Local food pantries will get a boost next weekend with the 11th annual tractor cruise.
Tractors will hit the road Sunday, Sept. 9, for the 30-mile cruise through Franklin County. The cruise will start in St. Clair and end up at the KC Hall in Washington.
The event is organized by the Knights of Columbus councils in Washington, Union, New Haven, Villa Ridge, St. Clair and Krakow.
John Jasper, event organizer, said the tractors are being prepared for the event. Once that’s done the only thing left to do is hope for good weather, he said.
Jasper pointed out that the event will happen rain or shine, but he would prefer shine. So far in the 10 years of the event weather has not been an issue, he said.
The cruise will be similar to previous years with one big exception. Jasper said this year the organizers are trying something new to hopefully ease traffic congestion for other drivers.
The cruise requires tractors to travel at least 10 mph. With more than 150 tractors in the fold, intersections can be blocked by a line of tractors for 20 minutes, Jasper said.
To alleviate some issues, Jasper said this year they’re going to send tractors across intersections in tandems. The goal is that cars waiting to cross won’t have to wait as long.
Otherwise, Jasper said, the cruise should be the same one that has been successful for 10 years. Once again he said service vehicles will be collecting canned goods, nonperishable food items or cash donations along the route.
The food collected helps pantries stock shelves immediately. Jasper said all the donations will be dropped off at local pantries that day.
To preregister or for sponsorship information, people may call Jasper, 314-581-6968. Jasper requested that drivers preregister to make the day run smoothly.
As it has in years past, the 2018 version of the cruise will kick off with a blessing of the fleet ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at Ozark Die Casting on Lofting Drive in St. Clair.
Following the blessing, tractors will be staged and should begin taking off from St. Clair at 10:45 a.m.
The tractors will arrive in Union a little after noon, where they will break for about 30 minutes. The cruise through Union is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m.
The tractors will start their cruise through Washington at about 1:45 p.m.
The final stop will be at the Washington Knights of Columbus grounds, scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
From 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. a tractor show and barbecue are scheduled at the Washington KC Hall. A kids pedal tractor pull, food and tractors will be on site.
Donations also will be accepted on site.
The parade begins at Ozark Die Casting and will turn onto Route TT. The tractors will proceed on Commercial Avenue, Main Street, Springfield Avenue, Gravois Road, Highway 30 overpass of Interstate 44, North Service Road, Highway AB and Happy Sac Road.
The route then follows Route AD, North Bend Road, Clearview Road and Highway 50 West. Tractors will stop at the Union Knights of Columbus Hall until about 12:30 p.m.
From there, the tractors will head west to Independence, then travel on Old Highway 50 to West Main Street. Tractors will take a right on West Main back toward Independence then head north to West Park Road. Tractors will circle around the Sunset Health Care Center then head back to Park Street toward North Washington Avenue.
Tractors will travel on North Washington Ave. to Independence, then cross over Highway 47 and head to Highway V, Clearview Road, Bethlehem Church Road, North Goodes Mill Road to South Point Road.
The tractors will then travel on Highway 100 to West Fifth Street, right on Cedar Street, left on Main Street, right on Olive Street., to Front Street, and take Tiemann Drive to North Park Drive, Grand Avenue, Fifth Street, and will follow Clay Street back to the KC Hall in Washington, where the route ends.