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St. Louis Festival Beats Freedom Festival

Dave Sjullie

The Gazette

July 14, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    Once again, I see the BBQ Holdup started off the Freedom Festival, and set the tone for the entire festival. You buy lots of buttons so you only have to bring a moderately fat wallet to the events.

    As the years pass fewer events are free, and you wear your button for a discount. That’s why our family chooses to attend the largest threeday Fourth of July Festival, Fair St. Louis. Pay $10 apiece to see the Beach Boys here in good ole Cedar Rapids? No way, it’s free at Fair St. Louis.

    In fact the Boys have played the fair five times all for free. Or try these names: Four Tops (four times), Bob Hope, Dionne Warwick, Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton, Bill Cosby, Oak Ridge Boys, all twice. Others who have appeared include Tom Jones, REO Speedwagon, Chicago, Smokey Robinson, Clint Black, James Brown and Patti LaBelle. This year the Black Eyed Peas, Four Tops, Oak Ridge Boys and Ted Nugent were the featured acts all for free.

    Along with three air shows daily, more than 150 food and beverage vendors and between 6,000 and 9,000 fireworks shells being shot off four barges. The display rates as the third best in the nation behind Disney’s and Macy’s in New York, all for free.

    In addition there is a night air show with fireworks shot from a plane.

    The only money you spend is what you choose to spend. You can even bring in your own food and drink, just no glass or alcohol, but you can buy beer from several vendors.

    Imagine laying your blanket or folding chairs down under the arch watching national acts and one of the top fireworks displays in the country.

    Meet me in St. Louis next year.

    Dave Sjullie