Downtown St. Louis is set for several days of festivities as the 32nd annual Fair St. Louis returns this Wednesday.

The Fair will kick off with the inaugural “Freedom 4 Miler” run (7 a.m.) and one mile Family Fun Run (8:30 a.m.) hosted by the St. Louis Sports Commission. Both events begin and end at Soldiers Memorial.

At 10 a.m., the 135th annual Veiled Prophet’s “Parade Around the World” steps off at Fourth and Washington. At the conclusion of the parade, (approximately noon), the Experimental Aircraft Association’s World War II B-17 bomber, Aluminum Overcast, will be joined by the AeroShell Aerobatic Team to kick off the first of two air shows.

Immediately following the flyover, the U.S. Army “Golden Knights” parachute team will jump onto the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

There will be two airshows on Wednesday (noon-2:30 and 3:30-5:15); there will be no air shows on Friday, July 6, or Saturday, July 7.

The Fourth of July air shows will also feature a crowd favorite, the Harrier Jump Jet; Fair St. Louis is one of only 12 air shows in 2012 where this plane will appear.

Another special appearance will include a Heritage Flight featuring a vintage North American P-51 (Mustang) from World War II and an A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog). The Fair will also feature some of the most popular civilian performers.

Musical Entertainment

Heart will perform at 8 p.m. on July 4; opening at 6 p.m. is the rock ’n’ roll band The Dirty Guv’nahs

Third Eye Blind will perform at 8 on July 6; opening at 6 p.m. is Fair St. Louis music video contest grand prize winner, John Gurney

Dierks Bentley will perform at 8 p.m. on July 7; opening at 6 p.m. is rising country star Colt Ford.

Salute to the Troops

The Fair will once again host a “Salute to the Troops” ceremony to welcome home members of the 1138th Transportation Company from the Missouri Army National Guard.

The Fair also will welcome the Sea to Shining Sea Bicycle Ride, a group of 16 wounded warriors riding 3,698 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean paying homage to the military and the American spirit.

Participating veterans of this year’s ride live with disabilities ranging from loss of limbs to blindness to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Other Activities

The inaugural Interactive Zone and Toyota Creation Station will provide interactive games, contests and fun for all ages.

The Cultural Stage will feature performances that highlight the region’s cultural diversity.

There will be educational activities from The Magic House, The St. Louis Science Center, National Park Service and more.

Over 30 booths will offer food and beverages.

Know Before You Go

Everyone attending Fair St. Louis will need to pass through one of six security stations to gain access to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

People will be allowed to bring individual plastic water bottles as long as security personnel can ensure they do not contain alcohol. No coolers or large liquid containers will be allowed. Glass bottles, aluminum bottles/cans and alcohol are prohibited.

Existing water fountains and a multi-port drinking water station provided by the city of St. Louis will be available.

The Fair St. Louis website,, includes information on parking locations, street closures and other tips to make your trip to/from the Fair as smooth as possible.