by Nancy Stiles
Technically, this is the final pool weekend of the year, which makes it basically the worst weekend ever. In between all that watersliding, hit up St. Louis' huge Greek festival or celebrate John D. McGurk's birthday in Soulard. Check out our food-related recommendations after the jump.
Friday (Aug. 29):
"Does the Labor Day weekend mark the end of summer or the end of your hunger? If you attend the St. Louis Greek Festival, it's both. The best parts of Greek culture are celebrated with tours of the beautiful church, live music by Christos Sarantakis and the Grecian Keys, traditional folk dancing by the St. Nicholas Greek Dancers and enough delicious food to bury the Acropolis. You don't have to be Greek to attend, you just need to be hungry -- for both food and a good time. The 97th annual St. Louis Greek Festival is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Admission is free, but you'll need money for food and drinks."
The fifth annual celebration of wings is becoming a Labor Day weekend tradition. In addition to tons of wings, there's stuff like pulled pork and chili dogs, too. Enjoy live music Friday and Saturday, participate in the Chicken Run 5K for charity or give it your best shot in the wing-eating contest. Friday, from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Saturday, from noon to midnight. Admission is free.
Saturday (Aug. 30):
"The Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden is a St. Louis tradition. This singular event celebrates Japanese culture and history with demonstrations in art forms such as ikebana (the Japanese art of floral arranging) and origami, Bon Odori dance, a plethora of martial-arts styles ranging from traditional Koryu Bugei to sumo, modern cosplay fashion shows and musical performances from koto players, taiko drummers and karaoke enthusiasts. There are also several cooking demonstrations. And you must tour the exquisite Japanese Garden -- one of the largest of its kind in North America -- including the private Teahouse Island, for an additional fee. The Japanese Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday (August 30 through September 1). Admission is $5 to $15."
Whiskey bar Blind Tiger is teaming up with local blog Bourbon & Banter and Randall's Wine & Spirits for a bourbon tasting. You'll taste six different whiskeys along with six custom pizzas designed to pair with each bourbon. Renowned whiskey writer Fred Minnick will also be on hand to discuss the drinks and sign copies of his book, Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey. From 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 each, available here.
"Can't make it down to Tower Grove? No problem -- Wildwood has a farmers' market, too. Find fresh, local food from vendors like Cadet Creek Farms, Two Men and a Garden, Sunny Creek Farm and more. Connor Low and Cindy Graven will also be providing live music this weekend. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Admission is free."
Sunday (Aug. 31):
"Every Sunday night you can enjoy a feast of local produce and meats at Chaumette Winery in Ste. Genevieve. This week, it's lentil soup, salad Niçoise, chicken Provençal, pommes Anna and ratatouille. $18 per person, $7.45 for kids twelve and under. Call 573-747-1000 for reservations. From 5 to 8 p.m."
Date Night for Couples: Tuscany for Two @ Kitchen Conservatory
Take advantage of the long weekend and learn how to cook with your significant other. And what's more romantic than Italy? Make shrimp and scallop scampi, seared rib-eye steak with rosemary and roasted garlic, baked polenta with gorgonzola, mushrooms and spinach, roasted mixed vegetables and blackberry gelato with pizzelle cookies. From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Class is $140 per couple; register here.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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