St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce

As preparation for the fifth annual St. Clair Main Street Festival hits the home stretch, organizer Lori Gratzer said she is confident that this year’s event will be the best ever.

The festival is scheduled from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a two-hour street dance to follow.

“I’m more excited than ever this year,” Gratzer told The Missourian. “As we’ve gotten more established over time, I’m also more relaxed about it.”

Gratzer is the chairman of the Merchants Committee, which is an arm of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce. The two groups merged last year.

Again in 2013, the event will be split. A children and family area will be located on the south side of Main Street from East Springfield Road to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks. A more adult-oriented area will be from the tracks along North Main Street to Kitchell Avenue.

But, Gratzer said, both sections will offer plenty to do.

“The reputation is getting out there that this is a good event,” she said. “We use this as an opportunity for businesses to be able to get out there and market to a large crowd as well as offer people in St. Clair and the surrounding area a great community-focused event.

“We do both of those things through this festival.”

Gratzer said that has been her intent since the event’s inception.

“That’s why the Merchants Committee was started in the first place,” she said. “We wanted to have something that benefited both the community and our local businesses.

New this year will be a washer tournament and a wine garden in the adult area. In the children-family section, bubble-blowing and Hula-Hoop contests are scheduled.

Also, two bands will play on the adult end of Main Street. Victims of Circumstance, which performed at the Chamber’s annual Celebrate St. Clair banquet in March, will start the live music during the afternoon and also will provide deejay service. Sinners N Saints will perform from 7 to 11 p.m.

“They’re both great bands,” Gratzer said.

Food vendors will be set up along North Main Street as will most of the other vendors. Some games will be set up on that end.

On the children’s side, an expanded variety of games for younger people, bounce houses, a barrel train ride and a petting zoo will be available. Family-oriented music will be playing in that area, too. Dance demonstrations also will take place.

Admission to the festival is free. A booklet will be passed out to attendees showing a booth and activity map of Main Street, times for specific events and contests, and vendor promotions, coupons and discounted deals.

“There will be something for everyone,” Gratzer said.

Gratzer has been assisted this year by Lorrie Mahan of Mobil Gas Mart and Julie Julie Dickinson of Aaron’s Sales & Leasing of Cuba.

Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from East Springfield Road to Kitchell Avenue starting at noon on Sept. 21 to allow for vendor and event setup. At about 9 p.m., the street will open south from North Street to East Springfield. North Street to Kitchell Avenue will remain closed until after 11 p.m. for the street dance and cleanup.

Vendors, volunteers and sponsors still are being accepted. For more information, contact Gratzer at 314-581-0179 or the St. Clair Chamber at 636-629-6000, extension 3.