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It was a beautiful clear day here in St. Louis, so we decided to spend a little of it outside.

As it happens, this weekend is the date of the St. Louis Park Palooza, a festival of all things National Park related. Reinforcing my desire to go to this was the knowledge that some of my photographs would be part of the Mississippi River Trail organization's static display.

We took the Metro train to the Arch/Laclede's Landing station and walked out into the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial park. An awkward name I think for what is essentially the St. Louis Gateway Arch grounds and museum.

We arrived at about 1 p.m., and the first thing that was clear was that there were not very many people at the festival. Something I was happy about personally, but was perhaps a bit disappointing for the organizers. Well, it was not particularly thoroughly promoted as far as I could judge, so I was not that surprised.

Plenty to see though, including this sand artist recreating the Mount Rushmore sculpture.

Another exhibit gave the vistors a little chance to be artistic. You could add a little dab to a landscape painting in process, so my wife did exactly that. She then signed her name on the back of the canvas. Most satisfactory

We walked on, and looking down the steps leading from the river to the arch, I could see the blue Mississippi River Trail display laid out on the sidewalk below. We walked on down, curious now to see what we might find.

While my wife looked at and eventually bought a book of cycling trails by the Mississippi, I wandered around and came across Justus McLarty, who had built his own houseboat and then taken down the length of the Mississippi. A charming gentleman.

After a brief conversation, I wandered across the road and, to my great pleasure, found my photographs included in a display panel.

That tickled me no end.

We made our way back up to the steps to look at some of the other exhibits.

There were a good number from local wildlife organizations. A bird group had three tethered birds of prey on display.

Looking a little put out, an owl and a couple of eagles glared at the audience.

Very beautiful. My wife and son moved towards one and were shooed away by a park ranger. Not tame beasts at all.

Close to the birds, a rather magnificent Civil War cannon was laid out, pointing towards the Arch.

A number of Civil War enthusiasts in Union uniforms were encamped around it. One scooped up at group of little children plus my wife and son for a little drill practice.

He led the troop around in a march, all looking very Dad's Army. 😆

You can see the muster in the background behind the cannon in the above photograph.

Elsewhere, there was a different sort of fun, but that was not for us.

Finishing the day with a bratwurst, hotdog, chips, homemade lemonade, and Ted Drewes ice cream made a delightful afternoon out perfect.

I ended the visit with another stroll down to the riverbank to see the gorgeous New Orleans paddleboat moored close by.

I love those paddles.