Forest Park Is The Place To Be

If you’re in the St. Louis area, you can have your pick of activities this week. There are ethnic festivals and other fun things to do. But THE PLACE to be, in my opinion, is Forest Park.

Forest Park is a large park in the city of St. Louis. It’s about the size of Central Park in New York City. Several museums are housed in the park as is the St. Louis Zoo and the Muny Opera, the 10,000 seat outdoor theatre which has seven weeks of live musical theatre every summer. There are ball fields and the skating rink.

This past Thursday, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, played what has become their annual outdoor concert to kick off their winter season. This concert takes place on Art Hill. There’s a portable bandstand for the orchestra. The audience brings their lawn chairs, blankets, and whatever else they want to sit on and takes their place on Art Hill (which is the prime hill for sledding when it snows). A lot of people bring their picnic supper. Some people even bring tables as well as their chairs.

That’s where I was Thursday evening. I found a spot at the top of the hill where the ground is flat. I, like so many, had my picnic supper. I also had some knitting, a chemo hat. It got dark before I got a lot of knitting done but I probably added an inch to the hat.

There is a lagoon at the bottom of the hill, behind the orchestra. There are fountains which shoot up in it until the music starts. Then the fountains are turned off. I noticed a group of boats in the lagoon, listening to the concert from that vantage point. One of the activities you can do in the park is rent an electric boat and ride on the canels and lakes. Those in the boats missed the picnic supper, though.

The breeze off the lagoon made a sweater a comfortable addition to your wardrobe. Some people were wrapped up in blankets or afghans while others were there in shorts and halter tops.  I think those folks probably got pretty chilly because I was wishing for a hat before the evening was over.

The program was an overview of a number of pieces which will be performed in their completeness at Powell Symphony Hall during the winter season. Lots of them were themes from classical music which have been used in movies and cartoons. All in all, the concert lasted about an hour. Then came the “surprise” which really isn’t such a surprise any more … a nice fireworks display. A local wealthy couple sponsor the concert and the fireworks display each year.

Friday night was the Balloon Glow. I think there were over 50 hot air balloons on display and thousands of people walking around admiring them, chatting with pilots, etc. Today is the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. Another big crowd is expected. This race is a hare and hounds race with the Everyready Bunny being the hare balloon. When I lived in the city, sometimes the balloons flew over my house. It’s not often they come out where I now live.

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