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Fourth of July fireworks return to downtown St. Louis this year with largest show ever

The Fair Saint Louis tradition will return after having to be canceled last year. But there are still several changes in 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic

ST. LOUIS — Fireworks over the Arch – a beloved St. Louis tradition – will return this Fourth of July.

Fair Saint Louis organizers announced details Wednesday for the summer holiday’s annual event. Instead of several nights of fireworks, organizers are putting together one big, dazzling show.

The Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular will take place Sunday, July 4 starting at about 9:40 p.m. Fair Saint Louis promised it will be the largest fireworks show it’s ever produced, with three barges positioned on the Mississippi River blasting off 3,000 shells choreographed to the tune of patriotic music.

“Thanks to the generosity of so many members of our community, including Enterprise and Edward Jones, Fair Saint Louis is thrilled to produce one of America’s largest fireworks celebrations, providing a uniquely St. Louis experience that has been an annual summer tradition for our region for 40 years,” said Fair Saint Louis general chairman David Estes.

Spectators are welcome to come downtown to watch the show in person, Fair Saint Louis officials said, encouraging people to watch from restaurants or hotels in support of local businesses. A livestream will also be available for those who want to watch from home.

While the fireworks are back, the traditional fair will have to wait one more year. Organizers said putting on the multi-day holiday weekend event takes months of planning that hasn’t been able to happen due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Concerts under the Arch, family-friendly activities, shows and food and drink vendors are expected to return in 2022.

“Fair Saint Louis is a locally and independently produced event, and our dedicated staff members and hundreds of volunteers work year-round in booking entertainment, confirming vendors, coordinating activities and so much more. The dynamic nature of the pandemic affected those planning processes,” said Estes.

Caitlin Murphy and Trinh Tram were actually talking about the Fair when 5 On Your Side walked up to them along the riverbanks, both women unaware a portion of the festival would be back.

"I didn't, yeah," Murphy said of the news. "St. Louis is such an incredible summer city and we're hopeful that more and more of these events will be happening,"

The two said they'll check out the event, even if it's not the same Fair we're used to.

"I am so eager to be back to normal, and I am so excited to see the fireworks this year," Trinh Tram said.

2021 marks the 40th Fair Saint Louis event. More information about this year’s event can be found on the Fair Saint Louis website.

On Tuesday, organizers announced the America’s Birthday Parade, formerly known as the VP Parade, will return to downtown St. Louis this summer.

The annual Fourth of July weekend parade will take place on Saturday, July 3 at 10 a.m. The parade is free and will march west down Market Street from Broadway near Kiener Plaza to 18th Street near Union Station.

This year’s theme is “America the Beautiful.” It will feature nearly two dozen floats, 14 local and national marching bands, dancers, antique fire engines and giant balloons. There also will be musical performances by Audri Bartholomew of "The Voice," SJ McDonald of “American Idol” and the Red and Black Brass Band.

Last year’s parade had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, parade organizers said they’ve been working with city officials to make sure paradegoers, staff and participants remain safe. The parade will follow federal, state and local restrictions regarding social distancing and face masks. At this time, that means anyone who is unvaccinated should continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Updates also will continue to be posted on the America’s Birthday Parade website.