07/07/14 – Fair Saint Louis 2014 Produced Successful Turnout in Forest Park

As the Independence Day weekend wrapped up, the final remains of a fun-filled holiday weekend – full of live entertainment, local food vendors and magnificent firework displays – fully cleared from Forest Park. This year’s Fair Saint Louis marked the first time in more than 30 years the festivities were held at a venue other than the Gateway Arch Grounds, and its location in Forest Park proved to be a successful experience – truly offering a “Fair like never before.”

Surpassing Fair organizers’ expectations, they estimated that around 250,000 people visited Forest Park during the three days of the Fair. Mild temperatures and beautiful weather contributed to scenic views in Forest Park by day, and the Grand Basin glistened with the reflection of dazzling fireworks by night. For each headlining act on the Budweiser Main Stage, Art Hill was blanketed with fairgoers enjoying the music of the Band Perry on Thursday, Bonnie Raitt on Friday and the Fray on Saturday. At the Post Foods Parade Town Stage, which was shaded under the trees in Shakespeare Glen, crowds also packed the area each day. On Saturday, a spot in front of the stage was hard to find as fairgoers grooved to the music of Dirty Muggs, En Vogue and Musiq Soulchild.

In addition to the turnout for music performances, patrons reveled in some unique performances Fair Saint Louis was able to offer this year by virtue of the Forest Park location. Throughout the weekend, the Grand Basin hosted extreme water sports performances, including water skiing and the Wake Board Challenge. Viewers lined the edges of the Grand Basin to see the wakeboards flying off ramps and flipping through the air.

“The performances this year really made the Fair a memorable experience,” said Parker Condie, chairman of the Fair Saint Louis Foundation. “I talked with several people who had such a great time the first night, they came back again. I think everyone was particularly amazed when Tino Wallenda paused to do a handstand during his walk across the tight rope over the basin.”

In the Ameren/Purina Family Festival Zone, children and families gathered to watch the acrobatic dogs of the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team jumping high over on-lookers’ heads and catching Frisbees. Fairgoers were also treated to a variety of food and beverage vendors, which had record sales this year.

“This was a year to remember,” Mayor Francis Slay said after the Fair. “Fair Saint Louis far exceeded anyone’s expectations, thanks to the tremendous work by the Fair’s board and staff, along with my team, led by Mary Ellen Ponder.  Fireworks over the Grand Basin and music sounding up the natural amphitheater of Art Hill created a top-notch celebration for America’s biggest birthday party – and ours.”

The tremendous turn out for the Fair is accented by the comprehensive transportation plan put in place to help make access to the Fair as efficient as possible, and the park and traffic cleared quickly each night. Fair organizers were pleased to see that people walked or cycled from miles out and used the Bike Valets to store their bikes during the Fair. Additionally, many fairgoers used the Metrolink, which shows St. Louis’ citizenry will embrace public transportation options to attend large-scale events. There was also no shortage of parking options each night of the Fair.

“Forest Park Forever is thrilled that a record number of people came out to beautiful Forest Park to enjoy Fair Saint Louis this year,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, president and executive director of Forest Park Forever. “We congratulate Fair Saint Louis, the City and all the event’s partners on such a widely praised celebration. As an organization supported by members, donors and volunteers, we were proud to show the remarkable progress we’ve made with the City these past decades in bringing Forest Park back from the brink to the beloved jewel it is today. Our team is already back at work repairing and renewing the grounds, ensuring that Forest Park will remain a St. Louis treasure and one of the finest urban parks in the country.”

The success of Fair Saint Louis 2014 demonstrated the civic collaboration that sets our city apart. The many entities collaborating this year included the City of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, the St Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, the St. Louis Streets Department, the St. Louis Police Department and the St. Louis Fire Department. Thanks to the Fair’s Transportation Partners – including Metro, MoDOT, and Trailnet – a variety of transportation options were made available.

Finally, businesses, organizations and community contributors, make it possible for fairgoers to enjoy the entertainment for free each year. Thanks to sponsors – including Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones, Enterprise, Purina, Mercy, Ameren, Emerson, Maritz and many more – this year’s Fair was able to offer a variety of entertainment options without an admission price. Without the support of so many constituencies within our metropolitan area, the longstanding tradition of the Fair Saint Louis festivities – including the Veiled Prophet Parade and one of the biggest fireworks displays in America – would not be possible.

The Fair St. Louis Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, operates the Fair each year and the Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts,  and has donated numerous gifts to the St. Louis Community in conjunction with these events. Over the years, the foundation has contributed to the lighting of the Eads Bridge, the Mississippi River Overlook and the mile-long Riverfront Promenade, and was a partner in providing the Grand Staircases beneath the Arch as part of the National Park System.

For more information, contact:

Julie Hauser, The Hauser Group, (314) 436-9090