Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Back to School Preparation

Back-to-School Festival, SerbFest, free concerts and more

August 1, 2013 | 4 min reading time


Missouri Sales Tax Holiday

The Missouri Department of Revenue recently announced that Missouri's annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday will begin this Friday, Aug. 2 and will run through Sunday, Aug. 4. During this time, the state sales tax will not be assessed on certain purchases, including school supplies, personal computers and some clothing.  Local governments can also participate in the holiday and increase the savings for shoppers during the holiday.  Any person – including those who live outside of the State of Missouri – who makes a qualified purchase may participate in the holiday.  You do not have to be a student or be purchasing for a student to participate.  For more information, visit the website.


Upcoming Events

Aug. 3 – 2013 Back to School Festival, Chaifetz Arena, 9 a.m.

The St. Louis Public School District is once again joining forces with the St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation to present the 2013 St. Louis Public Schools Back to School & Community Empowerment Festival this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton in Midtown.  The festival will feature more than 100 vendor booths providing support services such as:  school registration, free and/or reduced lunch applications, transportation enrollment support, health information and screenings, hair cuts, business licensing fair and more.  Admission to the festival is free, but all in attendance must register.  To avoid the registration lines on Saturday, pre-register online at

Aug. 3 - Sickle Cell Fundraiser, Schnucks City Plaza, 10 a.m.


United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 Sickle Cell Committee, Schnucks Markets, Holten Meats, plus 10 community groups are sponsoring a Bar-B-Que Fundraiser this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Schnucks City Plaza, 3431 Union Boulevard, to raise money for Sickle Cell research, a disease that impacts one in 12 African Americans.  Attendance is free; food items will be for sale.  Questions?  Call (636) 448-2760.

Aug. 3 & 4 – SerbFest 2013, Holy Trinity Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church, 11 a.m.

Holy Trinity Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church will be holding its annual SerbFest this weekend.  Visitors will find authentic Serbian food and desserts for sale, be able to tour the church, and enjoy Serbian music and the Serbian Folklore Dance Ensemble.  The Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.  For additional information, visit the web site.

Aug. 4 -- Free Concert, Carondelet Park, 5:30 p.m.

The Carondelet Community Betterment Foundation will sponsor a free concert in Carondelet Park this Sunday, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Bandstand off Loughborough. Bring your lawn chair, pack a picnic basket and enjoy the musical stylings of "Mystic Voyage."   For a complete list of the concert schedule, visit the web site.

Aug. 6 – National Night Out Celebrations

How will your neighborhood or block be celebrating National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 6?  Below is a glimpse of what will be happening in three of our historic neighborhoods:  Skinker-DeBaliviere, Old North St. Louis, and Southampton.


National Night Out BBQ Concert, Greg Freeman Four Corners Park, 6 p.m.


Neighbors in Skinker-DeBaliviere will spend NNO enjoying the fantastic marimba ensemble from Santa Fe – Polyphony Marimba.  Everyone in St. Louis is invited to stop by Greg Freeman Four Corners Park, located at 6008 Kingsbury Avenue, for the free concert.  BBQ will be available for sale, the proceeds from which will help cover the artists' fees.  Need more information?  Call (314) 862-5122.


Old North Restoration Group, in the garden, 6 p.m.


Neighbors in Old North are invited to bring picnic baskets and chairs, musical instruments, dessert or a side dish and beverages to the garden to celebrate National Night Out.  The event also will include a bonfire, hot dogs, marshmallow roasting, face painting, water balloon toss and more. The garden is located at 2700 N. 13th Street.


Southampton Neighborhood Association, Nottingham & Macklind, 6 p.m.


The Southampton Neighborhood will celebrate from 6 – 9 p.m. at Nottingham and Macklind.  Enjoy free hot dogs and drinks.  Bring a side dish to share.  Mingle, play games and run through the sprinkler.  For more information, visit the web site.


Save the Date

Aug. 9 - Local Social, Central West End, 5 p.m.

Aug. 9 - Food Truck Friday, Tower Grove Park, 5 p.m.

Aug. 9 -- Free Concert, Carondelet Lions Park, 7 p.m.

Aug. 10 & 11 -- 22nd Annual Missouri Black Expo, Chaifetz Arena, 10 a.m.

Aug. 10 - St. Louis Metropolitan Area Amnesty Project, St. Louis Community College @ Forest Park, 7 a.m.

Aug. 10 - 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis 2013 Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, Chaifetz Arena, 7 a.m.

Aug. 10 - S.A.I.L. Foundation Back to School Explosion, Demetrious Johnson Foundation, 9 a.m.

Aug. 10 -- Free Concert, Lafayette Park, 6 p.m.

Aug. 10 -- Volunteer Orientation, Bell Demonstration Garden, 10 a.m.

Aug. 10 -- Old Frenchtown Neighborhood Bicycle Tour, departs from Church of St. Vincent de Paul, 9:30 a.m.

Aug. 12 -- The first day of school for most St. Louis Public School students is Monday, Aug. 12.


Promoting Your Neighborhood Activities

Is there a neighborhood event on the schedule that you would like noted in the Spotlight? If so, you may email the information about it to me at or to Cathy Smentkowski at for consideration. You may also post it on the City's Calendar of Events on the City's web site:  The link to submit an event is on the home page. The listing is free. I encourage you to take advantage of this free way to promote your event.


Register for the Neighborhood Leadership Academy

Each year, the Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) brings together a diverse group of up to 20 current or potential neighborhood leaders for 10 sessions over a four-month period.  Participants are actively involved in their neighborhoods and represent communities from throughout the St. Louis region.  Academy participants may be municipal elected officials, neighborhood association members, community-based organization staff, or resident volunteers.  More than 190 neighborhood and organization leaders from throughout the St. Louis region have participated in the NLA, learning the skills and building the networks necessary to create livable communities.  The Academy costs $400 per person, which includes all instruction, supplies, snacks at evening sessions, continental breakfast at Saturday sessions, and parking.  The upcoming Academy will run from Sept. 5 – Nov. 21 and will take place on the campus of UMSL and at various community sites.  Registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 30.  To learn more, visit the web site or call Jennifer Clemente at (314) 516-5994.


Charlene Deeken

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis

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