Fall for St. Louis During an Autumn Getaway

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Along with crisp autumn air, dozens of festivals, special events and theatrical entertainment spectaculars blow into St. Louis during September, October and November. You’re sure to “fall” in love with STL during an autumn getaway.

Labor Day Weekend kicks off St. Louis’ Fall festival season. St. Louis offers so many great events over this long weekend that there’s no work involved to find the fun. From the soulful sounds of the Big Muddy Blues Festival to the colorful display of Asian culture at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival, you’re sure to find a fabulous way to close out the summer.

The Seventeenth Annual Big Muddy Blues Festival rocks the cobblestone streets of the historic Laclede’s Landing entertainment district Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2. One of the nation’s best blues music events, Big Muddy showcases more than 30 Blues and Blues-related bands on three outdoor stages from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. each day. Headliners at this year’s festival include the legendary Dr. John and Joe Louis Walker.

Two of St. Louis’ vibrant ethnic cultures will be on display during the Labor Day weekend. The 36th Annual Japanese Festival takes over the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden from Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3. Visitors can tour the nation’s largest traditional Japanese garden, browse an arts and crafts marketplace, sample exotic foods, see traditional performances and much more. Nearby, in the charming Central West End neighborhood, nothing says Labor Day in St. Louis like authentic Greek food and music at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. The festival opens on Friday evening, August 31 and shouts of “Opa!” ring out through Monday, September 3.

View the labors of talented artists and shop for unique treasures during the annual Art Fair at Queeny Park from Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2. The juried exhibit features fine works created by artists from across the nation. The following weekend, September 7 through 9, the elegant streets of Clayton come alive during the 19th Annual Saint Louis Art Fair. Considered among the top fine art festivals in the U.S., the event showcases original works of the highest quality, three stages of entertainment and culinary treats from St. Louis’ finest restaurants.

Things heat up in Forest Park’s Central Field on Friday, September 14 and Saturday, September 15 during the free, 40th Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Balloon Race. On Friday evening, get up close looks at the brilliantly colored, inflated balloons during the walk-around Balloon Glow. Starting at noon on Balloon Race Saturday, pre-lift off activities include sky diver shows, musical entertainment, a photo competition and kids’ play area. The race begins when the Energizer Bunny “hare” balloon lifts off and then is chased by more than 60 “hound” balloons launched in full pursuit.

Art lovers flock to the Shaw Neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, where you can bounce between two adjacent art-filled events. The 21st Annual Best of Missouri Market brings together more than 120 Missouri food producers and craftsmen offering everything from homegrown produce and flowers to handmade jewelry, baskets and woven goods. The popular event is held at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Simultaneously, just east of the Garden in the parkway along Flora Place, the 20th Annual Historic Shaw Art Fair unfolds multi-media works created by quality, national artists.

Movie buffs won’t want to miss the 21st Annual Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival. The annual event screens feature films, shorts, documentaries and independent movies from around the world. For a complete screening schedule for the November 8 – 18 festival, click on www.cinemastlouis.org.

The Fall theatre season is in full swing in St. Louis. The Fabulous Fox Theatre presents the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables from October 16-28. Next, Blue Man Group brings its wordless, techno visual extravaganza to The Fox from November 20 through December 2. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens on September 5 with Neil Simon’s sweet and funny Brighton Beach Memoirs. The semi-autobiographical play about growing up in 1930’s New York runs through September 30. The award-winning musical, Daddy Long Legs, dances across The Rep’s stage from October 10 through November 4.