Originally Posted Online: April 10, 2013, 9:47 am
Last Updated: April 11, 2013, 1:23 pm

On your feet and out the door: Get ready for an action-packed Q-C weekend

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

Jason Carl and The Whole Damn Band is one of the bands performing Friday night at Rock Island Brewing Company for the Raise the Roof for the Youth benefit for Gilda's Club Quad Cities.
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Photo: Todd Welvaert
The Quad Cities River Bandits are a big part of the rebuilding of the Houston Astros' organization. The Bandits have several key members of the core of players that has Houston's minor-league organization rated No. 9 in baseball.
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Photo: Gary Krambeck
Paul Struck of Bettendorf jumps his mountain bike at the top of a log covered ramp on Sylvan Island as he competes in last year's Sylvan Island Stampede bike races.
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Photo: Gary Krambeck
Maddie Jones 11, left, Angie Jones, Mandy Schaffer and her children Macy Schaffer 4 and Maya Schaffer 1 all of Blue Grass participate in the annual Autism Awareness Walk sponsored by the Autism Society of the Quad Cities at the PepsiCo Center, Augustana College on Saturday morning April 30, 2011.

Finally, it feels like spring -- a chance to open up the windows and circulate some much-needed fresh air into the house, with plenty of opportunities to take a walk outside without first having to bundle up as though you're about to cross an Alaskan tundra.

When I'm not locked in the office or the laundry room this weekend, I hope to get out in the open as much as I can in case Mother Nature rips out the nice-weather rug from underneath me.

Whether you're in the mood to get out and active this weekend, or play it cool inside, there is plenty going on in the Quad-Cities to scratch the itch. Here are just a few events you could hit:

Take me out to the ball game
I thought this time would never come! Baseball season! 

The Quad Cities River Bandits will duke it out with the Peoria Chiefs at their at-home opener this weekend, beginning Thursday evening. If I'm off work in time, perhaps you'll catch me and the husband there. I don't know if we'll be feasting on peanuts and Cracker Jacks, but we definitely will be noshing on hot dogs and rooting for the home team at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport. 

We'll also enjoy the $2 drink specials and snag a free pennant during the opening day giveaway, too.

I haven't caught a River Bandits game in two years, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the park. 

Play ball!

Dancin' the night away
Well, I won't be doing the dancing, but I may just be watching the people who will at the Augustana Dance Company's annual spring performance Friday night at Centennial Hall on Augie's campus in Rock Island.
If you're into dance and have never seen these kids perform, you're definitely in for a treat. The dances are choreographed by company members and include a wide variety of styles including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern and hip-hop.

It is incredible what these talented gals and guys can do. The ballet and pointe performances are truly mesmerizing, and catching the hip-hop, modern and jazz numbers are like having a front row seat at a taping of the "America's Best Dance Crew" TV show. 

Friday's event closes this year's performance season for the group, so you've got to check it out.

Jam for a good cause
I'm all for supporting charity, especially when there's music involved.

After the Dance Company show, head down to Rock Island Brewing Company in Rock Island Friday night and catch three bands while supporting the third annual Raise the Roof for the Youth to benefit Gilda's Club Quad Cities' children's program, Noogieland, which offers fun activities for children and teens who have been affected by cancer.

Esme Haferbier and Randy Leasman, Orangadang! and Jason Carl & the Whole Damn Band will perform at the show for folks ages 21 and older. 

There will be free hors d'oeuvres and beer while they last, too. 

Get your walk on
Roll out of bed and lace up your walkin' shoes for a good cause Saturday morning for the sixth annual Autism Awareness Walk being held at PepsiCo Center at Augustana College in Rock Island.

If I wasn't working Saturday, I'd grab my husband and some friends to walk as a team for the event, held during Autism Awareness Month, which raises funds to benefit the Autism Society of the Quad Cities. There also will be a silent auction -- with items from Modern Woodmen, Quad City Arts and more -- and raffles.

In recent years, the walk has gathered several hundred people, which organizers have chalked up to greater public awareness of autism and more children being diagnosed with the complex developmental disorder. 

Applaud our upstanding citizens 
For the first time since 1973, the 49th Convocation and Investiture of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois will be held in the Quad-Cities Saturday night.

Established by Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner Jr. shortly after the New York World's Fair in 1964, the Order of Lincoln became the state's highest award for individual achievement conferred upon the laureates at the annual convocation.

This year, all six winners of the Order of Lincoln have ties to the Quad-Cities area. They are Brenda Barnes, William Hammer, Dr. Timothy Johnson, Robert Lane, Robert Ontiveros and Chad Pregracke.

Winners are chosen in any of 10 categories -- agriculture, the arts, business, education, government and law, labor, medicine and science, religion, social services and sports.

Augustana College president Steve Bahls and his wife, Jane, representing Augustana College, and Samuel and Marsha Allen, representing Deere & Company, will cohost the awards.  

Stamp it out
Racing through the twists and turns of Sylvan Island on a mountain bike gives you something you simply can't get from riding on the road. Maybe it's the challenge of navigating the terrain, or the chance to get outside and enjoy the trails less traveled. Either way, it's a blast.

This weekend, cyclists from across the region will converge in the Quad-Cities to do exactly that at the ninth annual Sylvan Island Stampede hosted by Friends of Off-Road Cycling.

According to the Friends of Off-Road Cycling's website at qcforc.org, the trails of Sylvan Island are flat but offer many technical features that are unique to an abandoned industrial complex. Expect a variety of surfaces such as sand, brick, concrete, dirt and rock. 

Rain or shine, hundreds of off-road cyclists will hit the paths Sunday morning. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or your bike has training wheels, it matters not -- just get out and ride. 

The Itinerary: April 11-14

-- The Quad Cities River Bandits vs. Peoria Chiefs, 7 p.m. Thursday, Modern Woodmen Park, 209 S. Gaines St., Davenport. $5-$13. (563) 322-6348, riverbandits.com

-- Augustana Dance Company, 8 p.m. Friday, Centennial Hall, Augustana College, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island. $8; students $5, ages 12 and younger, free. 309-794-7306

-- Raise the Roof for the Youth, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Rock Island Brewing Company, 1815 2nd Ave. $20; $15 in advance; $10 for groups of five and up, to benefit Gilda's Club Quad Cities. 563-326-7504, ribco.com

-- Sixth annual Autism Awareness Walk, 8 a.m. Saturday, PepsiCo Center, Augustana College, 1025 30th St., Rock Island. $35; $50 for a family of four. 309-757-2020, autismqc.org

-- The 49th Convocation and Investiture of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, 6 p.m. Saturday, Centennial Hall, Augustana College, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island. 309-794-7721

-- Ninth annual Sylvan Island Stampede, 9 a.m. Sunday, Sylvan Island Park, 1st Avenue and 2nd Street, Moline. $30; $25 in advance. qcforc.org