Forest Park

Hozier Loufest 2015
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

According to festival organizers, LouFest this year brought a record number of music fans to the event in Forest Park. Promoters estimated attendance for the weekend at roughly 50,000 people. Last year attendance was roughly 36,000. Though attendance was high, people pointed out things they hope will change next year.

Sarah sleeps.
Mark Glenshaw

Updated 5:20 p.m., Sept. 7 with news about Sarah’s passing

Amateur naturalist Mark Glenshaw on Monday reported that Sarah, a beloved Great Horned Owl in Forest Park, has died.

Glenshaw had followed the pair of mated Great Horned Owls for nearly 10 years.

Rendering of a marker at the I-64, Skinker Boulevard and Wells Drive entrance to the park.
SWT Design | Provided by Forest Park Forever

In response to a story about the markers project published two weeks ago, we’ve had thoughtful responses to the entrances-to-the-park issue. Some harkened back to Lawrence Halprin’s proposal for elaborate gates that was hooted down and abandoned in 2001; others expressed ideas about the current plan, created by SWT Design, St. Louis.

World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Visitors will have a new reason to love Forest Park in the coming years: a new interactive digital map.  Forest Park Forever’s Director of Strategic Communications Stephen Schenkenberg, 41, assures people the new map will provide an array of useful services for first timers and for those who think they know every inch of the park.

Entrances to Forest Park will be clearly marked.
Provided by Forest Park Forever

Call them entry markers or portals or entrances or doorways — call them by any of those names, just don’t call these in-the-works architectural structures planned to start appearing around Forest Park in the spring “gates.”

Why?  Almost 14 years ago a grand plan for elaborately designed ceremonial gates fell into an unceremonious heap.

Sarah Kellogg

Despite construction around Forest Park, Fair St. Louis officials say they are ready for the large crowds expected to attend this week’s event.

This is the second year Forest Park is hosting the three-day event after construction on the Arch grounds forced it to change locations.

Host Don Marsh speaks with Lesley Hoffarth, president and executive director of Forest Park Forever.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Since opening in 1876, Forest Park has been one of St. Louis’ go-to spots for the city’s most notable events, including the 1904 World’s Fair. With landmarks such as the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo and The Muny, the 1300-acre park has earned its reputation as “one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world.”

Mathias Gasteiger, German, 1871-1934; Hercules and the Hydra, 1921-30; bronze; 95 ½ x 77 x 56 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given anonymously 1:1930
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The 15 year-long renovation of the St. Louis Art Museum has finally reached completion. Museum director Brent Benjamin said he hopes the completed sculpture garden will be as well received as the rest of the museum’s changes.

Leverage Dance Theater at Shakespeare Festival's House Stage
Nancy Fowler

Drama, passion and war are all part of this year’s Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park, as they have often been since 1997.

What’s new this summer is the addition of more local dancers, jazz artists, Latin musicians and a DJ (full list, below). You can see them on a new House Stage near the main stage, just prior to the production of the firey “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Before sunrise on Monday morning Dec. 1, Art Hill in Forest Park will glow with a special message for World AIDS Day.

A group called AIDS on Art Hill plans to work all night setting out and lighting 13,000 candles in bags to spell out the word “AIDS.” Aaron Laxton came up with the idea. He said the effort is designed to draw attention to a disease for which there is still no cure.

“It will be a huge spectacle,” Laxton said.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Roman leader Marcus Antonius of Rome and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt are perhaps history’s most famous lovers, a couple whose passion changed the course of history.

Pilot Roy Caton checks his balloon for security before taking off on a flight.
Shula Neuman/St. Louis Public Radio

On the third weekend of September, St. Louisans turn their gaze skyward in the hopes of glimpsing a charming sight: dozens of multi-colored hot air balloons floating across a clear blue sky. It’s the Great Forest Park Balloon Race, a 42-year-old tradition in St. Louis that has been kept alive thanks to the friendship and generosity of four men.

Justin Johnson and William Godfred of Pretty Little Empire perform Thursday at St. Louis Public Radio. The band will perform Sunday at LouFest.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest returns for its fifth year at Forest Park this weekend.

The festival features big-name headliners Outkast, Cake and Arctic Monkeys, as well as local groups, including Old Salt Union, Big Brother Thunder and The Master Blasters, and Pretty Little Empire.

On Friday, we talked to LouFest founder and organizer Brian Cohen and two members of Pretty Little Empire: Justin Johnson and William Godfred. 

President & Executive Director of Forest Park Forever Leslie Hoffarth and Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Gary Bess unveil the new signs.
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Forest Park will be getting a face lift over the next few months as the park adds new signs, improved water fountains and more bike racks. That’s according to an announcement made by Forest Park Forever on Tuesday.

The group also said the park will be heating three of its bathrooms to accommodate park goers year round. Paths and trails will be improved to make these bathrooms more accessible as well.

Lesley Hoffarth, president and executive director of Forest Park Forever, says the upgrades were prompted by complaints and recommendations made by visitors.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Final plans for Fair St. Louis are taking shape as the event moves to Forest Park this weekend for the first time in its 34-year history.

The park has been a busy scene this week as work crews prepare stages, concession stands, canopy tents, and generators for the event that organizers expect to draw 35,000 to 50,000 visitors each day. The weekend’s July Fourth celebrations will include a parade, 20 free concerts, nightly fireworks displays and other entertainment.

(via Flickr/Tyson Blanquart)

Fair St. Louis’s move to Forest Park this year is presenting the St. Louis Police Department with some unique challenges. That's according to police chief Sam Dotson, who expressed his concerns at a police board hearing Thursday. 

This is the first time the annual Fourth of July celebration will take place in the city's largest park. Dotson said the logistics of the fair have taken more time than he would like.  But he said it's important to make sure the plan to keep everyone safe is airtight, especially this first year.

St. Louis’ LouFest has unveiled its complete lineup for the Sept. 6-7 music weekend.  

Provided by Fair St. Louis

Fair St. Louis gave the area “something to talk about” today with an announcement that Bonnie Raitt is among the top acts for this year’s Fair St. Louis. The Fray and The Band Perry round out the list of headliners for this year’s annual Fourth of July festival.

The Band Perry will play Thursday, July 3 at event, which moves to Forest Park this summer because of construction at the Arch Grounds.

St. Louis Art Museum, looking to the west
Provided by the Art Museum

Visitors to the St. Louis Art Museum will see some changes in the museum's Panorama restaurant.

The museum is looking closely at the menu, service and kitchen operations after a six-month review observed a $260,000 loss. The red ink was noted in a Zoo-Museum District audit of the museum, released last week.

photo of frances levine
From video by Nancy Fowler

A solid round of applause welcomed Frances Levine as she entered the meeting that finalized her presidency of the Missouri History Museum on Tuesday. Shortly afterward, she also received kudos from her home in Santa Fe, where she’s been director of the New Mexico History Museum for more than 10 years.