The Washington Town and Country Fair is still one week away, but two weekend events will help get residents in the mood.
The annual Fair Run/Walk will take place Saturday morning and the always-popular Fair Parade will wind through the streets Sunday evening.
The 2012 Washington Fair will kick off Wednesday, Aug. 1, and run through Sunday, Aug. 5, at the city fairgrounds.
Chairman Dale Westhoff said both events help build momentum and excitement for the five-day Fair.
This year’s competitive run and fun walk will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at the city park.
This will be the 17th year for the run/walk, according to event co-chair Marsha Meyer.
A one-mile kids run for those ages 12 and younger also will be part of the festivities. A parent or guardian must be with the child at check-in.
A new route is planned for the five-mile competitive run and the fun walk will be two miles, a little shorter than last year.
The starting point for both runs and the walk will be the city park pavilion on Veterans Drive.
Participants can register the morning of the race beginning at 6:15 a.m. The entry fee is $20 for runners and walkers, and $10 for kids.
The run will get under way first at 7 a.m. followed by the walk and then the kids run at about 8 a.m.
Meyer said she expects about 200 people to participate in all. Among the runners and walkers will be the Fair queen contestants and members of the Fair Board.
Since the run/walk starts so early, Meyer hopes the heat won’t deter people from turning out. There will be water stations set up along the route — at Front and Main and the Farmers’ Market.
Awards will be given out for the first-place overall male and female run winners, and the winner of the kids run. The top three winners in each age bracket also will receive medals, and all kids who participate will earn medals.
The 19th annual parade will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday. The route is the same as last year.
The parade will feature a variety of floats, the Washington High School and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School marching bands, dance groups, the giant Schnucks shopping cart, Scout and 4-H groups, the Moohlah Shriners, service organizations, churches and schools, antique fire trucks, tractors, and much more, according to Jennifer Hasting, parade chairman.
The Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years, so they will have a large walking group, said Hasting, adding there will be about 94 entries in all.
“We’re hoping for more bearable temperatures, but it was hot last year and we still had a great turnout,” she said. “I think everyone loves a parade, so hopefully the heat won’t stop anyone.”
The 25 Fair queen candidates will ride in convertibles and the 2011 Fair Queen and her court also will take part.
The parade theme is the same as the Fair — “Making Memories.”
Leading this year’s parade will be two individuals who have been instrumental in getting the new concert stage and event center project at the fairgrounds rolling.
Ron Unnerstall and Gary Terschluse of Washington Engineering & Architecture — which designed the event facility at no charge — will serve as grand marshals.
Chamber officials estimate the design work would have cost about $45,000.
In addition to the grand marshal, the committee selects an honorary group to participate in the parade.
This year’s honorary group in the parade is the St. Louis Green Berets, Special Forces Association Chapter XXVII. The members will ride in military vehicles.
Route the Same
The parade will begin at Circle Drive and High Street, near the city pool. It will travel south on High to Fifth Street; east on Fifth to Jefferson Street; north on Jefferson to Main Street; and west on Main, ending near the Main and Elm parking lot.
An after-parade party will again be held on the Main and Elm parking lot from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The Steve Leslie Band will perform.
Food and drinks will be available at that lot starting at 4 p.m.
“It’s shaping up to be another great event — we hope everyone comes out,” said Hasting.