Jefferson City’s “Salute To America” Independence Day celebration is returning to form for this year – post-COVID - and organizers are expecting an enthusiastic return of participants.
“The early word is that hotels are booked,” said Penny Smith, the event coordinator. “I think we’re going to have a crowd.”
Several changes this year should be well received. With three years of renovation work completed at the capitol, the fireworks will return this year to their historical location, and viewing will again be available on the north side of the complex. The festival is also extended to 2 ½ days, beginning Friday afternoon and continuing through full days on Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s festival will also serve as host to a Missouri Bicentennial celebration. The Historic City of Jefferson group is partnering with the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion to host the Heritage Village on Madison Street in front off the Governor’s Mansion.
“The Heritage Village is going to be huge,” said Donna Deetz, a downtown businessperson and volunteer organizer. “The theme will be the bicentennial and it will take up the whole block in front of the Governor’s Mansion.”
Heritage Village activities will include a scavenger hunt featuring some of downtown’s historic sites; information of the revitalization efforts of some of the city’s historic buildings; books and other items for sale; information of the HCJ Tour of Historic Places of Worship which will take place Sept. 12; and a booth for sharing and collecting the oral history of local families.
Also new at this year’s festival will be an inaugural ax throwing tournament. The double-elimination tournament will have qualifying throws early in the weekend with the actual tournament on Sunday.
“We’re excited about the ax throwing,” Smith said. “It’s new, trendy, and we think will be well received.”
Also different this year will be the Route 66 car cruise. which will move from Broadway to the 200-300 blocks of High Street and fill up the space there.
The music acts cover a variety of styles and tastes, some familiar to Jefferson City, some in town for the first time.
“We think we have some really good entertainment lined up,” Smith said.
On Friday night “Apostle’s Creek” a Central Missouri group will appear on the Madison Street Stage. They specialize in vocal harmony and acoustic guitar, covering the gamut from oldies to country and 70s and 80s pop.
Saturday night on the main stage, “Boy Band Review” puts on a show that features the boy-band acts of the 90s, including NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block and Justin Timberlake. On the Beer Garden Stage, “Burning Bridges,” on of St. Louis’ newest country bands will cover the hottest new country.
Sunday night on the main stage, “Sounds of Summer” is a Beach Boys’ tribute band that will perform 30 familiar hits.