Fair St. Louis: Family fun and fireworks

News-DemocratJuly 3, 2013 

You woke up this morning feeling patriotic, and you want to celebrate America's birthday with tens of thousands of other flag-wavers.

You're in luck. Throw on your red, white and blue and head to downtown St. Louis for the 136th Annual Veiled Prophet Parade and Fair St. Louis.

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. (a half hour earlier than in recent years) at 14th and Olive and follows a new route, going east on Olive, north on Tucker, east on Washington, south on Fourth and west on Market before ending at City Garden.

"We are very excited to have Washington Avenue on this year's route," said spokesman Jason Flower. "It shows off the revitalization of downtown St. Louis, and it's a great place for spectators to view the parade and visit their favorite establishments."

The parade theme is "It's About Time," which guided planning on 17 elaborate, custom-built floats and other units. One called "Time Warp" will feature performers doing the classic dance from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Twelve marching bands will play patriotic and popular music, including those from high schools in East St. Louis, Alton, Collinsville, Belleville East, O'Fallon and Mater Dei.

Two of five helium balloons will remind people that it's Fourth of July: A giant Uncle Sam and an American bald eagle wrapped in a flag.

Two Tuskegee Airmen, retired Lt. Col. George Hardy and retired Maj. George M. Boyd, will lead the parade as honorary grand marshals.

"They served our country at a time when (black soldiers) weren't recognized," Flower said. "They certainly symbolize the equality and independence this holiday is all about."

Fair St. Louis kicks off at noon today through Saturday under the Gateway Arch and ends with fireworks over the Mississippi River after music ends on the main stage.

Headliners are country singer Trace Adkins tonight, rocker Bret Michaels on Friday and the pop/rock band Counting Crows on Saturday. The fair's Culture Stage and Kids Zone also will host music, dance and other entertainment.

"This is the second time we've had the Counting Crows (the first was in 2009), and they were a terrific draw," said Bob Ciapciak, fair chairman. "So I'm optimistic that we will have a good crowd.

"Both Trace Adkins and Bret Michaels were on ('All-Star Celebrity Apprentice') recently, and Trace Adkins actually won. So I think that will bring people out, and, of course, they're great musicians."

This year's Culture Stage will promote folk arts ranging from fiddling to jazz, Cajun music to steel drum and blues to swing, as well as Native American and South Indian dance and Celtic storytelling.

Ciapciak suggests people take time to check out "Rise Above," a traveling exhibit with a 30-minute film about the Tuskegee Airmen. It will be shown on a curved, panoramic screen in a portable 35-seat theater along Memorial Drive.

Ciapciak also raved about the lineup for the fair's five air shows. It includes Chuck Aaron, one of only three pilots in the country with a license to perform acrobatic stunts in a helicopter.

"We have the top air show in the country this year," Ciapciak said. "Unfortunately, because of the sequester, we won't have any military aircraft. But we have the very best (stunt pilots in) private aircraft."

Fair St. Louis admission is free. Outside food and drink is prohibited, except for one non-glass bottle of a nonalcoholic beverage per person. Blankets or lawn chairs are welcome.

At a glance

What: Fair St. Louis

When: Noon until after fireworks today, Friday and Saturday

Where: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (under the Gateway Arch)

Music headliners: Trace Adkins tonight, Bret Michaels on Friday and the Counting Crows on Saturday

Air shows: Noon and 4 p.m. today and Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday

Fireworks: After dark, when music ends

Admission: Free

Bring: Blankets and lawn chairs

Don't bring: Food or drink, except for one non-glass bottle of a non-alcoholic beverage per person

Information: Visit www.fairstlouis.org, email info@celebratestlouis.org or call 314-434-3434

TODAY

7 a.m. -- Freedom 4 Miler race

8:30 a.m. -- Family Fun Run

9:30 a.m. -- 136th Annual Veiled Prophet Parade

Noon -- Air Show

1:15 p.m. -- Missouri Fiddle Masters

2 p.m. -- Music by Borderline

2 p.m. -- The Muny Kids

2:15 p.m. -- Mythili Prakash Dance Ensemble (South Indian classical)

2:30 p.m. -- Motion Magic by St. Louis Science Center

3:15 p.m. -- Music by Queens Boulevard

3:15 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

3:15 p.m. -- Hot Club of Cowtown (Western swing and hot jazz)

4 p.m. -- Air Show

4:15 p.m. -- Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy (blues)

5:15 p.m. -- Cellicion Traditional Zuni Dancers (Native American)

6 p.m. -- Ashleyliane Dance Company

6:15 p.m. -- Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano (Mexican mariachi)

6:30 p.m. -- Music by John Henry

6:45 p.m. -- National Blues Museum presentation by Matthew Lesch

7:15 p.m. -- BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (Cajun)

7:30 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

8 p.m. -- Trace Adkins

After music -- Fireworks

FRIDAY

Noon -- Air Show

1 p.m. -- Art of Bellydance

2 p.m. -- Music by Steven Woolley

2 p.m. -- YMCA Zumba Dancing

2 p.m. -- Pik'n Lik'

2:30 p.m. -- "H2WHOA!" by St. Louis Science Center

2:30 p.m. -- Dread Scott Foundation presentation

3 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

3:15 p.m. -- Music by Clockwork

3:15 p.m. -- Celtic Folklore storytelling

3:30 p.m. -- National Blues Museum presentation by Celia

4 p.m. -- Air Show

6 p.m. -- Celtic Folklore storytelling by Daniel Romano

6 p.m. -- Steel Drum Flavor

6:30 p.m. -- Music by the Righteous Hillbillies

6:45 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

7 p.m. -- Salute to the Troops

7 p.m. -- Lonesome Threesome

7:30 p.m. -- National Blues Museum presentation by Bottoms Up Blues Gang and St. Louis Hoop Club

8 p.m. -- Bret Michaels

After music -- Fireworks

SATURDAY

Noon -- Arrive Dance Company

12:15 p.m. -- Music by Unifyah

1 p.m. -- Corazones Mexicanos

1:15 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

1:45 p.m. -- Music by Scarlet Tanager

2 p.m. -- Creep Chemistry by St. Louis Science Center

3 p.m. -- Ukulele Fight Club

3:15 p.m. -- Music by Jungle Fire

3:15 p.m. -- Doppler FX kids bands

4 p.m. -- National Blues Museum presentation by The Mumbles and St. Louis Hoop Club

4 p.m. -- Barb Soetebier

4:30 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

5 p.m. -- Air Show

6 p.m. -- Almas de Ritmo

6:45 p.m. -- Music by Magnolia Summer

6:45 p.m. -- Performance Dog Team

7 p.m. -- Cabaret Teens

7 p.m. -- Art of Bellydance

8 p.m. -- The Counting Crows

After music -- Fireworks

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