For those of us not fortunate enough to be born Scottish, nor even of Scottish descent, life can be lonely. We never feel the proud thrill of kinsmanship when hearing Bon Scott's voice. We can't fully grasp the cultural references when reading the works of Alexander Trocchi. Three fingers of Bowmore is delicious, but it doesn't taste like mother's milk. Argh, we're not Scottish, and so we're crap.
But once a year, we can pretend to hail from the Highlands at the St. Louis Scottish Games & Cultural Festival in Forest Park (on the Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue side). From 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (October 7 and 8), we wander the park and feel the love of the Gael all around us. We hear the skirling of the bag pipes and picture rocky mountains; we see the dancers twirling, and our blood races; we watch the men throwing cabers across green fields, and we know that being a Scot is not just a matter of blood -- it is a matter of soul. The Scots welcome you with open arms if you come with an open heart.
Admission to the Scottish Games is $10 to $50; for more information call 314-821-1286 or visit www.stlouis-scottishgames.com. -- Paul Friswold
Tour de Force
Bike It to Fight It
Even if the most recent time you donned a bicycle helmet was for last Halloween's misunderstood "scary bicyclist" costume, there's a spot for you at the Judy Ride Foundation's annual Tour de Judy. Sure, the 30-mile ride may be a bit much for you (registration is at 7:30 a.m. in case it's not), but the 10-mile trek should be just your speed -- especially since you can't take part in the kids' Tour de Judy Junior at 11 a.m. Just bring your trusty helmet to the Center of Clayton (50 Gay Avenue, Clayton) in time for the ten-miler's 8:30 a.m. registration, and know that the proceeds from your $20 entry fee go toward fighting breast cancer. (Plus, having emptier pockets will make you an aerodynamic force to be reckoned with on that bike.) For more information visit www.judyride.org or call 314-727-5839. -- Alison Sieloff
You are a beer drinker. In fact, you privately consider yourself a connoisseur of beer. So when October arrives each year, you are puzzled by the sudden overabundance of wine enthusiasts. Who are these people who travel by the busload to the Missouri River Valley, cheese knives in hand? Surely they aren't the same folks who enjoyed summer-evening pints with you -- don't they know the love of beer is a year-round affair? Luckily, the third annual Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival ensures you, too, can enjoy the fall beauty of the Missouri River Valley -- with an Oktoberfest in hand. Just have the winery bus drop you off at noon near where Public Street hits the Katy Trail in Augusta, and then have it swing by to pick you up at 5 p.m. A $25 festival-entrance fee gains you beer tastings from more than a dozen microbreweries and a commemorative glass, plus live music. For information, a list of attending breweries or directions, call the Augusta Brewing Company at 636-482-2337 or check www.augustabottomsbeerfest.com. -- Amy Helms