Festival Fun

The St. Clair Merchants Committee put on its fifth annual Main Street Festival in the downtown area on Saturday, and beautiful weather served as another attraction for the guests who attended. The festival featured several activities for young and old alike. Here, Brett Barnes plays with some props belonging to his mother, Carolyn, and her Party Pics and Props Photo business. A booth was set up on Saturday and visitors could dress up in various costumes and have their picture taken. To view other photos from the event, check out The Missourian's website at www.emissourian.com.

A picture-perfect day greeted visitors who attended the fifth annual St. Clair Merchants Committee Main Street Festival in the city’s downtown area on Saturday.

Sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s throughout the daylight hours made the event even more inviting to the estimated couple of thousand people who attended. During the daylong festival, people were treated to a variety of food and beverages, games and entertainment, vendor booths and the chance to mingle with fellow residents.

In previous years, rain, cooler temperatures or hot conditions have been the norm.

The Merchants Committee is an arm of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce after the two groups merged last year. The Merchants Committee was founded by Lori Gratzer with the intent to find ways to promote the business sector of the area while providing community events suited for children and families as well as adults.

“The Main Street Festival continues to grow in popularity within our community and surrounding communities as well as businesses,” Gratzer told The Missourian. “This year the crowd seemed larger than the year before, and that’s what we always want to see. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

“And the weather was perfect and made the day even more enjoyable.”

Again this year, the festival was split into children-family and an adults area with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks serving as the divider.

The majority of the children’s events took place at or near Farmers & Merchants Bank and featured various competitions, including sidewalk chalk art, Hula-Hoop and bubble-gum blowing events. A petting zoo, courtesy of the Maverick 4-H Club, also was popular.

On the adult end, a washer tournament and car bash were conducted. Three vendors provided alcohol and several others offered various food items.

Contest results were not available.

The day concluded with a street dance until 11 p.m. The band Sinners N Saints provided live music during the nighttime hours. Victims of Circumstance started out the live music earlier in the day.

“This event would not be able to grow if it were not for the businesses within the Franklin County area,” Gratzer said. “Our local businesses, of course, are huge supporters but we also have the support of many out-of-town businesses.

“I am very proud of this event and its growth.”

Police Presence

When asked, St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack said only two arrests were made during the dance toward the end of the day. Both were for individuals being drunk and disorderly. Three other people were escorted from the premises during the nighttime hours on Saturday.

“We provided a pretty good police presence,” Hammack told The Missourian. “If we don’t have extra officers there, we have the potential to have a lot of problems.”

However, that police presence came with a cost, Hammack said. All told, the chief said, he paid six officers seven hours of overtime each and another two almost 10 hours of overtime to patrol the event.

Hammack said the extra duty cost the city about $1,500 in overtime.

On a usual day, two or three officers are on duty at any given time.

“But all in all, for the most part, there were not a lot of problems,” Hammack said. “Especially when you consider how many people were there at night.”

During Monday night’s board of aldermen meeting, Hammack reiterated that point when asked by Mayor Ron Blum how the event went.

Pleased With Event

Chamber Executive Director Angela Crawford said she was happy with the event.

“The Main Street Festival went great this year,” she said. “I got nothing but positive feedback in regard to the overall event, participation and the way things were put together for the event.”

Gratzer agreed.

“The original goal when I started this event was to hopefully get the local committees, clubs and businesses excited and bring back a festival in St. Clair, and I think we are well on our way to accomplish that,” she said. “St. Clair has an amazing community, and I love seeing people come out and enjoy the day together.”