Smiles and a positive experience were words that described the St. Clair 175th parade and events Saturday, May 19.

Dozens of community members participated in the parade, an event celebrated the city’s birthday. The parade concluded with cupcakes, prayer and a balloon release at Evergreen Park.

“As we look back on our past, some will mark the imperfections of our history, but we should choose to celebrate all of St. Clair’s achievements and all that we hold dear about our beloved town,” Park Board President Dana Collins-Messex said before the balloon launch.

“The future holds great promise for the city of St. Clair. As we look to the next 175 years, we do have challenges, but Thomas Jefferson was revolutionary for justice, for inclusion, for bringing people together to stop the movement of hatred, because together we are capable of more.”

She added that the balloon launch was to unify the community and to honor the city’s past, present and positive future.

“Together, we can make and be the difference,” she said.

Last week, Collins-Messex told The Missourian that the balloon launch was a positive experience.

“I personally noticed as the balloons launched into the sky, the smiles on the faces of all those who participated as they gazed at the balloons,” she said.

“It was a true reminder that having pride goes a long way and it was great to have so many take part in the balloon launch.”

Before the balloons, attendees joined together in prayer. This was “a reminder that a small town is also based on faith, as each and everyone of us joined to pray.

“It was a positive experience that I wish many more could have been a part of,” Collins-Messex added.

The citywide cleanup that was supposed to take place after the balloon release was rescheduled due to a lack of participation. It will take place sometime in September.