Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boom Town Fireworks, Concerts Highlight St. Louis' 15th Annual Festival

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boom Town Fireworks, Concerts Highlight St. Louis' 15th Annual Festival

Article excerpt

Roll out the red, wipe on some white and brush on the blue. St. Louis' annual Fourth of July party to top all parties kicks off today downtown.

Fair St. Louis, a 15-year tradition with a brand new name, officially opens its three-day run at 10 a.m. with the Veiled Prophet Parade through downtown St. Louis. The riverfront fairgrounds open an hour later. Highlights of opening day include three McDonnell Douglas Air Shows, Tanya Tucker on the Budweiser Stage beneath the Arch and a 9:30 p.m. fireworks display over the river.

"We're so far ahead that we could open today," an elated Rusty Hager, fair chairman, said Friday afternoon from the fair's nerve center behind the Old Cathedral. "It's going to be another great family event."

Hager said he is particularly buoyed by forecasts that call for nearly ideal festival weather, at least for the opening two days of the fair.

"It looks like an almost perfect weekend," said National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Schmocker. He said the forecast calls for a mostly sunny sky today with a high temperature around 80. While forecasters are calling for increasing cloudiness on Sunday, rain should stay away. The high Sunday should be 80 to 85.

Following an off-day on Monday, the fair resumes Tuesday, Independence Day. Forecasters say thunderstorms are possible on the fair's final day.

Workers on the riverfront and in the Veiled Prophet Parade headquarters in the Central West End were making final preparations Friday for today's opening.

At parade headquarters, Doug Wolter, a horticulturist, was outfitting a dazzling "Flower Market" float with an array of gladiolas, African lilies, sunflowers, spider mums and Queen Ann's lace.

The float represents an old time flower market and will be followed by trucks whose passengers will hand out some 50,000 carnations, roses and daisies to parade goers.

Nearby, VP Parade art director Bill Griffin was making 11th-hour adjustments to a float topped with two enormous swallowtail butterflies, each 16 feet long and 10 feet high. The butterfly wings actually will move up and down, operated hydraulically.

"I can't tell you how many 12-hour days I've put in since January," Griffin said. …

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