St. Louis is kicking off fall with its annual Art Fair in Clayton with tons of food to complement the art. There's also the "alternative" art fair in Maplewood at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue; 314-241-2337). Don't forget LouFest's Nosh Pit, and the kickoff party for St. Louis Craft Spirits and Cocktail Week. It's a busy weekend -- check out our food-related recommendations below.
Friday (Sept. 6):
The annual juried art show is in its twentieth year, with all the usual fanfare. Several neighboring restaurants will be offering special food items as you walk around the Clayton business district. Try a gourmet BLT from Naked Bacon, some classic pulled pork at Rib City or toasted ravioli from Zia's Food Truck. Check out the full list of restaurants here. It's looking like the weather this weekend will be incredibly nice, so go on and get some culture! Admission is free. Friday, September 6, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, September 7, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, September 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit culturalfestivals.com for information on parking.
"Ah, Schlafly's Art Outside -- is it an art fair, or the city's largest outdoor kibbutz? The annual weekend-long showplace for local artists working in all media always feels like a reunion. You walk the art fair ground with a cold beer in one paw and something tasty in the other, bumping into former neighbors, co-workers, the guy who towed the stalled car out of your driveway; everybody seems to show up at some point. Kids dance in front of the bandstand while you chat with the guy who makes lovely bowls, right next to booth full of handmade stuffed animals. It's weirdly, completely St. Louis at every level. This year's Art Outside takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday (September 6 through 8) at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-241-2337). Food Outside will be next door at Citizens National Bank Park on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but you'll end up seeing something you didn't know you needed until it was right in front of you, so bring your wallet."
Join the three-day celebration of Hispanic heritage downtown at Kiener Plaza (Seventh & Market Streets). There will be a bevy of authentic Hispanic foods, art and crafts, plus one of our favorite imports from our southern neighbors -- the margarita! Catch live bands and folkloric performances, as well as the Parade of Hispanic Nations. Admission is free. Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, September 8, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can call 314-837-6100 for more information.
Celebrate Polish heritage with live music, food and crafts at the Polish Falcon Gardens (2013 St. Louis Avenue). The EZ Tones will be playing polka music starting at 6:30 p.m. each night. We recommend the kielbasi, pierogis and homemade Polish pastries that will be available. Plus, a polka dance contest Saturday at 8 p.m. with cash prizes. Admission is free. Friday, September 6, 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 7 from noon to 10:30 p.m.
"Bissell presents the interactive comedy murder mystery Footless, a story with a mob mentality and plenty of dance scenes. Shows are available on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from now through October. The cost per seat is $52.95 per person and includes a four-course meal with entree options such as an eight-ounce New York strip and baked white fish with an almondine sauce." Call 314-533-9830 for reservations.
Saturday (Sept. 7)
St. Louis Craft Spirits and Cocktails Week kicks off its second year with a booze-infused party in Lafayette Square Park (Park & Mississippi Avenues). Power Play Band will supply the live music from 6-9 p.m. Each of the distilleries will have a special cocktail on hand, including Spirits of St. Louis Distillery, Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling and Mad Buffalo Distillery. Admission is free, but drink tickets cost $2.50 each; one ticket gets you a small cocktail, two tickets a large one.
Fall means its apple-picking season, and the Kirkwood Farmers' Market (150 East Argonne Drive, Kirkwood; 314-822-0084) is celebrating the crisp autumn treat. There will be a variety of apples from several local farms, apple pie and apple cider, plus a cooking demonstration from Mike Ryan of Kirkwood Station Brewing Co. and live music from The Lulus. Admission is free. 9 a.m. to noon.
Did you score tickets to LouFest? There's more than just great music waiting for you at Forest Park (Highway 40 & Hampton Avenue). Ten St. Louis favorites are offering up choice menu items all weekend: Atomic Cowboy, Cleveland-Heath, Dressel's Pub, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Kaldi's Coffee, Local Harvest Cafe, Magoo's Pizza, Mission Taco Joint, PM BBQ and Triumph Grill. You can check out the list of available items here. Tickets are $95 for a two-day pass, $55 for a Saturday or Sunday pass, available here.
The swanky dinner party kicks off the St. Louis branch of the United Way's fall campaign at the Yacht Club of St. Louis (105 Lake Village Drive, St. Charles; 636-250-3042). There will, of course, be wine, food, chocolate and live jazz from the Bosman Twins. Tickets are $70 ahead of time, and $80 at the door. Proceeds benefit the United Way. Buy tickets at www2.stl.unitedway.org/cwj2013 or call 636-939-3300. 6:30 p.m.
Sunday (Sept. 8)
The locally focused restaurant recently expanded for brunch, and it's the perfect weekend to try it out. There are small plates, like biscuits and buttered local peaches or local heirloom tomatoes and feta cheese with baby spinach and gremolata. Big Sky (47 South Old Orchard Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-962-5757) also has bigger stuff like blueberry pancakes with bacon from Geisert Farms or a mozzarella and heirloom tomato sandwich on grilled rye with sprouts from Claverach Farm and basil scallion mayonnaise. Plus, Veggie Boy Produce is providing all the eggs. Call 314-962-5757 for reservations. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.