July kicks off with a parade and fireworks spectacular in the Gateway City, but the fun doesn't stop after Independence Day in St. Louis. Post-July 4 activities include a host of free concerts, music festivals, movie screenings, and food truck gatherings. Many of 2020's events, however, have been canceled. Check details below and websites of the organizers for more information.
Fair St. Louis is one of the biggest events of the summer and one of the nation's grandest Independence Day celebrations, spanning three days. The free event would normally take place with music, food, children's activities, and fireworks at the Arch grounds in Gateway Arch National Park over the holiday weekend, but in 2020, the celebration will occur virtually. Local musicians will perform starting at 10 a.m. on July 4 on Fair St. Louis' Facebook page.
America's Birthday Parade
This event has been canceled in 2020. America’s Birthday Parade is a century-old tradition that has been produced by the Veiled Prophet of St. Louis since 1878. On the morning of July 4, starting at 9:30 a.m., a procession of marching bands, helium-filled character balloons, and floats make their way from the intersection of 20th and Market Streets throughout the downtown area.
Eckert's Free Summer Concerts
This event is on hold for 2020. Eckert's Orchards in Belleville, Illinois, hosts free summer concerts on Friday and Saturday nights in June and the first weekend of July. Past performers include the Baker Family and the Jeremiah Johnson Band. 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 or drink are permitted). Dogs are welcome so long as they're leashed.
While the 2020 Whitaker Music Festival has been canceled, this summer series usually offers free music at the Missouri Botanical Garden on Wednesday nights throughout the season. Past performers have included 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. Guests may bring lawn chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner as they gather around the Cohen Amphitheater. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the Botanical Garden, too.
Forest Park's Muny, America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, features a robust lineup of performances every year, but its 2020 season has been canceled. Past performers have included Singin' in the Rain, Annie, Jersey Boys, and Gypsy. Tickets for shows usually range between $15 and $100, but there is also free entertainment in Lichtenstein Plaza and free seats in the last nine rows of the theater.
The Gateway Festival Orchestra performs free concerts on Sundays throughout the summer, but the series has been canceled in 2020. So, instead of getting together in person, the Gateway Festival Orchestra has uploaded a number of past performances to its YouTube channel so that the show can go on virtually this year.
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 on Fridays in July, but attendees should check the website for updates and cancelations. The lawn typically 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, hosted by Sauce Magazine, happens once a month in Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis. May and June's events were canceled, but July's event is slated to take place on Friday, July 10. 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.
In 2020, the annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase will take place entirely online. It usually occupies Brown Hall on the Washington University campus, but this year, you can participate via Cinema St. Louis' website. This event showcases the work of local directors and filmmakers through a series of screenings. It features dozens of feature films, shorts, and documentaries, all free to watch. There are usually also free seminars for anyone interested in making movies. 2020's virtual event will be held July 10 through 19.
St. Louis Americana Festival
The St. Louis Americana Festival 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, but there's much more than music happening at this annual festival. You'll often run across live art installations and pop-up shops at the St. Louis Americana Festival, held on July 10 and 11, 2020, at the Off Broadway music venue. Tickets are $15 or $25 for both nights.
The Hummingbird Festival will be held on July 11 at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois. Educators from the Illinois Audubon Society will be catching and banding the birds from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visitors can also "adopt" and release a hummingbird. Admission to the festival is free.