Tag: Forest Park

It’s quite a sight as the sun goes down and dozens of hot air balloon owners fire up their burners to inflate giant balloons in the middle of Forest Park. It’s called the Balloon Glow and part of a beloved St. Louis tradition that signals the end of summer and a 45 year old race across the sky of colorful hot air balloons.

The festivities begin Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:00 p.m. on Art Hill. Boogie Chyld will be performing on the mainstage and fireworks are set to light up the sky at 9:15 p.m. You can also walk around the grounded, inflated balloons and see they glow before they take off for the race on Saturday.

The organizers claim the Annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race  is “the oldest and most well-attended FREE Hot-Air Balloon Event in the World.”

Saturday, September 16, 2017, Festivities begin at Noon
Great Forest Park Balloon Race – Art Hill
Maryville University Main Stage
Featuring STL’s Ultimate Mash Up Cover Band – Super Majik Robots plus performances by The Muny Kids, IGNITE Theater Company and Pazazz Performers

PURINA Children’s Entertainment Area
activities for kids of all ages – inflatables, games, Mural painting with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, performances by the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team and much more!

Enterprise Family Picnic Area
3:00 P.M. — Miller Lite Skydivers
3:30 P.M. — Opening Ceremonies at The Maryville University Main Stage
4:30 P.M. — “Hare” Balloon Launches – PNC Bank’s Orange Blossom
4:45 P.M. — “Hound” Balloons Launch

Link here for map, parking, directions


Over the last three months, I have been to five states and six cities in the US. I have toured the Central Standard Time zone, tasted the cheese in Wisconsin, been blown away in the windy city of Chicago, danced my way down the streets of New Orleans, watched my first game in football-crazy Texas (Dallas) and lived daily life in Missouri (St Louis).

I list ‘travelling’ as one of my favorite things to do, so imagine my delight at having so many opportunities to travel this massive, new country I am in. Through my travels I have come to realize something interesting. I am loving St Louis and here is why.

1. It’s mid-November and I am still wearing shorts

I hail from an (almost) equatorial country where the norm is hot and humid. I would not have banked on my sun toasted skin to survive the dreaded winter of Missouri. Interestingly, the weather has mostly been deliciously cool, ever since temperatures dropped at the end of August. The beauty of fall is stretching itself out here and I am loving its chill and colors. Crisp, cool wind blowing in your face as you walk across Mudd Field is the best way to wake up for the 8 am classes.

I know what you are thinking—I have not survived winter yet, but St. Louis has been kind so far and if nothing else, the warmth of the ever-smiling people of St. Louis should help get me through.

2. Mother nature has your back

I head to Forest Park for my dose of green.

I head to Forest Park for my dose of green.

As I returned from my journey to the south of the country, I noticed how distinctively green St Louis is. There are trees everywhere, especially with Forest Park taking the game up a notch. At 1,293 acres (500 acres larger than Central Park!) Forest Park is the treasure of this city. Its streams and meadows, fountains and bridges lay out a mesmerizing mix of mother nature and human architecture that you can explore for days.

Any day you are feeling down or feeling lonely, turn to Mother Nature. Just head down to Forest Park and the dose of green will boost your endorphin levels.

3. No shortage of places to go

Music, theater, zoo, museum, tours, fairs, festivals. You are never bored here. Did I say that most of these are free?

The St. Louis Zoo is the USA’s ‘Best Free Attraction.’ You can watch the animals at the zoo or watch kids squeak in delight as the giraffes eat from their hands. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour is one of a kind. It comes with free beer, as is expected from the homeland of the famous Budweiser. I have met great people at ‘Festival of Nations,’ a grand affair, staying true to its name and showcasing art forms, food and goods from all over the world. I have not even scratched the surface of ‘Things to do in St Louis.’

I know. I sound like a tour guide, trying to sell St Louis to you; that is not the purpose of this blog. This blog is my thank you to St Louis—I came to you prepared to be bored and miserably cold, but while I was not paying attention, you became home.

