Missouri Salutes the USA
Jefferson City, Mo. — The Fourth of July. Independence Day. An iconic date in United States history. In Missouri, as in all of the states and territories, the celebrations take many forms, chiefly parades, carnivals and festivals, barbecues and picnics, concerts, and glorious fireworks displays. The Missouri Division of Tourism and VisitMO.com invite you to celebrate the birthday of the United States at festivities and activities across the Show-Me State.
As you travel in Missouri, celebrate with us at one of these outstanding Independence Day events. There are many opportunities from which to choose, and not just on July 4; some are held earlier, while others last beyond July 4. And let’s be clear, this is just a small sampling of what’s available. Whichever you attend, a great time will be had by everyone in your family. Happy birthday U.S.A.!
June 28-July 1:
Independence Day activities are the weekend before the Fourth, at Olde Glory Days, in Clinton. This old-fashioned celebration of our country’s birthday includes many activities, among them: free entertainment, a carnival, wiener-dog races, concerts, food, games, a parade, and mega-fireworks.
Jefferson City’s annual Salute to America gets underway Tuesday evening with the Salute to Heroes parade. Downtown streets are closed-off to accommodate Wednesday’s activities: a carnival; music concerts; beer gardens; a classic car show; games for the kids; food galore; a bald eagle and birds of prey presentation by the World Bird Sanctuary; and other special activities. A tremendous firework spectacular fills the air above the Missouri Capitol and the Missouri River.
Fort Leonard Wood invites you to join the Independence Day Celebrations at Gammon Field. Activities include military-vehicle displays; a horseshoe tournament; interactive games; watermelon-eating/seed-spitting contest; a car show; performances by the 399th Army Rock Band, and a concert by Trixie Delight; the U.S. Army Soldier Show; and a rousing fireworks display. Take your lawn chairs and/or blanket and enjoy this free event. Coolers, outside food and beverages, and pets are not allowed.
Downtown Columbia is the new site for Fire in the Sky. Children's activities take place at Flat Branch Park; two concerts (Ironweed, and the Norm Ruebling Band) take place on the main stage in Peace Park. The fireworks display will be launched from atop the Sixth and Cherry parking garage, downtown.
You can enjoy fireworks from shore and on the water at several venues in the Lake of the Ozarks area, including: Tan-Tar-A Resort, in Osage Beach; Lodge of Four Seasons Resort, in Lake Ozark; and Captain Ron’s (573-374-5852), in Sunrise Beach.
In Sedalia, relax in the grandstand for a Sedalia 4th of July Celebration at the State Fairgrounds. Enjoy an evening of special activities, including a flag presentation, a concert, and a big fireworks show.
The Civil War soldiers of Fort D, in Cape Girardeau, were very patriotic. On July 4, they celebrated by firing their rifles and cannon, eating a special meal with friends and civilians, and flying their flags proudly. Fourth at the Fort commemorates those activities. Fort D Historic Site is an original earthworks fort dating from 1861.
Take in the Salem July 4th Chamber Parade, at 6 p.m., in downtown Salem. Fireworks begin at dark, at the Dent County Commons.
In Cuba, Missouri, Hood Park is filled with festivities when the fireworks literally Light Up the Sky for Freedom.
East Prairie holds its annual Independence Day parade at 10 a.m.; a fireworks display begins at 9 p.m. (573-649-3057).
The town of Oran has held the annual Oran 4th of July Picnic for more than 100 years. Enjoy an old-fashioned church dinner; bingo; ice cream social; horseshoe tournaments; and fireworks.
July 2, 3, 4:
The Heritage & Freedom Fest, held at the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex, is O’Fallon’s largest festival of the year. It features national entertainment; regional bands; a carnival; activities for children; crafters; lots of great food; and two nights of spectacular fireworks.
The National Park Service holds the Jefferson Barracks Blast at the Jefferson Barracks Historic District, south of St. Louis. Enjoy music under the stars in the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater, and watch a brilliant fireworks display. Concessions are available.
Take in the 135th Veiled Prophet Parade, in downtown St. Louis. This annual parade is one of the most enduring family traditions in St. Louis. The parade features giant helium balloons; elaborate custom-built floats; a spirited competition among marching bands; and more than 100 entries.
July 4, 6, 7:
Fair Saint Louis is one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the Midwest. The 32nd annual event is held on the grounds of the Gateway Arch, overlooking the Mississippi River. Events kick off early July 4 (before the Veiled Prophet Parade), with a four-mile race and a one-mile family fun run. There are two air shows July 4 (noon and 3 p.m.), including top civilian performers and military aircraft. All three days, enjoy local and national entertainment, Kids Town, and other activities. Appearing on the main stage at 8 p.m.: Heart (July 4); Third Eye Blind (July 6); and Dierks Bentley (July 7). Each evening concludes with the star-spangled fireworks display. Note: The fair is not open on July 5.
