ST. LOUIS – After a hiatus during the pandemic, Fair Saint Louis is returning Saturday for the start a three-day celebration over the Fourth of July weekend.
Saturday’s rain didn’t stop thousands from visiting downtown St. Louis. The 139th America’s Birthday Parade marked the return of a full Fair Saint Louis.
The parade kicked off around 10 a.m. on Market Street. It had everything from floats to giant inflatables including a massive birthday cake.
Lisa McCoy and her family drove 5.5 hours from Indiana to watch the parade. They say, prior to the pandemic, they have traveled several times and have made it a family trip.
“The parade is awesome. Our parade at home is fire trucks and garbage trucks, ambulances, and you guys have floats and it’s just worth the drive,” said Lisa McCoy.
Candy Perry from East St. Louis brought her five kids.
“So far, my kids are enjoying it,” said Perry. “They’re having an amazing time. I’m enjoying it, so I guess it’s a win-win situation for us,” said Candy.
We asked Candy’s young daughter, India, what her favorite part was about the parade. She told us, “When the cheerleaders come down.”
The parade was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. However, it took place last year with social distancing and other pandemic precautions.
Organizers call the parade their gift to St. Louis. The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Let Freedom Ring.’
“We need to come together. It’s tough times in this country,” explained parade spokesperson Ed Mayuga.
The 41st Fair Saint Louis took over after the parade ended. There hasn’t been a Fair Saint Louis since 2019, so this year’s fair is certainly something to celebrate.
This year, there are no events at the Archgrounds. Instead, everything is planned at Ballpark Village and Kiener Plaza.
The General Chairman of the Fair Tim Meers say the move was COVID-19 driven. Meers tells us, when officials were planning for the fair early last fall, they weren’t sure that they could get a permit to hold the event at the Archgrounds because of COVID-19 restrictions there at the time.
“The federal rules were different than the city rules, and so the federal restrictions were much more stringent as of fall 2021 and that really drove our decision,” said Meers.
He added, “Crowds want to be outdoors, they want to do things. And the fact that we’ve got this great musical festival with great food and something for everybody, we’re expecting great crowds.”
For more information on this weekend’s festvities, visit fairsaintlouis.org.