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It’s time to get out and celebrate independence

Stock fireworks graphic
(Source: Adobe Stock)

This year especially, Americans are excited to celebrate the independence of our nation and their independence from the pandemic. Across St. Charles County Fourth of July celebrations offer the opportunity to gather together with friends and family to enjoy fireworks, concerts, kids activities and stunning views of the Missouri River. 

There’s no better time than now to plan a fun-filled Independence Day. Here’s how. 

O’FALLON HERITAGE AND FREEDOM FEST

Celebrate independence at O’Fallon’s 2021 Heritage and Freedom Fest July 2-4 at the Ozzie Smith Sports Park, 900 T.R. Hughes Blvd. The event offers fireworks; a parade; concerts; carnival rides; a family night; “entertainment alley,” filled with vendors, interactive games and sideshows; and a veteran memorial exhibit titled  “Remembering Our Fallen.” 

Admission and concert attendance is free. However, a wristband must be purchased each day for  carnival rides. A discounted, unlimited ride wristband is on sale for $20 through July 1 online at  heritageandfreedomfest.com. 

Regular unlimited ride wristbands can be purchased at the festival for $25 per day. Individual ride tickets will also be for sale at the festival for $1.25 per ticket. Most rides require three to six tickets per person. 

Remembering Our Fallen Patriotic Productions
The Remembering Our Fallen memorial is scheduled to be part of the O’Fallon Heritage and Freedom Fest celebration. (Source: Patriotic Productions)

July 2: Remembering Our Fallen

On July 2, O’Fallon will host a procession in honor of the Remembering Our Fallen memorial as it travels to the festival grounds. The community is invited to attend this procession, which includes a police escort followed by National American Veteran (AMVETS) Riders, a Lowe’s truck and the Remembering Our Fallen truck with a wrapped trailer containing the memorial.

The procession begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Walk and will proceed down Belleau Creek Road. It will then turn onto Mexico Road and travel past the O’Fallon Lowe’s. From there, the procession will turn onto Hwy. K, continue down Main Street, and turn right onto Tom Ginnever Avenue, ending up at the Heritage & Freedom Fest grounds. The public is encouraged to stand anywhere along the route leading up to the festival grounds and welcome this memorial to O’Fallon.

 “We hope everyone in the community is able to come out and see Remembering Our Fallen,” said Jennifer Hoisington, O’Fallon’s tourism and festivals manager. “It’s such a moving experience to see this touring monument, which contains military and personal photos of more than 5,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s important, as we celebrate our country’s birth, to recognize those who sacrificed their lives in defense of America.”

Remembering Our Fallen will be located near the entrance to the festival grounds on T.R. Hughes Boulevard, in front of Entertainment Alley. It will be available for viewing at the Heritage & Freedom Fest on July 2 from 4-10 p.m., July 3 from noon-11 p.m. and July 4 from 4-11 p.m.

O'Fallon Freedom Fest parade
Here comes the parade! (Source: City of O’Fallon)

July 2: Family Night 

The three-day event kicks off with family night from 4-10 p.m. on Friday, July 2. Guests can enjoy carnival rides, family-friendly activities, food and drink vendors, and a colorful midway. There will also be a hot air balloon show and a Route 66 Corvette Club display. 

At 5:30 p.m., the “Remembering Our Fallen” ceremony begins. From 6-8 p.m., 135th Army Band will perform on the Main Stage while the Xpogo Stunt Team performs in Entertainment Alley (two shows – 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.). The 135th Army Band is a five-person band based out of Springfield, Missouri, with a proud history of more than 50 years. The Xpogo Stunt team is a high-energy, extreme pogo stick entertainment crew, which has performed in 23 countries and has received 13 Guinness World Records. 

July 3: Country Day

The Heritage & Freedom Fest parade steps off at 9:30 a.m. from the corner of Main Street and Civic Park Drive. It continues north on Main Street to Tom Ginnever Avenue and ends at T.R. Hughes Boulevard near the festival grounds. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic closures. Pets will not be allowed along the parade route, unless they are service animals. 

The festival opens at noon.

Starting at 2 p.m., the 135th Army Band plays again on the Main Stage. The XPogo Stunt Team performs at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Entertainment Alley.

Parade awards will be handed out at 4 p.m. on the Main Stage. 

Circus Kaput entertainers roam Entertainment Alley throughout the day on July 3 and July 4. 

At 4:30 p.m., local country artist Jordan Suter takes to the Main Stage. At 6 p.m., multi-instrumentalist and singer, Jared Hovis performs. Waterloo native and country singer, Alexandra Kay, performs at 7:30 p.m., with award winning country star Dylan Scott taking the stage at 9 p.m. A fireworks show at 10:15 p.m. concludes the festival’s activities for the day. 

