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Fair skies return above Arch as St. Louis celebrates Fourth of July

Fireworks and Fair St. Louis returned to the Gateway Arch Wednesday, July 4, 2018, for Independence Day celebrations in St. Louis on July 4, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio
Fireworks and Fair St. Louis returned to the Gateway Arch Wednesday for Independence Day celebrations in St. Louis.

The Gateway Arch showed off its new shine Wednesday as St. Louis’ Independence Day celebrations and fireworks show returned to the riverfront to light up the steel monument for the first time in four years.

Thousands of revelers sweated out a sunny summer day to watch the pyrotechnics blast off from the Mississippi River after nightfall.

The day began with the VP Parade downtown with dozens of marching bands and floats, followed by air shows and a performance by the St. Louis Symphony. A massive fireworks display shortly after 9:30 p.m. capped it all off.

Enhancements to Gateway Arch National Park and monument were completed earlier this week, just in time for what is traditionally the park’s biggest day of the year.

Fair St. Louis has traditionally been held at the Arch grounds since the event began in 1981 when it was called the VP Fair. The concerts and Independence Day celebration relocated to Forest Park while the park was under renovation.

The $380 million, five-year project consisted of building a new entrance to connect the 630-foot stainless steel monument to downtown. The landscaping was redone and the museum was refurbished. The Arch grounds and museum also has a new entrance facing the Old Courthouse.

Fair St. Louis will continue Friday and Saturday with several concerts at the Arch grounds.

Mason Kidwell, 3, inspects himself in the mirror as Batman by face-painter Rhiannan Gurley at Fair St. Louis Wednesday, July 4, 2018.
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Mason Kidwell, 3, inspects himself in the mirror as Batman by Rhiannan Gurley, a face painter at Fair St. Louis Wednesday.

Richie Edger, 4, runs through a mister in front of the Lewis and Clark statue at Gateway Arch National Park as part of Fair St. Louis.  July 4, 2018.
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Richie Edger, 4, runs through a mister in front of the Lewis and Clark statue at Gateway Arch National Park during Fair St. Louis. 

A family looks up as a member of the Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team descends on the Arch grounds. jULY 4, 2018.
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A family looks up as a member of the Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team descends on the Arch grounds.

The Gateway Arch and Fair St. Louis air show reflect in the sunglasses if a visitor arriving to the Independence Day celebrations July 4, 2018.

The Arch and Fair St. Louis air show reflect in the sunglasses of a visitor arriving to the Independence Day celebrations at Gateway Arch National Park.  

Fireworks illuminate the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis for Fourth of July celebrations for the first time in four years at Fair St. Louis returned to the Mississippi Riverfront. July 4, 2018.
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Fireworks illuminate the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis for Fourth of July celebrations for the first time in four years as Fair St. Louis returned to the Mississippi Riverfront.

After a five-year, $380 million renovation to Gateway Arch National Park, Fair St. Louis and Independence Day fireworks returned to the Mississippi Riverfront. July 4, 2018
Credit Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

After a five-year, $380 million renovation to Gateway Arch National Park, Fair St. Louis and Independence Day fireworks returned to the Mississippi Riverfront.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney

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