DINNER & A SHOW: Springtime in Augusta

Do you feel it? The warm sun is starting to shine down at long last. Just as we all emerge from our homes and stretch our arms, tree limbs lift to show off their buds and new leaves. The Missouri landscape is filled with color and life once again, which lures artists to capture our state’s natural beauty.

From now through Sat., April 27, take in the sights of Augusta, Mo., with a day trip out to the 11th annual Plein Air Art Festival. For art lovers, this is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the artists who create their work in the Plein Air (outdoors) tradition. When artists work in this way, they strive to capture the nuances of natural light in their paintings.

A truly experiential event during the festival will take place on Sat., April 20, at Noboleis Vineyards when they host the Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Launch. The winery will host two hot air balloons that will take visitors above the vineyards in the early morning from 6 to 8am. After you get your feet back on the ground, stick around for a day of fun at the winery working your way through the Tasting Room and grabbing a bite for lunch in the café. Reservations are recommended. Rides begin at 6am and end at 8am. A tethered ride (8 minutes) is $30 per person; a full balloon ride (1½ hours) is $249 per person.

On Sat., April 26, Mount Pleasant Estates will host the 11th Annual Plein Air Dinner & Concert. The three-course dinner will feature wine from Mount Pleasant and a live performance by the St. Charles Symphony String Quartet. Guests will mix and mingle with the artists, have a first look at the one-of-a-kind pieces they created during the festival, and will have the opportunity to buy before the “final sale” on Saturday. Reservations are required and tickets are $65 per person. The evening begins with cocktails at 6pm.

Mount Pleasant Estates, 5634 High Street, Augusta, Mo., 636.482.WINE, mountpleasant.com

Noboleis Vineyards, 100 Hemsath Road, Augusta, 636.482.4500, noboleisvineyards.com

11th Annual Plein Air Art Festival, now through Sat., April 27, Augusta, Mo., visitmo.com/plein-air-art-festival-2013.aspx

Every Thursday, Amy Burdge recommends a restaurant to attend before a local cultural event for a great night out. Missed one of her Dinner & A Show columns? Get them all here. Outside of FEAST, Burdge writes Eat It, St. Louis!, a blog dedicated to the pure love of food, the artistry and passion of those who create it and the sheer experience it provides.


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