Nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks exploding high in the sky. Whether you plan to celebrate with family, friends and a backyard barbecue or larger festivities characterized by plenty of pomp and circumstance, we’ve rounded up the best places in St. Louis to enjoy this uniquely American holiday – and of course view some of the most impressive displays of fireworks our area has to offer.
1. Fair St. Louis: Fair St. Louis moves from the Arch grounds to Forest Park this year, meaning that fairgoers will be able to celebrate Independence Day – and our city’s 250th birthday – on the same grounds that hosted the 1904 World’s Fair. The free event, which takes place July 3, 4 and 5, will feature live music, the annual VP Parade, a Family Zone and, as always, nightly displays of majestic fireworks.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fairsaintlouis.org.
2. St. Charles Riverfest: The city of St. Charles also hosts a popular 3-day 4th of July celebration, this one at Frontier Park along the banks of the Missouri River. At St. Charles Riverfest July 3-5, visitors to historic St. Charles can enjoy live music, food and craft vendors, a parade and a beautiful display of fireworks exploding high above the river.
3. Mississippi River Fireworks in Alton: The grounds of the Alton Riverfront open at5:00 p.m. on July 3 for the Annual Fireworks Festival, which features food, a beer tent, entertainment and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. To learn more about all of the family-friendly fireworks displays on the Illinois side of the river – including Family Fun Day and Fireworks in Godfrey and Fireworks on the Waterfront in Grafton, visitwww.greatriverroad.com.
4. Webster Groves Community Days: Despite being a smaller community festival,Webster Groves Community Days is one of the most popular Independence Day celebrations in the St. Louis area. Enjoy carnival rides, barbecue, fireworks and many more family-friendly activities at Memorial Park July 2-5.
5. Ferguson Fourth of July Festival: At the 33rd annual Fourth of July Festival in Ferguson on Friday, July 4, families are invited to celebrate with kid-friendly attractions like pony rides and a petting zoo, as well as food, beverage and game booths and several live bands. The one-day festival will be held in January-Wabash Memorial Park, and conclude with fireworks at approximately 9:15 p.m.
6. Heritage and Freedom Fest in O’Fallon: Free concerts, thrilling carnival rides, a Kids’ Zone and fantastic fireworks are all part of the fun at the Heritage and Freedom Fest at the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex in O’Fallon July 2-4. A special family night specifically geared towards kids will be held on Wednesday, July 2 from 5-10 p.m.
7. Community Fireworks: Most communities in the St. Louis area host their own firework displays, so if you have young children or prefer to avoid the crowds, these represent an ideal way to celebrate in a low-key fashion. Grab blankets and lawn chairs and look for the perfect viewing spot, which – if you’re really lucky – may turn out to be in your own back yard.
Here are details on a few community fireworks schedules:
Ellisville: The city's annual Fourth of July Festival is from 6 to 10:30 p.m. in Bluebird Park with musical entertainment by the Smash Band.
Kirkwood: Fireworks start at dark at Kirkwood City Park on July 4
Jefferson Barracks Park: Music will be be provided by the U.S. Air Force Band at the Veteran's Memorial Amphitheatre at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9.
Chesterfield: Children's activities and live music begin at 7 p.m. at Chesterfield Mall (in the parking lot) with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Columbia, IL: The day-long festival begins at 11 a.m. with a bike parade, food and refreshments throughout the day, and fireworks at dusk.
Eureka: Children's activities, a car show and food sales begin at 7 p.m., in Lion's Park followed by a concert at 7:30 and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
How do you celebrate the 4th of July? Do you visit one of our many local festivals, or do you watch the fireworks from home?
Alyssa Chirco is a freelance writer, mother and margarita lover, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for STL Parent, she is Contributing Editor at Parenting Squad, and covers parenting, health and lifestyle topics for publications across the country. She recently moved from the suburbs of St. Louis to a small town in rural Jefferson County, where she is learning to survive with no Target or Starbucks in sight. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaChirco
Sprinkle in a fun playtime for your toddler or preschooler at Sweetplay Happy Hour. This creative and tasty play experience includes cookie decorating and sensory play and is designed for children 5 and under.
Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House, MADE for Kids for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers and their parents and caregivers. Toddler Tinker Time is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am. to noon at The Magic House, MADE for kids. It's free with admission.