Each year Fair Saint Louis looks forward to bringing our community together for one of the best Fourth of July celebrations in the country. But 2020 had different plans for all of us. While the global pandemic certainly changed our Fourth of July plans, it didn’t dampen our spirits. We quickly pivoted and established Fair Saint Louis Gives Back and Fair Saint Louis @Home – presented by Enterprise!

With traditional Fair Saint Louis celebrations canceled due to the global pandemic, the Foundation set out to make a bigger impact in the community and say thanks to those who have kept St. Louis safe and healthy during this difficult time. Joining forces with partners and sponsors of Fair Saint Louis as well as the City of St. Louis, the Foundation was proud to present Fair Saint Louis Gives Back, which took place in May and June of 2020 and included meal and personal protective equipment (PPE) donation events.

The Fair partnered with the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to donate more than 20,000 face coverings to local underserved communities. At these events, Fair volunteers personally distributed the PPE to community members, providing an opportunity for the team to meet residents as well as local leaders.

At the meal donation events, Fair Saint Louis volunteers safely boxed and distributed more than 2,700 free meals to healthcare and essential workers at John Cochran Veterans Hospital and the St. Louis VA Medical Center – Jefferson Barracks, City of St. Louis essential workers, the St. Louis Fire Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

With the global pandemic drastically changing the live music and public gathering landscapes, the Fair Saint Louis team created an engaging way to bring the Fair to the community, working around the clock to plan, film, and produce Fair Saint Louis @Home presented by Enterprise.

Festivities started at Gateway Arch National Park with the National Anthem and presentation of colors. St. Louis Blues host and producer Ashali Vise served as emcee of the @Home program, with iHeart Media radio hosts introducing the artists. Country music singer Alexandra Kay kicked off the entertainment from the historic Grand Hall at Union Station. Past Fair Saint Louis performer Jake’s Leg and country crooner Jordan Suter played their hits from one of St. Louis’ most popular live music venues, the Old Rock House. At the National Blues Museum, The Little Dylan Band fittingly sang the blues, and chart-topping hip-hop artist Chingy brought down the house with his hits “I Like That,” “One Call Away” and “Right Thurr.”

The show featured a slew of celebrity appearances and special guests. St. Louis native and reality TV star Tom Sandoval demoed two cocktails perfect for summer, the “STL Red Hot Rita” and the “Quarantine Cooler,” while Steve Ewing of Steve’s Hot Dogs cooked up a “Firecracker Dog,” topped with tomatoes, pickles, habanero relish, and sriracha. Viewers discovered outside yard games with Juggling Jeff, and the Purina Incredible Dog Team wowed with masterful tricks and high jumps. Fair Saint Louis @Home culminated with the announcement of the #FairSTLMemories photo contest grand prize winner, who received VIP experiences with Fair Saint Louis, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Purina Farms, and Hilton at The Ballpark. Although this year’s Fair looked much different than the 39 previous years, Fair Saint Louis @Home was proof that this city won’t let anything get in the way of a great Independence Day celebration.

Through these two initiatives, we felt honored to extend our help to those in underserved communities as well as to city healthcare and essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic and provide our region a way to celebrate America’s Biggest Birthday Party from the comfort of their own homes.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to thank our generous sponsors. Without them, Fair Saint Louis, in any form, could not happen. As things changed around us, our sponsors shifted gears with us, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to St. Louis and to the region as a whole.

Fair Saint Louis truly embodies the “Spirit of St. Louis” and we are so proud to be part of this community and we look forward to returning under the Gateway Arch in 2021 for the 40th Fair Saint Louis celebration!