Art, apples, flea markets -- it must be autumn
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 22, 2008 - Thanks to two of the area's most popular fall events -- ARTstravaganza and Kimmswick's Apple Butter Festival -- art and apples have become synonymous with fall in St. Louis.
Celebrate the final golden days of October with a trip to the seventh annual "ARTstravaganza! Fine, Folk and Fun Artwork" where some of the state's most exciting artists show and sell their works.
Juried artists from the Best of Missouri Hands, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and recognition of Missouri's artisans, take over Oak Knoll Park with their works in clay, jewelry, photography, wood, glass, metal, naturals and mixed media. An "Enchanted Bower" surrounded by mums and pumpkins on the path to the building will greet visitors.
At ARTstravaganza, "you can treat yourself to a bit a bit of artful extravagance without spending too much money," Best of Missouri Hands' Executive Director Michelle "Mike" Ochonicky said. These Missouri artists represent every level of expertise from emerging artists to the internationally acclaimed.
"ARTstravaganza gives St. Louisans the opportunity to see the diversity of art that is being created in Missouri," she said. "They will see artists from across the state that they may not see in other places."
Over in the tiny town of Kimmswick, about 20 miles south of St. Louis off Interstate 55, members of the Kimmswick Historical Society will be stirring a big copper kettle where they cook up dozens of bushels of Eckert's apples into tasty apple butter. Visitors can take a turn at stirring the pot.
So what goes into the kettle?
"Not very much," says Nadine Garland, dubbed the Apple Butter Queen by her fellow Historical Society members. "Lots of apples, sugar, a little bit of stick cinnamon and a small bit of star anise." Most people would not recognize it, she said. "When they see it in their apple butter, they wonder what kind of stick got left in there but it's not. It's a piece of star anise."
The Historical Society's apple butter will be a bargain this year with the price staying at $5 a pint. "We're going to eat the price increases," Garland said.
There's more to apple butter at the festival -- like hundreds of food and craft booths. The event draws more than 100,000 over two days.
"There's going to be lots of food, all kinds of things to buy, just a wonderful, wonderful day," Garland said. "There will be lots to see and do at the festival but don't forget to pick up some apple butter."
Other booths will sell apple butter but if you want some of the Historical Society's special recipe, stop by their pavilion early. "We usually sell out both days," Garland said. "We can never make enough."
ARTstravaganza! Fine, Folk and Fun Artwork
What: A chance to browse and buy the work some of the state's outstanding artists (think holiday shopping).
Where: St. Louis Artists Guild, 2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton (entrance is just north of the intersection of Clayton Road and Big Bend Boulevard).
When: 4-9 p.m., Oct. 24; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 25; 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Oct. 26
How Much: Free
Something special: Friday evening's moonlight reception will feature wine served by Peaceful Bend Vineyard and music by Pik'n Lik'n, a bluegrass ensemble. Pik'n Lik'n will also provide music on Saturday thanks to a grant from the Regional Arts Commission in St Louis.
Parking: Free parking shuttle is available: follow the signs in the parking lot
More information: 314-727-9599 or go to www.stlouisartistguild.org
Apple Butter Festival
When: 9 a.m.-5p.m., Oct. 25-26
What: What some call the biggest apple butter festival in the Midwest features hundreds of food booths and craft booths.
How Much: Free
Parking: The streets of Kimmswick are closed to traffic during the festival. Visitors can park at the Windsor High School, 933 Windsor Harbor Road or in fields along Highway K for a $5 donation and take a free shuttle into town.
More information: 636-464-6464 or go to www.gokimmswick.com
Grafton Riverside Flea Market
Where: Historic Boatworks near the Loading Dock, 400 Front St., Grafton, Ill.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 25-26
What: Flea Market at the confluence of the two rivers. If you enjoy chasing fleas, there's no better place to do it than on the river. More than 70 dealers offer goods ranging from new items to antiques and collectibles on the fourth weekend of the month from April through October in Grafton. This weekend the Five A's Humane Society (Alton Area Animal Aid Association) will be showing off dogs that will be available for adoption.
How Much: Free
More information: 618-786-8210 or 618-462-4991 or go to www.visitalton.com
Kathie Sutin is a freelance writer in St. Louis.