DOWNTOWN – Thousands of St. Louisans flocked to Gateway Arch National Park as Fair St. Louis kicks into a days-long celebration of what organizers have dubbed “America’s Biggest Birthday Party.”
Live entertainment, endless food options, free family fun and explosive fireworks are all a part of the four-day Independence Day party.
St. Louisans are readjusting to the fair being back where it belongs, beneath the Gateway Arch. This is the second year back downtown after a forced relocation to Forest Park during the reconstruction of the Arch grounds. The Arch stands tall as the perfect backdrop once again for this year’s festivities.
Fair St. Louis, which was begun to showcase the pride and spirit of the people in the Show-Me state, has something unique for any age group.
A favorite among fairgoers is the one-of-a-kind Boeing Airshow, with five different performances. Included in those performances are skydivers, aerial acrobatics, chilling stunts and several planes zipping through the sky at fleeting speeds.
The Festival Zone offers a variety of engaging games and hands-on activities. And the Interactive Zone showcases local, regional and national brands, giving them the chance to display their products for visitors to see.
On the Fourth, country singers Brett Young and Randy Houser were the featured entertainment.
To top it off, a massive fireworks display wowed the crowd, as the last event of the night.
Many St. Louisans say attending the fair each year is a tradition they just can’t skip.
James Sherell, a lifelong resident, says the fair brings people from all walks of life together for a weekend of entertainment.
“Fair St. Louis is a magnet that brings the different communities, the different ethnic and biographical people together for an event that has … no demands and no pressure,” Sherell said. “It’s just to be here and enjoy the environment, the weather and the camaraderie of the community.”
Jay Johnson, an intern for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, has been living in the city for five years. While working a booth at the fair, Johnson’s specific goal was to educate children and adults on the importance of using first-aid kits. But she also appreciates that the fair gives people a chance to come together to celebrate Independence Day.
“I actually come to this every year,” she said. “The St. Louis fair, in my opinion, brings a nice sense of unity to the people of St. Louis. We can all come up here and have a fun, safe time.”
“We can eat some good food … and also enjoy the nice, live free music,” Johnson went on to say.
The party that is Fair St. Louis will continue throughout the weekend; performing Friday evening are R&B sensations Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat.
Saturday’s entertainment line-up includes Fire For Effect, Rubi, and Vertical Horizon, with The Flaming Lips serving as the headliner.
The city of St. Louis expects to see close to 300,000 visitors, thanks to the festival.
For everything you need to know, including parking, directions, events and performances, download the official Fair St. Louis app to your mobile device.