St. Louis To Mark Its 250th Anniversary With ‘Biggest Birthday Bash’

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - by Donna Andrews

A 250th birthday doesn’t come around every day but when it does, you want it to be a humdinger! And, in true St. Louis-style hospitality tradition, many of the major, blow-out-the-candles birthday events will be free to all. 

Here are the key events planned thus far (be sure to check out St. Louis' birthday website often as St. Louis area attractions continue to add special 250-themed activities to the calendar):

Feb. 14-16:  Birthday Bash Weekend. Was STL founded on Valentine’s Day or on the day after? Historians can’t agree so the city is making a weekend of it. National musical acts, a 25-foot-high flaming heart sculpture titled “Burnin’ Love,” luminary décor, light shows illuminating the park and spectacular fireworks displays will highlight this blow-out event in Forest Park.   

Re-enactors will bring St. Louis' founding to life along the Mississippi riverfront on Saturday, Feb. 15. They will also trace the broader influence that various cultures played in shaping St. Louis--the Osage, the Spanish and the French, including those from New Orleans and Quebec. 

To commemorate St. Louis’ French ties, French heritage awareness group Les Amis will place street signs with the original French names on streets in downtown St. Louis.  

Feb. 14:  Missouri History Museum Exhibit. A major, free exhibition commemorating the city's 250th anniversary will open at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Titled “250/250: 50 People; 50 Moments; 50 Places; 50 Images; 50 Objects,” the exhibit will showcase the richness, diversity and complexity of the city’s long history while telling stories of murderers and musicians, prostitutes and poets, composers and clowns. 

Displays will feature objects older than 250 years as well as some we still use today. Visitors can listen to first-hand accounts of both the big and small moments that have made St. Louis history and see images of St. Louisans at work and play throughout 250 years.

During opening weekend visitors can participate in interactive exhibits and activities, enjoy live musical performances and sample prime edibles from local food vendors.

July 4-6:  Fair Saint Louis. Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase officially transformed St. Louis from French to American, so it’s fitting to turn the Fourth of July 2014 into a birthday party for St. Louis and the entire nation. Fair Saint Louis, St. Louis’ long-time Fourth of July celebration, moves to Forest Park this year for an entirely new celebration experience. Nationally known music acts, a huge parade with birthday-themed floats, air shows and nightly fireworks ensure this joint celebration of St. Louis’ and our country’s births will be an event to remember.

Dec. 31: Kickoff of St. Louis' future. The birthday year culminates with fireworks, music and more during a fun-filled First Night that kicks off the start of St. Louis’ next 250 years. 

For more information about St. Louis’ Biggest Birthday Bash, visit stl250


TVRM’s Historic Steam Locomotive #4501 Is Ready For Tennessee Valley Railfest

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) on Wednesday announced the return of its iconic Steam Locomotive 4501 to operation. TVRM has been restoring Locomotive 4501 over the past three  years and she will make her public debut at Tennessee Valley Railfest on Sept. 6 and 7.  The locomotive last ran in 1998 and has patiently waited for a complete overhaul.  ... (click for more)

Rock Out Labor Day And Beyond In Tennessee

 If there’s one place travelers can get a music smorgasbord, it’s Tennessee. In each corner of the state and areas in between, music rooted in bluegrass, rock, soul, country, and gospel can be heard from porches in small towns to concert stadiums in burgeoning cities. From the nation’s biggest Labor Day celebration in Knoxville to celebrating local and national talent in Nashville ... (click for more)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)