I have been meaning to tell you about the upcoming St. Louis Beacon Festival for days now but this week has flown by, no pun intended, and I am just getting to it. It isn't too late though for you to consider signing up for what I began to call "Camp Beacon" during last year's tremendously fun travel-fest. The festival is the brainchild of Bob Duffy (in blue shirt above), a dear friend who worked at the St. Louis Post Dispatch for 32 years, and is now Associate Editor of the St. Louis Beacon. Bobby knows everyone and everything about our town and is the best travel guide ever.
Last year's week-long festival included a trip to the last remaining Indian mound within the city limits. At the site, just off Hwy 55, we were invited to take part in a symbolic cleansing ceremony led by Eve Perlmutter, who is of Native American ancestry (shown above). After a climb to the top of the Mound, which belongs to the Cahokia tribe, with its commanding view of the mighty Mississippi, we headed to the new Six Row Brewery on Forest Park for a tour and beer sampling. That was just in time frankly, because most of us were feeling pretty glum thinking about what our ancestors had done to the Native Americans. One of the owners of Six Row is Rick Holton, a CWEnder who is active in Native American culture and is involved in an effort to give all the rivers and streams in Missouri appropriate N.A. names. (The beer is very good too.)
There is a return trip planned this year to the New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, June 5. Last year's visit, shown in the photo above, was one of the most inspiring, hand-clapping church services I have ever attended. Hallelujah and Amen!
A return to Bellefontaine Cemetary is scheduled for Friday, June 3. Last year we heard a Baroque ensemble perform in the Chapel there; this year renowned architect Gene Mackey will discuss Louis Sullivan and St. Louis in the same location. This talk includes a private tour of Sullivan's Wainwright Tomb.
Two of the Festival's events take place in the Central West End. Washington University author-in-residence and Guggenheim Fellow Kathleen Finneran will read from a recent work in Lucie and Antony Garnett's magnificent book-filled mansion on Lindell Boulevard on Wednesday, June 1. A light lunch is included in the $30 ticket price.
The Festival kicks off on Memorial Day with a brunch in the most gorgeous garden you've ever seen on Westmoreland Place. UCity's Winslow's Home is doing the cooking. The living quarters above the stable was the site of last year's reading by Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and American Wife.
For a complete listing of events and ticket information, visit the website here. Tickets are limited, so hurry!