Fourth of July | St. Louis Public Radio

Fourth of July

Road crews work to clear the remaining sediment and rocks deposited from flood waters on July 2, 2019. Businesses in the area have reopened since the water receded.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

The Fourth of July will be even more of a celebration in Alton and Grafton this year, as the riverfront communities mark the reopening of businesses following major flooding last month.

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

Police departments in St. Louis and St. Louis County are trying to deter illegal firework use this Fourth of July. 

Last year, St. Louis police issued just one citation for fireworks-related crimes on July Fourth, according to a department spokesperson. 

But the department announced in June that this Independence Day, officers will enforce local laws that prohibit the use of fireworks. 

Fair St. Louis Organizers said they expect to hold the annual Fair St. Louis at the Gateway Arch again this year. Organizers said they do have a contingency plan in place if flooding is still an issue. June 10, 2019
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Fair St. Louis organizers say they're confident the annual event will be able to be held at Gateway Arch National Park next month — even as a swollen Mississippi River laps against the steps of the monument.

The annual Fourth of July celebration moved back to the Arch last year after four years at Forest Park while the riverfront park underwent a $380 million renovation. This year, Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard, the riverwalk and some of the Arch steps are underwater, but organizers believe it will be useable by the time the fair opens its three-day run on Independence Day.

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

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.

Violet Crown Photo Works

James Boldt is the general chairman of Fair St. Louis 2018.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Fair St. Louis is bringing fireworks and free music back to the Gateway Arch next week. After being held at Forest Park for four years due to construction, the $380 million renovations on the Arch and the surrounding park are complete just in time for this year’s Fourth of July festivities.

Fireworks, fourth of july, reflected, horizontal, arch
File Photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Fourth of July concerts and fireworks will return to the Gateway Arch for the first time in four years.

Fair St. Louis announced Tuesday that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, pop artist Jason Derulo and country singer-songwriter Martina McBride will headline the three-day event. The artists will play on a main stage under the legs of the Arch.

Fireworks, fourth of july, reflected, horizontal, arch
File Photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Despite what you may have heard in your backyard this past week, setting off fireworks is illegal in St. Louis and much of the metro area.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says it’s for a good reason—more than a quarter of all house fires that occur in the area over Independence Day weekend are started by fireworks.

VP Parade name, origins largely a mystery to parade goers

Jul 4, 2015
The Veiled Prophet and his Queen of Love and Beauty at the 2015 VP Parade in Forest Park.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 8, 2015 to clarify the origin of the 1878 newspaper image and to correct the name of the accessories carried by the parade's horsemen.

Crowds decked out in red, white and blue were treated to a feast for the eyes and ears at the VP Parade Saturday morning in Forest Park. The parade had something for everyone, from marching bands and massive floating balloons to elaborate floats and superheroes driving four-wheelers and passing out candy. There were even Elvis impersonators and a Chinese dragon brigade.

But tucked in-between Elvis and a gardening float was a scene out of a bygone era. A troupe of men carrying ceremonial lances rode up first on horses decked out with the VP emblem. Then came two floats designed to look like chariots: the first pulled by a dragon, the second by a pair of swans. Enthroned on both chariots were women in elaborate gowns and men with their faces obscured by lacy veils.

Sarah Kellogg

The St. Louis Fire Department is cautioning St. Louis area residents against setting off fireworks this weekend.

The use of consumer fireworks is legal in Missouri, but illegal in St. Louis city and county.

“We hear them in South City, North City, the West End, downtown, they’re illegal. It’s illegal in the city of St. Louis to shoot fireworks: bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, anything,” St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.

Some surrounding counties do allow the use of consumer fireworks.

File photo

If you are traveling the highways over the July 4th holiday weekend, prepare to pay more at the pump. Prices will be higher than last year, mainly due to uncertainty in the Middle East.

"I think the overall problem with Iraq is that it's causing crude oil prices to go up and that's driving up wholesale gasoline prices," said Mike Right, senior vice president of public affairs for AAA Missouri.

"St. Louis is a peculiar market in that they pass along price increases instantly from the wholesale level down to the consumer."

MJ_07 / Via Flickr

For many, fireworks are a staple part of celebrating the Fourth of July. If watching the night sky light up is part of your holiday tradition, you’re in luck: the St. Louis area hosts several public events.

Tasmyn Front has been living in St. Louis for 12 years. She says that fireworks aren’t the only attraction to consider when deciding on a venue.

“There’s a lot of waiting before the show starts,” said Front. “Ultimately it's only 20 minutes so you want it to be worth the wait.”

Music, food and activities for the kids are standard at most venues.

Fair St. Louis Organizers Tout Plan For New Venue

Jun 30, 2014
Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Final plans for Fair St. Louis are taking shape as the event moves to Forest Park this weekend for the first time in its 34-year history.

The park has been a busy scene this week as work crews prepare stages, concession stands, canopy tents, and generators for the event that organizers expect to draw 35,000 to 50,000 visitors each day. The weekend’s July Fourth celebrations will include a parade, 20 free concerts, nightly fireworks displays and other entertainment.


Jul 8, 2013
MJ_07 / Via Flickr

Photo taken by "MJ_07" on

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St. Louis Welcomes New Citizens On Eve Of July 4th

Jul 3, 2013
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Just one day before the Fourth of July, St. Louis welcomed more than 50 new United States citizens.

The group took the oath of citizenship during an annual naturalization ceremony in the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. 

The immigrants came from 26 countries, including Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, Albania and Germany.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri’s Second District was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which she said was her first.

(via Flickr/AddyG)

St. Louis' annual Independence Day celebration is still on, Fair Saint Louis, but we know numerous municipalities in our area are postponing their festivities, or canceling them altogether, due to the hot and dry weather conditions.

If you won't be at Fair Saint Louis, or are in one of the communities where fireworks are a no-go this year, we've got you covered.

Dry conditions extinguish many fireworks plans

Jul 2, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 2, 2012 - Firework displays won't be lighting up the sky at most of the usual places this Fourth of July after many cities have cancelled because of the extreme heat and dry weather.

Fire Marshall Roger Herin from the Monarch Fire district said there have been four or five grass and brush fires in May and June.

Celebrating Independence Day with memories and hope

Jul 3, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 3, 2011 - Hot dogs getting black and charred on the grill. Kids writing their names with sparklers in the night air. For many Americans, July 4th is a day of celebration and patriotism as families and friends gather to barbecue, swim and watch fireworks.

Entertainment announced for 2011 Fair St. Louis

Mar 10, 2011
(via Flickr/destroyphotography)

The self-proclaimed "America's biggest birthday party," Fair St. Louis, announced the lineup of events and entertainers for this summer's event yesterday.

Here's a quick look at the schedule for the three-day celebration on the grounds of the Gateway Arch:

Saturday, July 2

  • 10 a.m. - The 134th Annual Veiled Prophet Parade
  • Musical Performance: Steve Miller Band
  • Air Show
  • Fireworks

Sunday, July 3

With the overlook stage still covered June 27, it's clear that Fair St. Louis had to move from the riverfront. 300 pixels. 2008
Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 30, 2008, New material added, 2 p.m., July 2 -- Even as she watched the muddy Mississippi creep higher and higher up the cobblestone levee, Missy Slay remained convinced that the river was not going to dampen the city's huge Fourth of July bash.