 

Clayton welcomes the St. Louis Art Fair

The planners of the St. Louis Art Fair are excited about being named the top art fair in the country by a critical body that judges such things.

We're just excited about the "Big Red Ball," a gigantic inflatable rubber ball that will be crammed under the Shaw Park Drive overpass at Central Avenue during the three-day festival. Artist Kurt Perschke's Oldenburgesque temporary sculpture is meant to look like a child's ball left in a corner. Just imagine a 40-foot tall 6-year-old, and you'll get the idea.

Of course, the classy fair also features the usual 165 booths of ceramics, fiber art, glass, jewelry, metal, paintings, photography, prints, sculpture, wood and mixed media.

The Creative Castle, sponsored by 11 area groups that offer services for children, allows young artists to decorate shirts and make masks, paper-bag hats, necklaces, books, hieroglyphics, pottery, weavings, clay sculpture and Lego castles. Lest creative adults be left out, the Art Studio encourages adults to throw pottery, draw still lifes and make wire figures, mobiles and prints.

Mainstage performers include the AfroRican Ensemble, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Lonesome Pines, Suzi Ragsdale, Tom Landa and the Paperboys, Pat Liston (formerly of Mama's Pride) and the Rich McDonough Blues Band. Jazz acts include the Modern Vintage Jazz Quartet and Pieces of a Dream.

Performing Arts Village entertainers include children's poets UpsideDownside InsideOut, illusionist Keith Jozsef, living statues Les Statues Vivantes, poetry readers sponsored by River Styx, ConcerTango, the St. Louis Chamber Winds, folk musician Lemuel Sheppard and Viva Flamenco!

Don't forget the two nights of Charlie Chaplin shorts, the art demos and the gourmet eats at 20 restaurant booths.

Just don't get too close to Big Red Ball -- if it bursts, we are all doomed.

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