Wild in der Strasse

"Strassenfest" means "street party" -- and who doesn't like the sound of that?

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As rejuvenating as those precious few cool, breezy days at the end of July were, August is here to beat your little ass with a salt-cured riding crop. And where better to enjoy such diversions than Strassenfest? For centuries Germans have traditionally gathered in their town centers in late summer to celebrate...well, to celebrate. Strassenfest (roughly, "street party") is simply an excuse to get cozy with the people in the neighborhood, to eat and drink, to sing and dance, to get crazy from the heat one last time before Oktoberfest.

Saint Louis Strassenfest, the annual German-like block party, gets under way Friday, August 6, at noon in the town center (Memorial Park at the corner of Tucker and Market streets, across from City Hall; keep a monocled eye out for the crowd of thousands) and lasts until 5 p.m. Sunday, August 8. In addition to the throng of St. Louisans ripe with summer passion, Strassenfest promises carnival rides, game and craft booths, strolling entertainers, and the Pepsi Children's Village for the wee.

As for music, you have German brass and "oom-pah-pah" in addition to rock, swing and jazz on three stages. (Rumor has it that Dr. Zhivegas performs its disco rendition of Wagner's "Die Walküre" on Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Miller Main Stage.) But make sure you get a nice plate of something before you dance. You're looking so pale and thin, liebling.

Aside from the requisite beer and brats, you'll find some kind of gastric joy in all manner of starchy and meaty street treats. What Strassenfest party-pooper doesn't perk up at the sight of roasted corn?

"Ach! But, der parking!" you exclaim. Stop being such an Immanuel Can't. The Civic Center MetroLink Station is just a block south of the festival grounds, and our very efficient MetroLink will bring trainloads of folks to (and from) the Teutonic fun all weekend. In fact, festival organizers strongly encourage it.

For verification of these claims and the full schedule of live entertainment, visit www.strassenfest.org.

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