July begins with parades, fun, and fireworks at the many 4th of July celebrations in the St. Louis area. But after Independence Day, there are still dozens of other events to keep you busy in addition to free movies and concerts going on all summer long.
Fair St. Louis is one of the biggest events of the summer and one of the nation's biggest Independence Day celebrations, spanning three days. The free event takes place at the Arch grounds in Gateway Arch National Park on July 4, July 5, and July 6. The fair offers a chance to celebrate Independence Day with music, food, children's activities, and fireworks.
America's Birthday Parade
America’s Birthday Parade begins on July 4, 2019, at the intersection of 20th and Market Streets at 9:30 a.m. and proceeds east. This year’s parade will feature 14 great marching bands from across the region, 21 beautiful floats, many huge helium-filled character balloons, and dozens of great marching units. There will also be special entertainment throughout the parade.
Eckert's Orchards in Belleville, Illinois, hosts free summer concerts on Friday and Saturday nights in June and the first weekend of July. Performers include The Baker Family and the Jeremiah Johnson Band with music beginning at 7 p.m. There is a play area nearby for children who want to get up and move during the music, and food and drinks are available for purchase at the outdoor patio and restaurant (no outside food and drink, please). Leashed dogs are OK.
The Whitaker Music Festival offers free music at the Missouri Botanical Garden every Wednesday night during the summer. In July, featured performers include Madra and Reggie Thomas, Boomtown United, Anne and the Fur Trappers, Dave Grelle's Playadors and Starwolf.
Admission to the garden is free on Wednesdays after 5 p.m., and the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner and gather around the Cohen Amphitheater. Food and drinks are for sale at the garden.
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Forest Park's Muny, America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, is celebrating its 100th season. Shows for July 2019 include Singin' in the Rain, Annie, Jersey Boys, and Gypsy.
Tickets for all shows are $15 to $100, or arrive early (gates open at 7 p.m.), enjoy the free entertainment in Lichtenstein Plaza, and sit in the free seats (last nine rows of the theater).
The Gateway Festival Orchestra is performing free concerts Sundays in July. Because the Brookings Quadrangle, where they usually have the concerts, will be unavailable due to construction, they are moving three of the four concerts to the 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity in University City.
Concerts in 2019:
Sunday, July 14, 2019, 560 Music Center at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 18, 2019, Chesterfield Amphitheater at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 21, 2019, 560 Music Center at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 28, 2019, 560 Music Center at 7:30 p.m.
Free Movies at the Art Museum
Enjoy a free outdoor movie at Art Hill in Forest Park. The St. Louis Art Museum's Outdoor Film Series is held Fridays in July. The lawn opens at 6 p.m. and the movies begin at 9 p.m. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs, and a cooler with food and drinks. Alcohol and well-behaved pets are permitted. The art museum's main level and restrooms are open until 11 p.m.
The St. Louis area's premier food truck event happens once a month in Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis. Sauce Magazine hosts Food Truck Fridays. In 2019, July 12 is the evening to put on your calendar.
More than two dozen local food trucks line up along the park's Southwest Drive to serve Mexican, barbecue, Italian, and many other types of cuisine. There's also live music and craft beer. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The 2019 Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase at Brown Hall on the Washington University campus is the venue to show off the work of St. Louis directors and filmmakers. You can take in dozens of feature films, shorts, and documentaries during the festival from Friday, July 12, 2019, to Sunday, July 21, 2019. There are free seminars for anyone interested in making movies and a fun closing-night awards party held in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.
The St. Louis Americana Festival held on July 6th, 2019, at the Atomic Cowboy Pavillion, has become a premier event in St. Louis showcasing American Roots music. You'll hear some great jazz, rock n' roll, folk, blues, country, and soul.
There's much more than music happening so check out the live art by Killer Napkins and pop-up shops from May's Place and By Jack. The Atomic Cowboy restaurant has seated dining inside until 10 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Learn all about tiny hummingbirds at the Hummingbird Festival at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois. Educators from the Illinois Audubon Society will be on hand to answer questions. Visitors can also "adopt" and release a hummingbird. The festival takes place Saturday, July 13, 2019,
and runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission is free.