Baden says Wilkommen (Aug. 22)

August 19, 2009

When I heard about the street festival in the North St. Louis neighborhood of Baden, I was intrigued. It’s a part of town that most of us don’t visit very often — for example, the festival is in the heart of the neighborhood, between the 7900 and 8300 blocks of Broadway, and my personal explorations of the northern reaches of Broadway end around Smoki O’s barbecue shack at 1545.

Baden was named by an immigrant from Baden-Baden, a city in southwestern Germany not far from Stuttgart, where I lived from 1995 to 2001. Baden-Baden is a resort town famous for its baths (Baden) in a part of Germany that’s been yanked back and forth for a few hundred years by bishops and dukes and generals and all sorts of political entities. Its chaotic history has some ironic parallels with current St. Louis politics and bureaucracy — though, to its credit, the city has been funding some infrastructure improvements in Baden lately.

The festival, called Baden Taste, will be Saturday (Aug. 22) from 9 a.m. into the evening, starting with a classic car parade . There’ll be food booths, a kid zone, R&B and gospel music, comedy acts and a chicken wings contets. And beer! The organizers, though they have no ties to the Badenfests the neighborhood used to throw back when it was still full of German immigrants, are still planning to sell plenty of beer.

My only complaint about festivals like this one is the timing — why oh why have it in the middle of August?  St. Louis in the summer is NOTHING like Germany. The old Strassenfest used to drive me crazy for that very same reason.  Here’s hoping for a coolish weekend (even though I know some of my heat-loving friends will not be happy with anything less than triple digits this time of year) so we can hang out in Baden comfortably.

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