St. Louis is an underrated city. There are great activities going on, competitive sports teams, unique food, and brilliant people. Being so immersed at WashU, it’s easy to forget that there is more than just the campus. After finishing up freshman year and having the opportunity myself to get off campus frequently, it’s something I would highly recommend for five key reasons:

1. You can get involved in the St. Louis business community

Last semester, twice a week, I took the metrolink to TopOPPS, a St. Louis pipeline management and predictive forecasting startup, where I was an Operational Marketing intern. I have also gotten the chance to tour St. Louis incubators T-REX and TechArtista.

Courtesy of downtowntrex.com

T-REX working spaces, courtesy of downtowntrex.com

You don’t have to be interested in entrepreneurship for this to be applicable to you. Interning with a startup can be an incredible opportunity for anybody (that can sometimes even be paid!). At a small company there is a large opportunity to make a difference and get great hands-on skills. It isn’t likely that you could go work for a company with 1,000 employees and have the freedom to get started on a new idea right away, or to work hand in hand with the head of marketing (although if you wanted to go work for a bigger company in St. Louis, I bet you could find success there, too). By working with TopOPPS I learned a tremendous amount about sales and marketing, and the culmination of my time with TopOPPS and within the St. Louis entrepreneurial community has introduced me to some great people over the past year who have taught me a lot, helped me expand my network, and improved my depth of understanding of the St. Louis entrepreneurial and business community.

2. The food in St. Louis is great

Don’t get me wrong, I love what we have to eat on campus. But day after day and year after year, sometimes it can get tiring. Plus, St. Louis was ranked in the top 15 for food by NerdWallet last summer.

The Delmar Loop. WashU photo.

The Delmar Loop. WashU photo.

It’s about the same cost to go out to eat as eating on campus (your 6.50 meal point stir fry is the equivalent of $9.02 if you’re on the silver plan), and it can be as quick as you want–the Delmar Loop, with a wealth of eclectic and traditional dining options, is a short walk away. Some of the best moments I had last semester were going off campus to eat–not only for the great food, but also for the meaningful time spent with whoever I went with.

3. There are great activities going on in St. Louis

First there are sports. Cardinals games are a blast, and the Blues just had one of their most successful seasons ever (RIP Rams). WashU is constantly giving tickets away and there are always deals to get them cheap. Second are the touristy activities, like the Arch, City Museum, and Zoo–all staples of St. Louis. Third are the events in the city. With the second biggest Mardi Gras in the country, great local microbreweries, and streets full of food trucks, there are new things to do all of the time.

Fair St. Louis crowd on Art Hill at Bonnie Raitt concert July 4.

Fair St. Louis crowd on Art Hill at Bonnie Raitt concert July 4.

4. Get a break from the WashU bubble

During the school year most of us spend so much time in the same few places (which, if you’re in Olin, is probably a lot of Simon and Bauer). It’s easy to get tired of the same routine. Getting off of campus not only provides a new and exciting way to spend a day and experience new things, but it also helps get your mind off of your homework and tests. And, you never know what you could learn from meeting others in St. Louis who don’t go to WashU.

5. It’s easy

We get free U-passes, a lot of us have (or have friends with) cars, and the Delmar Loop is a 15-minute walk from campus. Some Olin students might say, “But I don’t have time to get off campus.” And for almost everyone, I am going to call your bluff. Last semester, despite pledging a fraternity and working on my baseball blog, I was able to devote 8 hours a week to my internship plus the occasional Cardinals game or off-campus dinner. Most of us have no class Friday, and sleep incessant amounts over our three-day weekends. It’d be easy to pick one of those days each weekend to wake up early and go explore the city with friends. You’ll create memorable experiences, get out of the WashU bubble, and take advantage of the city that will be your home for four great years. When the year starts up, things will get crazy and it might seem tough to find time, but by making a commitment now that you will get off of campus more, and by prioritizing it when you get back, you’ll surely be able to do so.