News Column

St. Joseph News-Press, Mo., Top 5 column

July 3, 2014

By Shea Conner, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

July 03--This weekend's entertainment best bets include the annual Fourth of July celebration, a couple of special Mustangs games and a performance by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in Albany.

Celebrate with the city: It's Joetown's yearly tradition. The City of St. Joseph will hold its Fourth of July celebration from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday at Heritage Park on the Missouri Riverfront near St. Jo Frontier Casino and the Remington Nature Center. The Heritage Park softball complex will offer lawns and bleachers for seating, as well as a full range of concessions and open restrooms. Cravings concessions also will have a food truck in the park's parking lot. The Tracy Huffman Group will perform a mix of rock, blues and folk music for the crowd starting at 7 p.m., and the fireworks show presented by Aerial FX will start at dusk (between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.).

In theaters: Melissa McCarthy teamed up with Sandra Bullock for "The Heat," which grossed $229 million last summer. This year, McCarthy is hoping for another box office hit as she and Susan Sarandon star in "Tammy." The R-rated comedy opened Wednesday in theaters. McCarthy plays the title role as a slacker who hits rock bottom when she loses her fast-food job and finds out her husband has been cheating on her. Needing a reprieve, she agrees to take her foul-mouthed grandmother (Sarandon) on a trip to Niagara Falls. Naturally, hilarity ensues. The kids' alien film "Earth to Echo" and the demonic possession movie "Deliver Us From Evil" also open this weekend.

Celebrate with the 'Stangs: A growing number of people are making Phil Welch Stadium their Independence Day destination, and they might want to make it a double-header over the next two nights. At 7 p.m. on July 3, the St. Joseph Mustangs will host the Ban Johnson All-Stars for an exhibition baseball game. All active and retired military personnel will get free admission to the game. Plus, representatives from Falcon Skydiving -- and a bald eagle -- will be featured in the pre-game festivities. At 7 p.m.July 4, the Mustangs will host the Sedalia Bombers, and an extended fireworks show will follow the contest. The festivities also will include $1 beers, an apple pie eating contest and all veterans and active military will be entered into drawings for special prizes throughout the game.

Get gritty (and nitty): The Rhythm & Roots Festival in Albany, Mo., fetches an acclaimed music act every year, and 2014 will be no exception. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will headline the event on July 5. Considered one of the world's most influential country and roots groups, the Grammy-winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is best known for hits like "Fishin' in the Dark," "Mr. Bojangles," "Modern Day Romance" and "Long Hard Road." The group has been scoring radio hits and touring since the late 1960s, and it still features longtime members Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen. Although the festival starts at 3 p.m., the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band won't take the stage at Albany'sTown Square until 8 p.m.Kansas City blues guitarist Samantha Fish and hard-nosed country group Outlaw Jim & The Whiskey Benders will also perform at the event.

A Saturday Downtown: The Downtown area's monthly First Saturday celebrations have picked up a bunch of momentum in recent months, and now more businesses than ever are getting in on the activities. Check it out for yourself on the afternoon of July 5. Then, during the evening, head over to "Picnic at the Park" at Coleman Hawkins Park at Felix Street Square. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to dusk and will feature performances by the cast of Robidoux Resident Theatre's "Hairspray" and local acts Dream Girl, Scruffy & The Janitors and The Pyro Tribe. Food and drink will be available at the park that night.

Shea Conner can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom.


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