It’s time once again to Celebrate Wildwood but the party on Aug. 24 is all about you. From the parade in the morning until the fireworks at night, there’s a wide range of activities to entertain you all day long. So grab the family [sans any pets] and your friends and head to Wildwood Town Square at the intersection of Taylor and Main Street for West County’s last official festival of summer.
|Schedule of Events • Saturday, Aug. 24 |
10 a.m. Parade
11:30 a.m. Opening Ceremonies
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Scouting Experience
11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Kid’s Activities
Booth Area [including craft booths, book authors, demonstrations and exhibits, and business and organization booths]
11 a.m.-9 p.m. City Information and History Tent
11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Food Court and Vendors
Beer & Wine Garden
11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Wildhorse Creek Band on the Main Stage
6:30 p.m. Announcements
6:45-9:15 p.m. Fat Pocket on the Main Stage
9:15 p.m. Fireworks [approximate time]
Celebrate Wildwood is proudly sponsored by Stonecrest of Wildwood,
Three French Hens and West Newsmagazine.
Don’t let the parade pass you by
Who doesn’t love a parade? And this parade is one of the best kept secrets in West County, easily accessible with good viewing opportunities all along the route.
The parade steps off from Wildwood Crossing promptly at 10 a.m. and continues to Eastgate Lane, so it’s best to set up your lawn chairs or blankets on Manchester Road between Old Fairway Drive and Taylor Road, or on Taylor Road between Manchester Road and Main Street. Then, sit back and enjoy the fun. Be sure to bring a bag for candy and other goodies that parade participants may be handing out along the route.
Activities for all ages
After the parade, head over to Town Center for a full day of fun beginning at 11 a.m.
Kids will enjoy inflatable bounce houses, a giant water slide, a rock-climbing wall, face painting, balloon artists, aerial trapeeze fun, and pony rides. Plus local Boy Scouts will be on site to provide a range of outdoor-themed activities, including the popular Boy Scout STEM Lab, Pinewood Derby racing, tomahawk throwing and a slingshot skills activity. New this year will be reenactors from the 8th Missouri Infantry, who will demonstrate what life was like in the 1880s. While the majority of the kids activities will run from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m., the Scout activities will end at 4 p.m.
For the adults, Celebrate Wildwood offers a wide range of vendor and craft booths, which might make the festival a perfect time to do some early holiday gift shopping. Artisan products include clothing, jewelry, soap, creams and lotions, holiday décor, pottery, sculptures, repurposed wooden furniture, garden and lawn art, toys, quilts and more. Craft booths will be open from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Learn something new
One of the festival’s more recent and popular additions has been the opportunity for guests to visit with a host of local authors. Attending this year are Clark Beim-Esche with his book “Calling on the Presidents: Tales Their Houses Tell”; Star Huddleston, whose children’s book tells the tale of an amphibian in search of himself; Dee Livers and her St. Louis-based adventure series for children; Jana Meehan, with a variety of fiction/nonfiction “good reads”; James Merkel, whose non-fiction books are nonetheless filled with colorful St. Louis characters; and Della Remington, whose vampire thrillers will haunt your dreams.
The Wildwood Historic Preservation Commission also returns this year, sharing space with the City Information Tent and debuting the latest chapter of the city’s written history. Spiral bound copies of “Celebrate the History of Wildwood Missouri” will be given out free of charge while supplies last.
“The newest chapter covers the period between 1920 and 1990,” said commission chair Paul Wojciechowski. He added that while the book is free, donations will be accepted with the goal of reconstructing the Essen log cabin.
“You might remember the cabin as the one that was stolen a few years ago,” he said. The cabin will be reconstructed on a yet-to-be-determined piece of land.
The city’s written history is a collaborative effort between the commission and the Wildwood Historical Society, who also will have a presence at the festival.
The City Information and History Tent will be open all day from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Want to learn more about some of the businesses and organizations that call Wildwood home? Stop by the informational booths of Fellowship of Wildwood, Lifegate Baptist Church, Kiwanis Club of Meramec Valley Community, MO81st Air Force Junior ROTC – Lafayette High, Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, START [St. Louis Teens Aid Refugees Today], Rockwood Drug Free Coalition, Stonecrest Senior Living Center, St. Louis Community College – Wildwood. Living Water Academy, WE ARE Wildwood and more.
Food and drink
All that playing, shopping and talking might make you hungry and thirsty. Thankfully, Celebrate Wildwood has your food and beverage needs covered with hearty offerings from Daddy O’s Cheesesteaks, Neto Pizza, Shish Kabob Guys, Super Smokers, Union Baptist Church fish sandwiches and the Whatup Dog hot dog cart.
Libations and other refreshments once again will be offered by the Pond Athletic Association along with Small Batch Winery, and Milk and Honey. To satisfy your sweet tooth, choose from Kona Ice, Freezing Point ice cream, The Nutty Sisters’ cinnamon roasted nuts, T and M Kettle Korn, or Poffcakes, mini Dutch pancakes topped with fresh strawberries, Nutella, maple syrup, powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate topping. Stop by one or all, and don’t forget The Big Squeeze, which will have mouthwatering, fresh-squeezed lemonade and soft hot pretzels for sale.
Looking for something a bit more healthy? Micro Meadows, local urban farmers who produce about 13 varieties of microgreens, will be offering superfood salads, so be sure to check them out.
Celebrate Wildwood once again is offering two free concert experiences that will have attendees tempted to take center stage and show off their dance moves.
From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Wildhorse Creek Band takes center stage on Main Street. The band has been described by Guitar World/Extreme Guitar Magazine as “a melting pot of country, Bluegrass and Americana in the America/Eagles vein. They feature beautiful vocal harmonies, percussive strumming, fluid lead playing and solid bass playing.”
Homegrown in Wildwood, they’ve been playing concerts all across the state since 1993 and have performed with The Marshall Tucker Band, Martina McBride, Monte Montgomery and more. The current trio includes Rob Compton [of Bobaloo], Pat Stevenson and either Rob Compton Jr. or Jim Keefe [of Rockin’ chair]. If you’ve heard them before, you know that sitting and listening with some food and drink from a nearby food vendor is a great way to spend a late summer day.
As day gives way to night, Fat Pocket takes the stage. This high-energy party band plays everything from 60s’ classics to today’s chart-topping hits. No musical genre is off the table – and that’s what audiences love. FatPocket performs from 6:45-9 p.m. and no doubt will have audience members out of their seats and dancing.
It’s hard to follow a group like FatPocket unless you do it with a bang – literally.
Immediately following FatPocket’s last song, Celebrate Wildwood will light up the night sky with fireworks. Organizers say the best spots for people to view the fireworks show will be along Main Street but they caution, “plan to arrive early if you’re not already in Town Square.”
Parking for the event will be available in the Main Street parking garage, located near the Wildwood Hotel. Visitors also can park in on-street parking spots and at the nearby New Community Church, 16801 Manchester Road within the city’s Town Center stretch. Specifically for the event, a path will be created through the adjacent field leading to the festival from the church’s parking lot, so attendees don’t have to worry about walking along Manchester Road.
What to bring
Attendees are prohibited from bringing glass bottles or pets to the event but are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for watching the concerts and fireworks show.
Many food and craft vendors and surrounding businesses will accept credit and debit cards. If cash is needed, an ATM is available at the Bank of America, located a few stores down from Dierbergs in Wildwood Town Center.