Events from blitz to walk

Howard Balzer performs in the 2010 Broadway Fantasies show.


CALLING ALL QUILTERS and everyone who cares about young girls. The Covering House, a place of refuge and restoration for girls 6 to 18 who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking in St. Louis, is sponsoring a “Quilt Blitz”. Their goal is to create 18 handmade log cabin patterned quilts for the girls who will stay at the new Covering House. The quilts are to be made by teams of 4 to 5 people who will design and stitch from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the IBEW Hall, 5850 Elizabeth Avenue, 63110. Central Reform Congregation and First Unitarian Church of St. Louis and members of many faith organizations are planning the blitz. “No quilting experience is necessary as experienced quilters will be on hand to teach,” said Jen Bersdale, co-chair of the Blitz and staff member of CRC. While organizers are hoping for teams to volunteer, they can also group individual volunteers. Other help needed includes collecting fabric and thread, providing or soliciting event refreshments, collecting raffle items and recruiting participants. To join the quilters call Bersdale at CRC, 314-361-1564.


LIFT FOR LIFE ACADEMY, the first independent Charter School established in the city of St. Louis, will hold its annual evening of fashion and festivity to benefit its students. The event will be held at 6 p.m.  Saturday, May 12 at Lift for Life Academy, 1731 South Broadway. A New York runway-style fashion show featuring creations by Lift for Life Academy students and coordinated by their teacher, Laura Kathleen Planck, will highlight the evening. In addition there will be a champagne reception, a festive feast prepared by Chef Kenny Hayden, an auction and live music by “Just in Time.” 

Founded in 2000 by Marshall Cohen (one of the Light’s “Unsung Heroes” this year, by the way, which takes place May 24, see ad on page 16), Lift for Life Academy is a shining light in the Charter School system. On May 15 it graduates its first class of 69 students out of a class of 74. Tickets are $85 for the evening. Call 314-231-2337 for information. 


BROADWAY FANTASIES, for its 23rd year of theatre productions, will present “Your Hit Parade,” songs and dances from the Tin Pan Alley era of the 1930s to the rock and roll styles of the ’60s and ’70s. This year’s Broadway Fantasies lights up the stage on Saturday, June 2 at 4 p.m., Sunday, June 3 at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 9 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m. at John F. Kennedy High School, 500 Woods Mill Road in Manchester. The casts consist of talented performers who entertain for the love of music and charity and who have raised more than $100,000 to benefit local charities that support independence and quality of life for older adults. For tickets at $17, visit [email protected] or call 314-615-4041.


GYPSY CARAVAN, the Saint Louis Symphony Volunteer Association’s annual antique, craft and flea market, celebrates its 40th year with more than 300 vendors from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. What is new this year is that for the first time in its long history, the chairs of the event are a husband and wife team, Susan and Robert Hoffman. The Hoffmans are longtime members of United Hebrew, where Susan has taught preschool for more than 20 years. Over the years, the Gypsy Caravan sales have raised more than $3.4 million in support of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s education and community programs. Gypsy Caravan will take place on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where you will find ample parking, with a shuttle bus available—and the campus has a MetroLink station near where the sale takes place. Admission to the sale costs $10 the day of the event ($8.50 if you purchase tickets by May 19 online at the address below, by phone at 314-534-1700 or at the Powell Hall Box Office). For more information, visit, email [email protected] or call 314-286-4452.


SUZY ESSTMAN’S WALK ON SUNSHINE, sponsored by St. Louis Chapter Hadassah, will be held on Sunday, June 3 at Queeny Park with registration at 9:30 and the walk at 10 a.m. This event was the idea of Esstman who was suffering with an inoperable brain tumor and wanted to raise awareness and research funds for the disease. Sadly, Esstman passed away in 2007.  Since then, however, new protocols and diagnostic tools have been developed using the proceeds from the first six walks. Diane Maier, co-founder of the walk, explained that it is a way to make a lot of noise about the subject of brain tumors and to have a lot of “big fun”, one of Suzy’s favorite expressions. To add to the fun of Walk on Sunshine there will be complimentary scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, live music, donated prizes and a jewelry bazaar.  Information about the walk may be found at or by calling 314-991-0434.


IF MEMORY SERVES, the first trivia night I ever wrote about was Ready Readers’ event, 10 years ago (time flies when you’re having fun!). On Friday, May 18 at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road, Ready Readers is again welcoming all you trivia fans to this year’s event. I am told that this is a very popular trivia night and sold out for the past two years. To sign up, for questions or more information, call 314-564-8070.