Kirksville’s Red White and Blue Festival is filled with activities: apple-pie contest; antique car show; a pancake breakfast; bicycle races; a movie in the park; a parade; and a super fireworks display.
A tradition for 57 years, Hannibal, hometown of Mark Twain, has held National Tom Sawyer Days. A spectacular fireworks display celebrates the birth of the U.S.A. Activities include: the National Fence Painting Championships; a frog-jumping competition; Tom and Becky contest; an arts-and-crafts show; mud volleyball; concerts and entertainment; dancing; food; and the famous Hannibal Cannibal 10k/5k run and 5k walk.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in St. Louis, holds the 1862 Historic Fourth of July at the Old Courthouse. Volunteers and park rangers, dressed in historic period clothing present music, speeches, and weapon-firing demonstrations. There is a reading of the Declaration of Independence, along with several other 1862-era activities.
Take the family to Legacy Blast, a free fireworks extravaganza in Lee’s Summit. Food vendors, entertainers, inflatables, face painters and balloon artists fill Legacy Park; plus, there is a marvelous fireworks display, choreographed to music. Visitors may take their own food; however, alcohol, fireworks and grills are not allowed.
The aptly named town of Liberty lights up the sky at Liberty 4th Fest, on the square and at William Jewell College. Enjoy the all-American barbecue competition; beer garden; concerts; a parade; vendor booths; a car cruise; and bands. On July 4, fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. at William Jewell College.
Join the interpreters at Fort Osage, beside the Missouri River in Sibley, as they celebrate Independence Day at Fort Osage with musket and cannon demonstrations, patriotic speeches and interpretive demonstrations highlighting life on the early 19th century frontier.
Attend Independence Day at Missouri Town 1855, in Lee's Summit, and experience the 4th of July in an antebellum Missouri village as it was celebrated in the 1850s. A variety of activities for the entire family provides the setting for a fun-filled day. A special patriotic parade, where visitors join staff strolling through the village, highlights the day.
Jackson County's Fourth of July Appreciation Celebration is held at Longview Lake Beach, south of Kansas City. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Take the family for an evening of live music, food vendors, and be amazed by the fireworks display.
In Bethany, the Bethany 4th of July Celebration includes a picnic in the park at noon; a parade at 3 p.m.; a cake and ice cream social; a pet contest; and a garden contest. At 5 p.m., the Northwest Missouri State Fairgrounds opens, with food vendors on hand; fireworks start at dusk.
Parkville’s good-old-fashioned Parkville 4th of July Celebration includes a parade, a carnival, games, food, and fireworks.
In Joplin, July 4 festivities begin June 30, with the Independence Celebration at Route 66 Carousel Park. Local band Big Smitty will perform rock cover tunes leading up to a dazzling fireworks show. The concert and fireworks show are free and are scheduled from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Parking is $1 and proceeds will be donated to the United Way. Show up early and enjoy family fun with bumper cars, mini golf and amusement rides at the Carousel Park before the performance begins.
You can’t help but have a great time in Branson at Branson Landing when they present the annual Liberty Light Up Independence Day Celebration. The evening starts with a concert, featuring the Nashville band, “Chain Reaction–a Tribute to Journey.” Following the concert, the skies over Lake Taneycomo light up with a choreographed fireworks show–the grand finale will leave you breathless.
If you are in the Carthage area, find a comfy spot in Municipal Park for the city’s Celebration and Fireworks. The park contains grills and covered shelters; it is an ideal spot for a holiday barbecue.
In Branson, Silver Dollar City theme park turns red, white and blue, celebrating the nation’s birthday with a special opening ceremony; a morning salute to veterans; an old-fashioned ice cream social; and fireworks. This special event is part of National KidsFest, which runs thru July 22.
The town of Marshfield holds one of the longest running Independence Day Parade (133rd annual) events west of the Mississippi River. The parade kicks off the Independence Day Rodeo and Fireworks celebration, held at the fairgrounds.
In Springfield, Fireworks at the Field includes a full afternoon of activities in various locations, culminating with America’s pastime—baseball. At Hammons Field, watch the Springfield Cardinals play the Midland Rockhounds; after the game, stay for a concert by the band, “Members Only.” Then, keep your seat for a tremendous fireworks show.
Of course, there are a lot more Independence Day activities and events all across the Show-Me State. This is a time for everyone to be thankful for the freedom we all share, so find an event near you and celebrate America. Oh . . and be careful out there.
To find thousands of attractions, events, lodging choices and places to eat, check out Missouri’s only official tourism website, VisitMO.com. While browsing the website, you can order a free copy of the 2012 Missouri Travel Guide, which is also available by calling 800-519-4800. And yes, there is a free app for that—“Official Missouri Travel Guide.”
About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to www.VisitMO.com.
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