The Veiled Prophet Parade in St. Louis

A July 4th Tradition in the Gateway City

VP Parade in downtown St. Louis
••• Photo by Dave Null/Flickr/Creative Commons

Every year, St. Louis celebrates Independence Day with Fair Saint Louis and the Veiled Prophet Parade. The VP Parade has been a tradition in the city for 135 years. Here's everything you need to know to enjoy this year's parade.

When and Where

The 2017 VP Parade is Saturday, July 1, at 9:30 a.m., in downtown St. Louis. The parade starts at Broadway and Market just west of the Old Courthouse. It travels west on Market Street ending at Market and 20th near Union Station.

If you can't make it down for the parade, you can always watch the festivities live on KMOV-TV, Channel 4.

What You'll See

The VP Parade has all of the things you'd expect to see. There are dozens of units in the parade, including marching bands, floats, balloons, clowns, military honor guards and more. The theme for this year's parade is "Great Things Are Happening." It takes more than an hour for all of the participants to make their way down the parade route.

After the Parade

Of course, the VP Parade is just the beginning of St. Louis' biggest July 4th celebration. Festivities get underway at Fair Saint Louis in Forest Park on July 2. The fair will once again be at Art Hill because of the ongoing construction project at the Gateway Arch. The three-day fair features free concerts, giant fireworks displays and more. For more information, including the fair schedule and this year's entertainment lineup, see my Guide to Fair Saint Louis 2017.

For even more ways to celebrate Independence Day, check out the 15 Top July 4th Celebrations in the St. Louis Area.

Parking and Transportation

Having the VP Parade and Fair Saint Louis in two different locations this year should ease parking problems downtown. The Cardinals are in town playing the Nationals, but the game doesn't start until 6:15 p.m., so that should not be an issue for parade parking.

Some good options for parking are the Stadium East and West garages near Busch Stadium, the S&H surface lots at 4th Street and Cerre, and the parking lots near Laclede's Landing and the Dome.