St. Charles, an affluent suburb northwest of St. Louis, Missouri, celebrates Independence Day with an annual event called Riverfest. The celebration includes a carnival, food trucks, live music, family-friendly activities, a fireworks show over the Missouri River, and a parade along Main Street.
Where to Go for Riverfest
Riverfest takes place every year over the Independence Day holiday. In 2019, due to flooding, the dates are August 30-31, 2019. Typically, the event is held on July 3 from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and continues on July 4 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The celebration spreads out in Frontier Park, on the banks of the Missouri River in historic St. Charles, located just 30 minutes northwest of downtown St. Louis, making it an easy drive for anyone living or visiting in the surrounding St. Louis area.
Parking is available at the Lewis & Clark Boat House lot, Saint Charles City Hall parking garage, on Main Street, and the public parking lots around town. Shuttle service will not be available for the Fourth of July festivities.
One of the most popular events at St. Charles Riverfest is the parade, which leaves from Bales Park at 10 a.m., heads south on N. Main, takes a right on Tecumseh, left on N. Second Street, left on Clark, and right on Main Street. The parade features marching bands, floats, and military honor guards. It lasts two hours, with the participants making their way down Main Street at about 10:45 a.m. If you want to be in the front row, get there very early in the morning and secure your spot with lawn chairs, blankets, and patriotic flags. Because the event was postponed due to flooding, the parade will not happen this year.
Riverfest offers live music from local bands on the Jaycee Stage in Frontier Park. All of the concerts are free; just bring a blanket or lawn chair, and find a spot near the stage. Music includes the St. Charles City Band, Ticket to the Beatles, Petty Cash Junction, and Dogs of Society.
Riverfest is a celebration for the whole family, and there are plenty of events for kids during the day. There is a children's area with arts and crafts, puppet shows, balloons, and interactive games. The children's area is located east of the Katy Depot in Frontier Park. It's open on July 3 from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and July 4 from noon to 10:30 p.m.
The highlight of Riverfest is the Independence Day fireworks display, held on July 4 (this year held on August 31) at 9:20 p.m. The show lasts for about 20 minutes. The fireworks are launched from a barge on the Missouri River and can be seen from anywhere in Frontier Park. You can also get a good view from Main Street and other areas of historic St. Charles. This is the finale event and the area gets crowded quickly, so come early to find the best spot.