Friday evening’s portion of the annual St. Clair Freedom Fest celebration has been moved to Orchard Park this year, meaning the entire two-day celebration will take place in the same location in 2013.
Freedom Fest, the city’s annual Independence Day event, is scheduled for June 21-22. The party will end with the annual fireworks celebration at dusk on Saturday.
The city’s park and recreation board continued discussion on the festival during its most recent meeting. Nonvoting member Linda Luetje-Nelson volunteered to chair the event.
“The park board is looking forward to another great Freedom Fest this year,” Luetje-Nelson told The Missourian. “We are excited about trying some new things and bringing back some favorites.”
In past years, the event included a downtown kiddie parade on Friday that culminated with a free swim in the community swimming pool at Evergreen Park. Since the pool is no longer there, board members decided to continue the parade, but have it at Orchard Park and add a new event or two on the first day.
There were concerns that opting to utilize Evergreen Park, and the planned spray park there, would overload the new facility.
Ward 2 Aldermen Barb McGlenn will be in charge of Friday’s activities. Board members discussed having the kiddie parade on part of the walking trail at Orchard and following it with a greased pig contest, an archery competition, a live band and possibly a movie, all with no admission charge. Free hot dogs and popcorn will be served.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Youngsters who participate are asked to decorate their bicycles, tricycles or other nonmotorized modes of transportation in red, white and blue.
On Saturday, the opening ceremony will kick things off at noon. Watermelon- and hot dog-eating contests are on the agenda as are turtle races, the nickel-in-a-haystack event, a backseat driver race. Throughout the day, vendors will display and sell their wares, including food items and crafts.
Booth spaces are available for $40 for sales booths and $20 for an information booth. Electricity will cost $20 extra per booth. If any vendor wants extra 20-amp circuits, they will cost an additional $60 each.
New this year will be a walking vendor category for $10 per lanyard.
Last year, there were about 40 vendors.
There will not be a carnival this year.
The annual fireworks display is scheduled to be as spectacular this year as last. In August, the park board approved an identical show as last year’s at the identical price.
Lantis Fireworks of Eureka sent the proposal to the city last summer to provide another extended show featuring more firepower at a discounted price. In 2012, the longer, more brilliant sky display occurred because the majority of the show was washed out by inclement weather in 2011, and Eureka Fireworks said it wanted to make amends.
City Administrator Rick Childers said the Lantis proposal is “essentially the same show as this year at the same price.”
Included will be 410 3-inch aerial shells, 250 4-inch aerial shells, 18 Roman candles and a variety of other multi-shot florals and ground effects. The show should last about 16-18 minutes.
Board members unanimously approved the motion to spend $4,500 on the 2013 fireworks display during their most recent meeting. Lantis stated in its proposal that the value for this quality of a display is $6,000.