A festival to rediscover Maplewood (June 12-13)

June 10, 2009

Yesterday I saw an ad for the Maplewood Community Fair this weekend (June 12-13) and I realized the whole town has been off my radar for far too long. You see, we used to be regulars at the Maplewood outdoor concerts (every fourth Wednesday at 6 p.m. from now until September) until my kids started to want to spend more time on the playground equipment than in their seats. And since I’m usually flying solo on the concert outings, it got to the point where we were barely listening to the concerts at all. Were we to go back — and now that I’ve rediscovered the series, I’m sure we will! — I think the boys would actually listen a little more, especially to groups with fiddles, like Raven Moon on June 24.  M. is actually missing his violin lessons this summer.  Who’d have thought?

But back to the festival. It’s free to attend, though rides will set you back a buck.  The mechanical bull is the one exception, but believe me, it’s worth two bucks to watch your little ones clinging for dear life and screaming joyfully all the while. The fee includes two rides, and it’s always interesting to see which kids will get back on and which ones won’t.

There’s also music, two bands per evening, and a sports-themed obstacle course. On Saturday, there will be a helicopter landing at 5:30 p.m., half an hour after the festival begins. We usually pack a picnic to these events, but in Maplewood we often make an exception, as it’s home to some kid-friendly eateries in close proximity to the park: CooperElla Cafe, Maya Cafe (2726 Sutton Blvd.), Schlafly Bottleworks and Mr. Wizard’s Frozen Custard (2101 S. Big Bend Blvd.).

If you’re going to the Wednesday concerts, you can get picnic fixin’s at the farmers’ market in the Schlafly parking lot from 4 to 7 p.m. If past experience is any indication, you and I won’t be the only parents doing it!

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