One of the community’s newest street fairs is returning this month, bringing some 60 artists back to Madison Street for the third annual Arts Fest. Creative pieces in familiar genres such as photography, ceramics and paint are the backbone of this two-day event and, meanwhile, a local church is hoping to tap into this inspired audience.

Paul Schlichting, a parishioner of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, is co-hosting a series of free tours through the Byzantine-Romanesque structure at 305 Circle. For several months, congregation members have been busy researching historical details of their church in the hopes of piggy-backing on the art festival’s popularity. The tours are not intended to be a recruiting tool, according to Schlichting. It is simply an opportunity to showcase one of the village’s more impressive structures, he said.

“It’s been a long process, but a lot of fun,” Schlichting said of the research.

The church’s design in and of itself is unusual for Lutheran congregations, and tour guides will offer a brief overview of the stories and influences that led to its construction. Inside is a sprawling, massive organ with more than 3,300 pipes that many consider to be St. John’s most important asset. The Italian marble altar is also unique, said Schlichting, and an intricate, German bronze piece directly behind the altar almost never made it to the U.S.

The church tour is being held independently of Arts Fest, which is sponsored by the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development.

Roz Long, founder and producer of the festival, said this year’s festival will also include a community mural project for children on Saturday morning. Paint supplies and collage materials will be provided.

Additionally, on Friday evening until 9, more than a dozen local merchants will open their doors as part of a smaller exposition meant to highlight local talents in Forest Park. The public is invited to mingle alongside festival artists in storefronts between the 7200 and 7500 blocks of Madison.

If you go

3rd Annual Forest Park Arts Fest


Madison Street and Constitution Court


11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27

(Arts on Madison held Friday, Sept. 25 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit for participating stores.)

Tours of St. John church

Where: 305 Circle Ave.


Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.