On the national stage, St. Louis isn’t always seen in best light. You know, with Toyotas disappearing into sinkholes and movie stars tweeting photos of non-postcard worthy views from the comfort of their four-star hotel rooms.
But those of us in the know love St. Louis for all of its envy-inducing traits – the free, world-renowned attractions for families, its thriving arts scene, and its culturally-rich neighborhoods where mom-and-pop shops mingle with award-winning restaurants.
That’s the St. Louis Rise Community Development (Rise) sees. And the St. Louis it’s striving to grow. As a nonprofit dedicated to making successful neighborhood revitalization possible, Rise partners with organizations throughout St. Louis to redevelop blighted areas and create affordable housing for residents. From reviving Crown Square in Old North St. Louis to the catalytic effect they have had on The Grove, which is now a destination for locals and tourists alike, Rise and its partners are changing the face of the City in positive ways.
Each year, Rise invites the community to celebrate the vitality of St. Louis with The Rise Up Festival – Celebrating Revitalization. This free, family-friendly street festival in the heart of downtown on August 19 gives you and your kids the opportunity to take in everything great about the City alongside your fellow St. Louisans who love our town.
“By creating a festival featuring music, mission-driven activities and art exhibits for the whole family, we can let people know about all the important work being done to revitalize the city’s core,” said Larry Perlmutter, communications and development manager at Rise. “There are fun and safe activities in downtown St. Louis, and we want to remind people to support the City.”
Celebrate your favorite city
Starting at 2 p.m., Washington Avenue becomes the ultimate playground for music fans, foodies and families alike. Now in its fifth year, The Rise Up Festival keeps getting bigger and better with a continued focus on attractions for the littlest city dwellers.
Your kids can take part in a variety of activities from carnival games to face painting. The Contemporary Art Museum Art Bus will be on hand to allow little ones to create their own masterpieces while the Downtown St. Louis YMCA at the MX offers fun throughout the day. In addition, Circus Kaput will wow kids with their acrobatic stylings and teach fans how to be part of the action.
Rise will also host its own mission-driven activities to help festival goers better understand the importance of revitalization and growing their communities. A chalk mural will let them draw pictures and write notes about how they envision their neighborhoods and what they can do to make them even better. Families can also act as city planners, creating an imaginary town by turning used items and found pieces into buildings and landmarks.
In addition to the kids’ area, families can enjoy “Artists on the Rise” highlighting works by emerging St. Louis artists, a marketplace featuring local vendors, and incredible local, regional and national musical acts, culminating with a performance by The Bottle Rockets to close out the fun.
Of course, no good street festival is complete without a lineup of food booths. Get your fill of your St. Louis culinary favorites, including as Perlmutter noted, the best Italian ice in the city served up by Scoops & More. “It’s to die for!” he laughed.
The Rise Up Festival’s music and Italian ice may pull you in, but more important, its ultimate goal is an educational one. Rise and its partners want residents to learn why growing our city is so critical and how their families can be the catalyst for good.
Said Perlmutter, “The Festival’s not only a day of fun, it’s a way for people to get to know the mission of Rise and our partnership with other incredible organizations to create more affordable St. Louis neighborhoods. When you have a stronger city core, it translates into stronger economies for the surrounding area, including the county. Revitalization’s not just important for St. Louis, it’s important for the entire region.”
The fifth annual Rise Up Festival will be held at 1627 Washington Ave., and there’s no charge to enter. It’s also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry kids along as well to take part in the fun. To learn more, visit riseupfestival.org.
Photo courtesy of Rise Up Festival on Facebook via Riverfront Times
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL