With skateboarding thoroughly entrenched in the mainstream these days, chances are you've either purchased your first skateboard recently or made a trip to Mom's house to exhume your old Mike McGill from the garage. And you've probably discovered it's even more illegal now to skate in both public and private places than it was fifteen years ago. Some cities and towns have realized that if they're going to outlaw a relatively harmless activity (as harmless as any other mainstream sport), they'd better provide a place to pursue that activity legally. Although St. Louis has not owned up to this responsibility, St. Charles (of all places) has. Is this an early sign of the liberalization of St. Charles County? Regardless of political implications, the St. Charles Skatepark, located in Fountain Lakes Park (3750 Huster Road) provides a safe haven where you can blast airs in the bowl, grind the rails, get in the way of other skaters or hang out and smoke cigarettes with thirteen-year-olds from the neighboring trailer park. Skateboarders of all abilities are welcome, but for safety's sake, parents should strongly consider taking beginners in the morning, when it's less crowded. Although many local skaters consider this the best skatepark in the St. Louis area, they note that the park isn't big enough and that they should've been allowed more input during both the design and construction processes. Nevertheless, they're glad it's there. The skatepark opens at 10 a.m. and closes at dusk; best of all, it's free (636-949-7535). -- Guy Gray
The great sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis always kept his international public enthralled with what can be described as a mysteriously aloof decorum. Recently, when King Carl was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, one could almost hear the entire sport of track and field hitting rock bottom with him.
So track and field's been dormant for a while, but it ain't dead. Inhale the sport in its purest form at the grassroots uprising of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, to be held this weekend (May 22-24) at Korte Stadium, on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (I-270 and Route 157, 618-650-2871, $15/three days, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.). -- Mike Seely
Rollin' on the River
It's easy for some of us to live in St. Louis yet never get near the Mississippi River. Local not-for-profit Trailnet, which conserves trails and greenways for walking and bicycling, aims to help remedy that this summer with its Bicycle Fun Club at the Landing (www.trailnet.org, 314-913-BIKE, free). Leisurely riverside rides for adults are being held each Tuesday through August 27.
Embarking at 6 p.m. from the parking lot on Second Street just north of Laclede's Landing, riders choose their own adventures along the paved St. Louis Riverfront Trail from preplanned routes running between seven and 27 miles. Incentive to stick with it for the long haul: The longest route includes a stop for ice cream. -- Rose Martelli
Meet Me at le Faire
Get out of the Dark Ages (by about 500 years) and immerse yourself in sixteenth-century France at the 2003 St. Louis Renaissance Faire. Visitors to the annual festival enjoy an interactive glimpse of the culture and entertainment of the period without the political strife or pestilential dreariness. This living-history experience features guilds, feasts, jousting, live music, spirits, entertainment, dancing, general merriment and exciting re-creations.
Gettest thou over to Rotary Park, 2577 West Meyer Road in Wentzville, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends, May 17-June 8, plus Memorial Day. Admission is $6-$10 (ages four and younger get in for free). For more information, check out www.stlrenfaire.com. -- Rob Levy