There's good, clean fun; good, dirty fun; dirty, dirty fun; and other variations that we shouldn't go into since the St. Louis County Parks' Mighty Mud Mania event at Jefferson Barracks Park is family-oriented. SLCP spokeswoman Kyra Kaltenbronn is excited about this year's good, dirty fun activity: "This is our twentieth anniversary, so we're actually getting people who went through as children bringing their children. That's kind of fun." She continues, "It's the one day kids can get really dirty and not get in trouble." Damn straight. Kids will probably get so overjoyed that they'll crap their pants -- and no one will even know.
What's in this year's 200-foot-long obstacle course, beside 15 truckloads of wet, squishy earth? Kaltenbronn helps out: "We have a commando ramp they climb over, they climb through barrels, they go through a tire maze, and this year we're adding a 'Hog Hollow.'" So what's a "Hog Hollow"? "Oh, it's a mud pit that they can do mud angels in," Kaltenbronn explains. Sweet! They also have various inflatable rides, treasure sandpits and a DJ. With all the obstacle-course action going on, your kids will be ready for a reality show in no time.
And for you worrywarts -- ahem, adults -- clean-up isn't a problem. SLCP provides changing tents and showers, so don't stress about dirtying up your SUV that never goes off-road.
Mighty Mud Mania dirties up the park (Telegraph and Jefferson Barracks roads) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is limited to ages five through fifteen, and tickets are $6 to $7. For more information call 314-638-2100 or visit www.stlouisco.com/parks. Note that parents must sign a waiver, downloadable from the parks' Web site, for their children to participate. -- Guy Gray
I Want to Hold Your Antenna
The Beatles are practically the most influential and best band ever -- not many would argue with that. And beetles are somewhat disgusting and possibly influential in the bug community (without speaking bug, we can't say for sure). Now these two, same in name and polarized in almost every other way, come together, right now, for free at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area (2360 Highway D, St. Charles; 636-441-4554). That's right: Beetlemania returns, for a new generation. Bring the kids out from 7 to 9 p.m. to make insect crafts, play bug games, see some specimens and hear the Beetles play songs such as "Something in the Smell." Something tells us that won't be quite as touching as the original. -- Alison Sieloff
Work through all your Dukes of Hazzard hang-ups, glorified redneck fantasies and your need for speed with a free weekend at the races! On Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1, the St. Louis regional chapter of the Sports Car Club of America plays host to some of the country's amateur racers, who are competing in 24 different race classes at the Gateway International Raceway (700 Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois). Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, drivers course through 25-minute regional qualifying sessions, followed by 20-lap regional races. An on-site party caps things off (natch) before more fast-moving fun at 8 a.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.stlscca.org or call the Raceway at 618-482-2400. -- Rose Martelli
Enjoy the Buffett
So the man who brought us "Margaritaville" has passed over St. Louis on his past few tours. But Jimmy Buffett's famously loyal legion of fans wouldn't dream of holding this against their idol. He's topped the New York Times bestseller list and has produced more than 30 albums with clever songs such as "The Wino and I Know" and "Last Mango in Paris." Be free, caged Parrot Head! Grab a frozen concoction and that lost shaker of salt, and sail over to Alton, Illinois (slogan: "Almost just like Key West!") to see Buffett tribute-band Phins play at the free Alton Street Fest. The band'll cover some of Jimmy's better-known odes to boozin', lovin' and sailin'. Yes, sometimes in that order. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the corner of Third and Belle streets. Phins up! -- Kristie McClanahan