Enjoy the famous Missouri Botanical Garden at night for free!
One of my family's summer traditions (at least for the last seven years) has been season tickets to The Muny. Now, it looks like we have found another tradition: The Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
I was very fortunate to notice at the last minute on June 4th that the Festival kicked off with Erin Bode, who is a fantastic singer based in St. Louis. The Missouri Botanical Garden is at the top of our favorite places, and it is particularly cool at night. To have talented musicians there at the same time is just a bonus. Well, my wife and I were childless that night and looking for something to do so we attended Erin Bode. It was amazingly packed and a very nice evening. We decided to return for the next Wednesday night with our kids.
Last week, the performers were the St. Louis jazz group "Two Times True" who paired up with vocalist Christi John Bye from the group "Nightfall." The concerts start at 7:30, but you'll have to get there much earlier to get a close parking spot. Due to other running commitments (I don't think we have a single day that isn't double or triple booked during any block of time!), we get to the events very late...as in 8:00-8:15. This still leaves plenty of time for music and taking some pictures around the garden. This week, we had a hard time finding parking, plus didn't want to park too far away since the kids would be tired by the time we left. However, after circling the area a couple of times, we managed to get let into the main lot, and got a spot right by the front door! You can't get luckier.
Dianne had packed a picnic supper consisting of a bread loaf, some salami, several cheeses, plus grapes and strawberries. You are allowed to bring any food/drink into the garden that you want, except for grills! We purchased a bottle of Chardonnay at the garden and set up a picnic site near Henry Shaw's home, which was pretty isolated from the main crowd that gathers around the stage near the home gardening center.
We had a nice dinner, but as soon as she was done eating a little, my youngest daughter Rachel, who is a crazy music fan, was getting increasingly insistent on going to see the group play. So, we worked our way to the stage and Rachel eventually worked her way right to the front edge of the stage. The photo at left is her sitting right in front. She was enthralled by the singer, Christi John Bye, and had to stay for the remainder of the performance. As soon as the concert was over, Rachel declared that Christi was the best singer she had ever heard, and pleaded to purchase a CD.
Fortunately, I was prepared for this as Rachel is a voracious CD and autograph collector. Anytime we see a group, she wants the CD and autographs. We ended up purchasing two CDs - one from "Two Times True" and one from Christi...with Rachel getting Christi to autograph that CD.
This week, another Jazz ensemble is playing. They are going by the name "Le Jazz Hot" and features Bensid Thigpen, Ptah Williams, and Dan Eubanks. The concerts start at 7:30 PM each Wednesday and admission to the garden is free after 5:00 PM. Also, if you are bringing the kids, the Children's Garden is also free and open from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM. We'll see you there! Tell them "One Dad's Life" sent you, but be prepared for puzzled looks as a result.
Note: I am not associated with the Whitaker Music Festival, or the Missouri Botanical Gardens and was not asked to write about this event, nor was I compensated in any way. I'm just passing on a fun, family-friendly, and free event! Most pictures linked to slightly larger versions, so click away.