The Great Mississippi Valley Fair

Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds

Wednesday, August 2, through Sunday, August 6


Brooks & Dunn Thoughts of the fair always take me back to high school. True, the Great Mississippi Valley Fair - continuing through August 6 at, appropriately enough, the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds - is meant for everyone, and kids are sure to enjoy the rides, games, and totally nutritious carnival food. But for the older children among us, the fair often brings with it a host of wistful memories, which this year's musical lineup - for me, at least - is sure to rekindle. For instance, captivating chanteuse Miranda Lambert, performing on August 6, has talked about how performing took precedence over her studies when she was in high school - same with me. Country singer Billy Currington, who will also be at the fairgrounds on Sunday, co-wrote the songs "Here I Am," "Why Why Why," and "Whole Lot More," a triad that effectively summarizes my feelings about high school. And as for the Doobie Brothers, playing Friday, August 4 ... well, it certainly wasn't high school, but I'm pretty sure that was the nickname I shared with my best friend in college ... . The fair also features performances by Terri Clark (August 2), Brooks & Dunn (August 3), and Sugarland (August 5), and more information is available at ( - Mike Schulz


The Israeli Cultural Festival

The District of Rock Island

Sunday, August 6, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.


The Ari Ben Moses BandThe Web site for the Ari Ben Moses Band ( proclaims that the group "performs Jewish-oriented lyrics to an original world beat ranging from reggae to Latin rock to the wailing sounds of the Middle East." But if you're concerned that the band may be composed solely of serious-minded aesthetes, fear not; last winter, in Schaumburg, Illinois, they performed at a music festival entitled "Lollapajewza." On Sunday, August 6, the group will be performing at the Israeli Cultural Festival in the District of Rock Island, and while its moniker may not be as whimsical as that of its Schaumburg neighbor, the event promises to be just as spirited. In addition to the Ari Ben Moses Band, this year's festival features numerous vendors selling Israeli goods - including clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics - and delicious ethnic cuisine; there will be children's activities galore; and attendees can visit the event's cultural booth, take part in Israeli dance instruction, and enjoy music-and-dance performances by the young members of the Israeli Scouts. Wonder what a merit badge for the debka would look like. For more information, visit ( - Mike Schulz


The Birds

Lincoln Park

Saturday, August 5, through Sunday, August 13


Aristophanes' "The Birds"I own a book of Aristophanes plays, and included in the collection is the Greek playwright's comedy The Birds, which Genesius Guild will produce August 5 through 13. In preparation for the show, I thought it'd be wise to brush up on the text, even though I knew better than to expect a wholly faithful version at Rock Island's Lincoln Park. As is typical for a Genesius Guild production in August, The Birds will boast a script by Guild founder Don Wooten, who has been known to enjoy a few liberties in his adaptations; his Greek comedies are often sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek references to beloved Quad Cities institutions and, as he displayed in last summer's The Knights, Wooten has been known to cheerfully poke fun at national politicians - Republicans in particular. With that in mind, I picked up my Aristophanes and began reading the Birds introduction by editor Moses Hadas, who wrote that what made the work memorable was "the reception accorded malefactors and public nuisances who plague life on earth." Hmm. Public nuisances? Malefactors? Can't think of any Quad Cities institutions or Republican politicians that might get a razzing here ... . For more information, visit ( - Mike Schulz


The Flamingo Fling Party

Quad City Botanical Center

Friday, August 4, 6 p.m.


"Lady Mingo" by Tricia Coulson You want to know how zany the August 4 Flamingo Fling Party at the Quad City Botanical Center promises to be? There's going to be a performance by the notoriously nutty ComedySportz players that night, and it sounds like they'll be the evening's subdued entertainment. This annual bash - held in the Botanical Center's beautiful outdoor gardens and benefiting the center's art exhibits and educational programs - won't be completely devoid of propriety; in addition to the classy food and beverage options, a live auction will enable guests to bid on several of the stunning, artistically-altered flamingos on display in the center's Flamingo Follies Garden Art Exhibit. But among the evening's highlights will be Hawaiian dancers doing some serious hula-ing, music by The Fry Daddies - whose set promises "good humor, audience participation, and plenty of Jimmy Buffett" - and a Best Dressed Flamingo Guest Contest, where prizes will be awarded for the craziest flamingo-themed garb. If I showed up in drag as Divine, do you think anyone would get it? Tickets are $10 for adults ($8 for Quad City Botanical Center members) and $5 for children 12 and under, and tickets are available by calling the Botanical Center at (309) 794-0991 extension 28. - Mike Schulz


Micah Walk and RIBCO Rock Fest

Rock Island Brewing Company

Thursday, August 3, and Saturday, August 5


Micah WalkTwenty-four-year-old Springfield, Illinois, musician Micah Walk has a style likened to Dave Matthews, Damien Rice, and Ryan Adams, and appears genuinely humbled by his growing fan base. "Right now I just play for me," he told his hometown State-Register Journal last year, and "the fact that people like to listen to me is just really sweet icing on the cake." But the up-and-coming performer, who will perform at RIBCO at 10 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, seems not only humble but humorous; Walk's Web site ( proudly describes his music as running the gamut from "mellow-sad stuff to not-so-sad stuff." And if you're in the mood for some really not-so-sad stuff, be sure to hit RIBCO again on Saturday night, when the venue presents the RIBCO Rock Fest, an all-ages outdoor concert featuring hard-rock performances by local favorites Blind the Sun, Three Years Hollow, Katalina, and Short Cut. The Rock Fest gates open at 8 p.m., with the music lasting until 2 a.m., and more information on both RIBCO evenings is available by visiting ( - Eric Junco

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