The 2012 St. Clair Freedom Fest will include the traditional games, activities, vendors and other things as in past years as the city puts on its annual early Independence Day party.
However, an expanded fireworks show, a ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially will open the new trail at Evergreen Park and a mini carnival will provide visitors even more entertainment options.
The board of aldermen approved the carnival as part of the upcoming festivities on Monday night when it met for its regular meeting. The city’s park board has discussed the possibility of adding the rides and games during its recent meetings.
Freedom Fest is scheduled for June 22-23 at Evergreen and Orchard parks. There is no cost to attend.
“We feel that having activities at both of our parks is a good thing,” City Administrator Rick Childers said during the May meeting of the St. Clair Parks and Recreation Board. “We hope people will come.”
The actual festival is advertised as being on Saturday, June 23. However, Friday evening activities were added last year in an attempt to make the event bigger and better, and park board members decided to continue that.
The carnival will be the big addition and will help kick things off on Friday.
Childers passed around a basic agreement between the city and Fun Time Shows on Monday night. City Attorney Kurt Voss already had reviewed the pact and noted some changes that needed to be made, including holding the city harmless for injuries or damages occurring when the carnival is in operation.
The aldermen unanimously voted to approve the carnival and the contract with Voss’ changes.
Childers said seven or eight rides will be set up on the softball field on the west side of Orchard Park as well as a handful of games. He said on Monday he did not have a list of those rides and games yet, but stated that they will not be the biggest or heaviest ones because of their placement on the softball diamond.
“I think this is a great idea to see how this goes over,” he said about the addition of the carnival.
Childers said Fun Time Shows plans to sell separate bracelets for $15 on both Friday night and Saturday for admission into the carnival area.
Potentially adding the carnival materialized earlier this year when Childers said he was contacted by a representative of Fun Time Shows out of Doniphan, the company that provides the rides, games and food vendors for the Meramec Community Fair in Sullivan going on at the same time as Freedom Fest.
“They have seven or eight rides plus some games that will not be used at the Sullivan fair,” the city administrator said during the May park board meeting. “Instead of letting them sit and not be used, they offered them to us at no cost. They wanted to know if we would be interested. Since it would be a first-time trial for us and for them, they said they would be willing to come and set them up. We won’t owe them anything and they won’t owe us anything.”
Childers also said the company has its own liability insurance.
The carnival will operate on Friday evening and again starting at noon on Saturday. It will stop when the fireworks display begins at dusk.
Park board members started to finalize Freedom Fest activities and the calendar during its May meeting late last month.
The activities at Evergreen Park will be on Friday night only. They include a patriotic-themed kiddie parade that will start downtown at the gazebo at 6 p.m. and conclude near the community swimming pool at Evergreen Park. But, the parade route will include a portion of the newly constructed trail there with the ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for the end of the parade.
At the pool, a free swim is planned after the parade and ribbon-cutting, and hot dogs will be served. Park board members are checking into the possibility of providing a movie in the park at dusk, too.
The annual fireworks display will begin at dusk, or about 9 p.m., on Saturday. Because of the inclement weather that cut short last year’s show, Lantis Fireworks of Eureka agreed to supply a bigger and better show this year.
Other scheduled activities on Saturday are pee wee cheerleading at 1 p.m., a yoga clinic at 2 p.m., talent show at 3 p.m., watermelon eating contest at 5 p.m., nickel-in-a-haystack competition at 5:30 p.m. and turtle races at 6 p.m. Michelle’s School of Dance also is scheduled to put on a clinic sometime during the day.
The west lot near the softball diamond will be closed on Saturday and will not be available for parking. Visitors will have to use the east end lot as well as the soccer fields for parking purposes.
Park board President Beth Lauer said that 22 vendors have confirmed they will be part of the festivities. More still are being accepted. Last year, 41 vendors signed up and 33 participated.
For more information, contact city hall at 636-629-0333.
Main Street Festival
The city gave its stamp of approval for the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce’s Merchants Committee to put on its annual Main Street Festival on Saturday, Sept. 22. The festival will run from 2 to 11 p.m. and conclude with a street dance during the last two hours.
During a recent meeting, aldermen voted to approve closing Main Street from East Springfield Road to Kitchell Avenue starting at noon. The south side of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks will open at about 7 p.m. The band will begin playing at that time in the parking lot by the caboose in city park on the other side of the tracks.
Merchants Committee Chairman Lori Gratzer told the aldermen that her group still is looking to hire a cover band for the dance. She said it is her hope that any band hired for the event would play a variety of music, including “oldies” and top 40.