University City has figured a little something out: The simplest, most successful formula for a happy Memorial Day is being outdoors and eating lots of food. This Monday, May 31, the little suburb that could offers multiple options for making those two things happen.
For starters, you could get your butt outta bed in time for the 29th annual University City Memorial Day Run. The 10K (that's about six miles, punk) starts at 7:30 a.m. outside the University City Public Library (6701 Delmar Boulevard), and for lazier bones, the 5K kicks off at 9 a.m., with a one-mile Fun Run for kids (or very out-of-shape adults) taking place at 10 a.m. Registration costs $16 per adult, $8 per child, $35 per family, and you can sign up at the library, online at www.fleetfeetsports.com or on the day of the race (for the laziest bones of all). The race benefits the library, the University City Children's Center, the Green Center and U. City in Bloom (the fine folks who put all those bee-yoo-tiful flowers in all of U. City's public spaces).
After all that huffin' and puffin', it'll be time for some scarfin'! That's when you drag your carb-craving behind over to the Taste of Olive festival happening inside Heman Park, next to the Heman Park Pool and Recreation Center (7210 Olive Street Road). From noon until 5 p.m., myriad Olive businesses and restaurants will be putting their best feet (and food) forward in a tiny tented wonderland (complete with a live calypso band), offering munchies and non-edible goodies, courtesy of such diverse storefronts as Lu Lu Seafood Restaurant, Olive Farmer's Market, Roscoe Electric, St. Louis Chinese-American News and Royal Banks of Missouri. University City do-gooders are hoping such Memorial Day festivities do prove memorable, illustrating that Delmar's neglected sister street to the north, home to more than 300 businesses between Interstate 170 and Skinker Boulevard, is worthy of praise and patronage, too. After all, with that street's long string of Asian restaurants and groceries -- In Soo, Din Ho, and Wei Hong, just to name a few -- isn't it the closest thing St. Louis has to a bona fide Chinatown?
Next, ignore your mother's stern warnings about going swimming right after you eat. The Heman Park pool is back, baby, recently renovated and better than ever! Deck and underwater lights, water slides and a new kiddie pool (three times the size of the old one, thereby vastly diluting the pee-to-water ratio) with spray fountain have all been installed. That ribbon-cutting also takes place at noon, in a ceremony cleverly called "Snip/Dig," because the groundbreaking ceremony for additions to the Heman Park Recreation Center (namely, new game rooms and a new gymnasium) takes place at the same time. Information on season pool passes for University City residents can be gleaned by calling 314-863-3208.
Thank goodness nighttime fireworks traditionally happen on Independence Day instead of Memorial Day. Who's going to be able to stay awake past dinnertime after all that?