July 4: Rock Bands

The festival opens at 4 p.m.

Dazed n Confused STL will begin performing at 4 p.m. On the Main Stage. Enjoy this five-person rock band that plays everything from acoustic covers to band tributes. Local band Hounds performs at 5:30 p.m. and the XPogo Stunt Team returns from 6-8 p.m. Hard rock band Apex Shrine plays at 7 p.m. and Styx, the iconic American band based out of Chicago, will end the night at 9 p.m. 

The Xpogo Stunt Team performs at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Entertainment Alley.

A fireworks show at 10:15 p.m. concludes the weekend’s festivities. 

Parking and Accessibility: 

On July 3 and 4, free parking and air-conditioned shuttles are available off Tom Ginnever Avenue at Fort Zumwalt North and Christian high schools to take patrons to the festival entrance. 

Enjoy a premium parking spot near the festival entrance for $10 per vehicle on July 3 and 4. This is available at the CarShield Field west parking lot. Cash and credit cards are accepted. If you leave the lot, you must re-pay to re-enter. 

Accessible parking is available in Westhoff Park, located at 810 Sheppard Drive. Shuttles will transport guests from the accessible parking lot to the festival entrance. No general parking will be allowed in this lot. 

Individuals using manual or power wheelchairs or scooters, walkers, crutches and canes are welcome in all areas where festival attendees are allowed. Service animals only are allowed on the festival grounds. 

Road closures: 

Approximately 30 minutes before fireworks displays are set to begin, T.R. Hughes Boulevard and Cool Springs Industrial Drive will close and remain closed until 30 minutes after the show’s end.

Rules and regulations:

• Personal fireworks are not allowed. 

• Pets are not allowed unless they are service animals. 

• Bikes, skateboards, scooters, skates, rollerblades, hoverboards or wheeled coolers will not be permitted in the facility. 

• No glass, guns or weapons of any kind. 

• Coolers and small bags are allowed,  but may be subject to inspection by police and park rangers. 

• Drones and motorized aircraft are strictly prohibited. 

ST. CHARLES RIVERFEST 

Kick off Fourth of July weekend on the Missouri river at St. Charles Riverfest, 222 S. Riverside Drive, July 2-4. Admission is free. 

Guests can enjoy live music, carnival rides and games, food and craft vendors, and fireworks over the river. Daily entertainment includes the Foundry Art Center Children’s Tent, Ashley Aerialists, the Bubble Bus and a carnival by Fountain City Amusements. For concert details by date, read on. 

Riverfest Bubble Bus
Riverfest returns to Frontier Park in Historic Saint Charles, July 2-4. (Source: DiscoverStCharles.com)

July 2: 5-10 p.m. 

St. Louis’ premier cover band Every Little Thing is performing from 5:30-7 p.m. and rock band Superjam performs from 7:45-10 p.m. 

July 3: 10 a.m.-noon

The St. Charles Riverfest Parade is from 10 a.m. to noon with the festival grounds open from noon until 10 p.m. 

The St. Charles Municipal Band performs from noon-1:30 p.m., with the Steve Ewing Band following from 2-4 p.m. Fleetwood Mac Tribute band, Big Love, performs from 4:30-7 p.m. and interactive party band Naked Karate Girls concludes the night, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

July 4: Noon-10 p.m.

Rogers & Nienhaus take the stage at noon with blues band Pennsylvania Slim performing from 2:15-3:45 p.m. Country group, The Big Rigs, performs from 4:15-7 p.m. with FatPocket  concluding the night at 7:30 p.m. 

Parking:

Parking is available at the Lewis & Clark Boat House lot; the Saint Charles City Hall parking garage on Main Street; street parking on Second, Water  and North Main streets; and at the Foundry Art Centre. 

There is no off-site shuttle service for this event.

FIREWORKS IN WELDON SPRING

The city of Weldon Spring’s Independence Celebration is from 6-10 p.m. on July 2 at Weldon Spring City Park, 5401 Independence Road. The fireworks show will begin at dusk. 

Free parking is available on the main lawn of the park and along Independence Road. The regular lot is reserved for elderly concert-goers and individuals with disabilities. Restrooms are available to the public and are ADA-compliant. 

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, there will be no bounce houses, face-painters, magicians or balloon artists. However, there will be food trucks. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and coolers; glass is not permitted. 

Pets are allowed but must be on a leash and cleaned up after if necessary.

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