So, you’re looking for something different to do this weekend? Well, you’re in luck, because you’ve just hit the performing arts jackpot with the third annual St. Lou Fringe Festival.

The five-day extravaganza, now in its third year, gets underway on Wednesday, June 18 with a five-hour “Kickoff Party” from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Strauss Park, aka “Fringe Station Central,” at 3534 Washington. The “Fringe Tease” features live music, refreshments and 60-second ‘sneak peeks’ at all 35 shows on this year’s calendar.

Em Piro, Fringe founder and indefatigable executive director of the frolic-filled funfest, and her tireless staff have brought nearly three dozen performance companies, both solo and group acts, to six venues in and around Grand Center for more than 100 performances in nearly 50 hours of presentations from Thursday, June 19 through Sunday, June 22.

Genres ranging from traditional theater and cabaret to improv comedy and burlesque, performance art and even puppetry are showcased throughout the weekend at half a dozen spaces within walking distance of each other. They are the Kranzberg Black Box and Kranzberg Studio at 501 North Grand (in the Big Brothers Big Sisters building a half block south of The Fox), Duet at 3526 Washington, The Stage at KDHX at 3526 Washington, The Bob at FUBAR & Patron Lounge at 3108 Locust and ANNONYarts at Satori at 3003 Locust.

The St. Lou Fringe Festival is partnering with artists, producers and businesses from throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area to showcase both ticketed and free performing arts for the faithful and the curious during the festival’s 2014 event. All six venues will have shows during the evening on Thursday and Friday and all day and night on Saturday and Sunday.

Each ticketed performance requires a $5 Fringe badge in addition to the cost of the show. Several promotional packages are available for ticketed presentations. On the Strauss Park stage, Fringe has assembled more offerings than its first two years at Fringe Central Station, working with organizations such as Circus Flora and the St. Louis Science Center to bring free and innovative programming, including music, magic and pop-up theater, to children and families.

Honored with a special award for “unique contribution to theater” at the 2014 St. Louis Theater Circle Awards last March, the St. Lou Fringe had three times as many groups submit their acts for consideration in the 2014 edition of the festival. Acts from out of town comprise 10 of the 35 individual productions, including Core Project, Daniel Shar, Tapman Productions and The Spotty Truth from Chicago, Erin Renee Roberts and Siobhan O’Loughlin from Brooklyn, The Four Fronts from Nashville, Minion Productions from Seattle, Jim Julien from Asheville, NC and Salt House Collective from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Area groups participating in the festival are:

• 4-D Productions

• Act Two Theatre

• Anthony Wininger

• Christopher Limber

• Cranky Yellow

• Creepy Basement Players

• Encore Theater Group

• 1900 Park

• First Time Puppet Theater

• Grand High Productions

• John Clark

• Karlovsky and Company Dance

• Leverage Dance Theater

• Melissa Gerth

• Michael Hagmeier & Illumine Ensemble

• Not Quite Right

• The Randy Dandies

• Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble

• St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

• Tara Schneider

• Tesseract Theatre Company

• Theatre Salvo

• Tracy Bono

• “World’s Greatest” Comedians.

The St. Lou Fringe Festival is based on an internationally successful model of connecting cutting-edge performing arts with accessible, affordable performances for audiences. The Summer 2014 edition of The Ghostlight, the Fringe’s new publication, has information about all of the artists and productions. For all ticketing and artist information, please visit or ‘like’ the St. Lou Fringe on Facebook.