SAINT LOUIS, Mo., July 6, 2015. . . The visible signs of a fun-filled holiday weekend highlighted by exceptional live entertainment, interactive attractions and magnificent firework displays have already been cleared from Forest Park, but the memories will surely remain. Year two for Fair Saint Louis in Forest Park proved to be a resounding success, with an estimated 250,000 – 275,000 attending the Fair over the course of the three-day weekend.
“After a year of planning and countless volunteer hours, Fair Saint Louis 2015 brought people from throughout our region and across the country together to celebrate America’s Biggest Birthday, and they had an amazing time,” noted Steve Pozaric, General Chairman of Fair Saint Louis 2015. “For months, we’ve been promising that this year’s Fair would be another unforgettable experience, and this weekend, thanks to our many sponsors, hardworking but tiny staff, and a remarkable army of volunteers, we delivered on that promise.”
The crowd seemed to be at its peak for the Edward Jones/Enterprise Rent-A-Car fireworks on July 4th, as a veritable sea of people blanketed Art Hill and the area surrounding Grand Basin and spilled out into various other areas of the park. Many were on their feet before the dazzling display started as Kool and the Gang closed their show with their ever-popular “Celebration”, wrapping up a day of terrific performances that also included Morris Day and the Time, MC Lyte, Tony! Toni! Tone! and local favorite Dirty Muggs.
Saturdays lineup got rave reviews, as did the outstanding performances by Blondie and Melissa Ethridge on Friday by a another terrific crowd that built steadily all day as the Budweiser Main Stage featured performances by Noah Guthrie, The Mowgli’s and American Authors. Thousands had found their spot on Art Hill by the time the Boeing Salute to the Troops took place at 4:15 p.m. They got to honor enlisted military personnel, helped Survivors Outreach Services recognize families who have lost loved ones who have served in the Armed Forces, and watched as hometown hero, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Tim Hefley, and his family were presented with the keys to a new mortgage-free home, courtesy of Operation Homefront and Chase Bank.
While the rains earlier in the week and fact that Friday was a workday for some kept the crowds a little lighter on Thursday, the opening night of Fair Saint Louis still attracted an estimated 40,000 – 50,000, many of whom traded their flip flops for cowboy boots and enjoyed great performances by Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Parmalee and Chris Young.
Music is always a key draw for fairgoers, but this year’s additional entertainment also was a big hit. The world’s tallest, longest mobile Zipline, a brand new attraction for this year, was a very popular addition, as was stunt bicyclist Chris Clark. A warm, sunny day on Friday allowed for the opening of the Family Festival Zone, which proved to be a hive of activity for the next two days. Kids and parents alike got to try their hand at everything from virtual welding to creating miniature wind turbines with 3-D printers at the new STEAM exhibit, where 20 different exhibits provided exercise for their brains, while the adjacent rock climbing attraction provided a work out for their bodies. As in years past, the amazing Purina Pro Performance dogs wowed the crowds with multiple performances throughout the weekend. The VP Parade and Schnucks Freedom 4 Miler also drew large crowds and great reviews.
In addition to the musical performances and other entertainment, patrons reveled in the tasty food options and enthusiastically supported the beverage tents manned by local charities, who benefit from a portion of the sales. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said after the Fair, “Countless hours of expert planning and hard work by the Fair Saint Louis board, its volunteers, and City staff once again allowed hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to celebrate America’s birthday in true St. Louis style — fireworks over the Grand Basin and music sounding up the natural amphitheater of Art Hill. It was a year to remember.”
The tremendous turnout for the Fair is accented by the success of the updated comprehensive transportation plan put in place to help make access to the Fair as efficient as possible again this year; and like last year, the park and traffic cleared quickly each night. Fair organizers were pleased to see that people walked or cycled from miles out and used the Bike Valets to store their bikes during the Fair. Additionally, thousands of fairgoers took advantage of MetroLink, and Metro officials again did an outstanding job getting them swiftly on the trains, clearing the platforms quickly each night.
“The success of Fair Saint Louis 2015 is a testament to the strength of the civic collaboration that sets our city apart,” noted Bob Ciapciak, Chairman of the Fair St. Louis Foundation. “The many entities collaborating this year included the City of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, the St Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, the St. Louis Streets Department, the St. Louis Police Department and the St. Louis Fire Department, along with our transportation partners Metro, MoDOT and Trailnet. Together, we made sure that Forest Park was THE place to be this 4th of July weekend and we got what has to be one of our largest crowds ever safely and efficiently in and out of the park each day.”
Sponsors who supported this year’s Fair Saint Louis and made it possible for it to be offered as a free gift to our community included Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones, Enterprise, Emerson, Purina, Ameren, Maritz and many more. Without the support of so many constituencies within our metropolitan area, the longstanding tradition of the Fair Saint Louis festivities – including the Veiled Prophet Parade and one of the biggest fireworks displays in America – would not be possible.
The Fair St. Louis Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, operates the Fair each year and the Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts, and has donated numerous gifts to the St. Louis Community in conjunction with these events. Over the years, the foundation has contributed to the lighting of the Eads Bridge, the Mississippi River Overlook and the mile-long Riverfront Promenade, and was a partner in providing the Grand Staircases beneath the Arch as part of the National Park System.