Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Festivalities Coming to an End after Baseball, Closing Ceremonies Scheduled at Busch Stadium

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Festivalities Coming to an End after Baseball, Closing Ceremonies Scheduled at Busch Stadium

Article excerpt

The party's almost over. The St. Louis region is about to wake up from a 10-day reverie that was sweeter than even its wildest dreamers imagined.

The U.S. Olympic Festival '94 ends Sunday. The last 14 events will decide gold medals by day, closing with the baseball finale at 5 p.m. at Busch Stadium.

After the game, at about 8 p.m., the Festival ends with a closing ceremony that includes a parade of athletes and fireworks display at Busch.

One $8 ticket is good for the game and the closing. About 20,000 have been sold, which leaves about 35,000 more for anyone wishing to say a final goodbye - or a belated hello, for procrastinators out there - to the Festival.

The Festival torch will be passed from St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. to Lt. Gov. Sam Cassidy of 1995 host Colorado. The cities of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs will try to follow one of the toughest acts in Festival history.

St. Louis will set an official record for most ticket sales at competition events, Festival officials say. Before Saturday's events, total attendance was almost 370,000 and ticket sales were almost $2.7 million.

"I almost wish you had charged for opening ceremonies," said Gary Alexander, who directs Festivals for the U.S. Olympic Committee. "Then you would have smashed the record. Some Festivals got about a million dollars from their opening - 50,000 tickets at 20 dollars each."

The opening here drew an estimated 82,000 fans.

The Festival also set unofficial - but widely accepted - records for organization, hospitality, corporate support and community embrace.

"The whole thing has been unbelievable," Alexander said. "I mean, just unbelievable."

The only disappointment Saturday was that the fairy tale temporarily went poof for hometown favorite Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

After a victory in the 100-meter hurdles Friday night, JJK was not the best high jumper Saturday night. She was competing on an exhibition basis, though, so there was no medal at stake for her.

Joyner-Kersee missed twice at 5 feet 11 1/2 inches before clearing the bar on her final attempt. She failed on all three attempts at 6-1 1/2.

Saturday's action attracted revved-up full houses of almost 10,000 fans for track in Edwardsville and 3,350 at Washington U. …

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