Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Family Fun

Amtrak coming into the Kirkwood Station
We had company over the weekend again. Jim's sister and her fiance took the train from Kansas City to St. Louis on Saturday. We picked them up at the station in Kirkwood, which is great for us since it is so close. Fun fact is that this station was going to be closed by Amtrak, so the city of Kirkwood purchased the station in order to keep it open. It is run entirely by volunteers! Anyway, the train was right on time and we decided to go ahead and have a late lunch in Kirkwood. We walked over to Kirkwood Ice and Fuel, and then did a little shopping in Kirkwood. With the free parking and good location, it is so much more convenient using the Kirkwood Station instead of going downtown.

Saturday evening we packed up our chairs and headed over to the Streetfest in Webster Groves. They close down Gore Avenue, and a band was playing Beatles music. The temperature was pleasant, so for supper we went to the new Mexican restaurant in town - La Cantina. We grabbed a table outside where we could still enjoy the music as well as the trains that pass by there. The food was great and we will definitely go back there.

Sunday morning we made a nice breakfast and then sat around talking for a bit. We decided on the Boathouse in Forest Park for lunch, and as usual there was a wait. I am not a fan of this place, but for some reason everyone always wants to go there. I think the food is mediocre and the service is always slow. And we roasted sitting outside. I also knew that eating this late was going to throw off supper plans since we had tickets to the Chinese Lantern Festival that night. Anyway, following the mediocre lunch we went to the Civil War exhibit at the Missouri History Museum. It is very well done. We got back to our house a little after 5:00, and wanted to leave for the garden by 6:15 or so. As predicted, we did not have time to eat supper.

Jim and I had been to the Festival on Thursday night as we are taking a two part night photography class at the garden, learning how to photograph the lanterns. It was packed that night! They are letting 4,000 people in each night to see the exhibit. To put that in perspective, they only sold 2,500 tickets each night for the Chihuly exhibit. Lucky for us they have reserved parking spots for the students in the photography class, or God knows where we would have had to park on Thursday. So on Sunday night I was expecting to park in the west lot by Vandeventer. As that lot was nearly empty when I drove by, I decided to gamble on getting in the main parking lot. There were lots of spaces left, surprisingly. It was about 6:45 when we arrived. The lanterns are not lit until 8:00 and of course it is really not very dark until later, so I guess a lot of people come later? That was not the case on Thursday as the lot was full when we arrived at 6:40 that night. Perhaps it was the heat Sunday as well, because the crowd was a lot smaller Sunday night in general, which was great. We were able to sit and watch the show being performed on the main stage.

Performer from the Szechuan region of China
Performers from the Szechuan region of China

While there is a lot to photograph during the daylight hours, it is after the sun goes down that the the garden really shine. Whoever came up with the tagline "Art by day, magic by night" deserves a bonus. It truly describes the transition from ooooh to WOW! when you view the lanterns at night. 

The lantern festival is truly remarkable and I hope people take advantage of the unique opportunity to see it. It is only the second time the festival has been shown outside of China, and the first time in the United States. I am looking forward to our second photography class this Thursday night. (Other than the fact that it is supposed to be well over 100 degrees that day!)

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

You have more fun than anyone I know!