Fair St. Louis’s return to the Arch grounds, has businesses on Laclede’s Landing hopeful

ST. LOUIS – The news that Fair St. Louis is returning to the grounds of the Gateway Arch came as a pleasant surprise to the president of Laclede’s Landing.

“I honestly thought it would take another year,” said John Clark.

He said businesses have taken a hit during the construction work related to riverfront renovations.  Clark said the return of Fair St. Louis to downtown will at least double Laclede’s Landing business during the 4th of July celebration.

“It’s like remodeling your house.  It’s messy. It’s expensive and you know there’s a certain amount of wear and tear,” Clark said.

He believes the worst is over and is eagerly anticipating an increase in foot-traffic along the historic entertainment district.  He’s also excited about this weekend being one of the Landing’s busiest weekends of the year.  The Big Muddy Blues Festival kicks off Friday and will attract thousands of visitors to Laclede’s Landing.

“This weekend event is the best,” said Morgan Street Brewery Owner Steve Owings.  His business has been on the landing since the Big Muddy Blues Festival began in 1995.

“I feel good,” said Owings.  “We’re finally getting beyond some of the construction that’s happened.”

Clark believes a completed Gateway Arch Grounds park bordering the south end of Laclede’s Landing will also bring more visitors to the landing.  The park resulted in a parking lot being eliminated but has already hosted a few events including a beer tasting.

“It’s turned into an active park versus a much more of a passive park,” said Clark.

He said part of next year’s Big Muddy Blues Festival could be held in that park and expects more and more events to be held in that space in the future.