It's in the Cards

As it decides which way to go, children and adults cheer on a gerbil during a round of mouse roulette Saturday during the Main Street Festival in downtown St. Clair. Whichever card the critter touched first would win a cash prize for the person who drew the corresponding card from a different deck.

Thousands of individuals took advantage of perfect weather conditions Saturday by spending some quality time outdoors in St. Clair at the fourth annual Main Street Festival.

Several new events helped attract people to the downtown area as did 79 different booths ranging from games to food to products.

“I thought it was a great day,” said festival organizer Lori Gratzer, chairman of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce’s Merchants Committee. “I’m pretty happy with how the day went. The weather was outstanding, and that helped make the day outstanding.”

Gratzer said she especially was happy with Rampage, the local band that entertained the crowd from 7 to 11 p.m., including during the street dance over the last two hours that brought the event to a close. Several hundred people stayed for the dance, she said.

Gratzer also said the performances by dancers from Michelle’s School of Dance and the Dance Zone seemed to be a big hit.

“Rampage was a slam dunk,” she said. “I think everyone enjoyed their music, and a lot of people stuck around until the end. I also loved the dance performances from the two groups. A lot of people seemed to be attracted to those.”

Another new event this year was mouse races, which brought a sizeable crowd.

“Those were fun,” Gratzer said. “But I think we need to find a better location for them next year so more people could attend.”

The mouse races took place in the city parking lot across the street from Lewis Cafe. Rampage played in the parking lot near the caboose. Dance performances were in front of Farmers & Merchants Bank as well as near the caboose.

Gratzer said the intent of the festival is to provide a fun day for attendees while also promoting local businesses and organizations. Crowd estimates were between 2,000 and 3,000 from 2 to 11 p.m.

“We offered something for everyone,” she said. “It seemed like everyone had a successful day.”

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks split the festival into a children’s/family area and an adult area. The children’s area featured games, bounce houses, cotton candy, Christian bands, the majority of the dance performances and other activities. The adult area contained most of the food vendors, the beer and margarita garden and product vendors.

“We absolutely fulfilled the purpose of the event,” Gratzer said. “It was a fun and festive day. Local businesses got to promote themselves and there were a lot of enjoyable things for people to do.”

St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack said he and his officers only had to deal with a few incidents during the day. Only one arrest had to be made, he said, and that was for trespassing and disorderly conduct.