The fifth annual Knights of Columbus Journey for Charity tractor cruise will make its way from St. Clair to Washington Sunday, Sept. 9.
The 30-mile cruise is held to help raise money and collect food for area pantries. The Washington, Union, St. Clair and St. John’s-Gildehaus Knights of Columbus councils all take part in the event.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. at Ozark Die Casting on Lofting Drive in St. Clair with a blessing of the fleet by Father Bob Knight of St. Clare Catholic Church. Following the blessing, at about 10:30 a.m., tractors will begin their cruise.
During the cruise, an empty trailer will be pulled so those along the route can donate canned and nonperishable food items or cash donations.
Past grand knight of the Union Council, John Jasper, reminded people that 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit area pantries.
Last year, $18,000 was split between six area food pantries.
Jasper said there is no set goal, but that he would like to meet or beat last year’s total.
“It’s one of the responsibilities of the Knights of Columbus to take care of those in need and to focus on charity,” Jasper said. “We take care of the community and answer the call.”
Jasper said that although the Knights of Columbus councils organize the event, the entire county helps make it a reality.
Each local police department helps, Jasper said, as well as the highway patrol, emergency medical technicians who ride the route, businesses sponsor the event and citizens participate and donate to the cause.
Last year, close to 80 tractors participated in the cruise. Participation is $30 and collecting $100 in donations is suggested, though not required. The fee provides a T-shirt or hat, a meal ticket and a bus ticket from Washington to St. Clair. Drivers can drop off their tractor in St. Clair, then bring their trailer to Washington where a Mid-American bus will drive them back to St. Clair.
Once the cruise ends, drivers can load their tractors and leave from Washington. Drivers do not have to be a part of the Knights of Columbus to join the cruise.
Jasper said this year he expects between 80 and 100 tractors to participate. Those who don’t want to cruise the entire route can meet at the Union Knights of Columbus Hall, he noted. Tractors should be arriving at the hall at about noon.
The Union council also will have breakfast that morning.
The parade begins at Ozark Die Casting and will turn onto Route TT.
The tractors will proceed on Commercial Avenue, Gravois Avenue, North Service Road, Highway AB and Happy Sac Road. The route then follows Route AD, North Bend Road, Clearview Road and Highway 50 West.
In Union the tractors will head West to Independence, then travel on Old Highway 50 to West Main Street. Tractors will take a right on West Main back toward Independence then head North to West Park Road. Tractors will circle around the Sunset Health Care Center then head back to Park Street toward North Washington Ave. From there, tractors will travel on North Washington to Main Street, then east toward the courthouse to North Church.
From Church Street, tractors will stay until Independence, then cross over 47 and head to Highway V, Clearview Road, Bethlehem Church Road, Bieker Road to South Point Road. From there, tractors will travel on Highway 100 to Fifth Street, then to High Street, Main Street, and take Tiemann Drive to North Grand, Fifth Street, and will follow Clay Street back to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Washington, where the route ends.
Tractor drivers will arrive at the Washington Knights of Columbus at about 3 p.m. where a celebration will take place.
A barbecue will be held as well as a pedal tractor pull for children. The barbecue is open to the public and donations will be accepted.
For more information about the cruise, people may e-mail Jasper at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 314-581-6968.