GRANITE CITY — The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America is set for a big Fourth of July weekend.
The concert band from Scott Air Force Base will perform in three events in the St. Louis area, including the Patriots In The Park festival here on July 4. The band will perform from 7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at the main stage at Coolidge Middle School.
The USAF Band of Mid-America is the main entertainment of the Patriots In The Park festival, which will be in its 19th year. The band also will perform in Chesterfield, Mo., July 2 and in Alton the following night.
“It’s a 50-member concert band under the direction of 2nd Lt. Wilson Wise,” Granite City Park District director Dave Williams said. “We tried in the past to get them and they’re kind of hard to get. It’s our first year with them and we’re excited to have them coming.”
Then, fireworks will start going off at 9:15 p.m.
“9:15 is always our go time for what we believe is the best fireworks (show) in the Metro East and maybe in metropolitan St. Louis,” Williams said. “It’s a 30-minute choreographed show that’s set to music. So we’re excited about the events of the Fourth.”
The Patriots In The Park festival starts at 6 p.m. July 1 and ends at 5 p.m. July 5. This year’s theme is Pledge To Freedom.
Williams said he hopes Mother Nature will be kind to the festival again this year.
“The weather was fantastic last year,” the park district director said. “It was absolutely perfect.”
Carnival coupons can be purchased for $2, which is good for all rides, on July 1 and July 5. Arm bands can be purchased for $22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 2 and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 5.
“We have two arm band days and two matinee days, which makes it a lot more affordable to come to the carnival,” Williams said. “We’re excited. The show is building up to be a good one this year.”
Contemporary Christian artist Russ Taff will perform on the main stage at 6 p.m. July 4. Born in California, Taff released numerous albums, including “Beginnings” in 2014, “Faroe Islands” in 2011 and “Right Here Right Now” in 1999.
Also at the main stage will be a musical tribute to REO Speedwagon and a demonstration from the Mid-America Parachute Club.
The Chris Talley Trio will perform at 7:30 p.m. July 3 at the Centennial Pavilion in Wilson Park. The band has produced six CDs since its inception in 2000.
“They’re a bluegrass band,” Williams said. “I haven’t had them before. I don’t know them. They were actually scheduled last week to be here for a different event, which was Music Under The Stars, but it got rained out. I thought it was nice to plug them in on a Friday night.”
The car show is scheduled for July 5. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and ends at noon.
“There are 29 classes, counting the motorcycle,” said Joe Phillips, one of the car show’s coordinators. “It’s pretty much very popular because everybody goes there at Wilson Park and there’s always a carnival there for the Fourth of July, so it’s incorporated with the carnival.”
The County Fair Days event — where crafts and art displays are sold — is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4-5 at the Centennial Pavilion.
“We had a smaller version last year of one day and this year, we expanded it to two days,” Williams said.
The festival will also have a couple of athletic events — the 5K run July 3 and the softball tournament July 2-5.
The 5K run will begin at 8 a.m. at Wilson Park. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the cost is $25. Last year, Brady Rainwater won the men’s division and Christy Fansher placed first in the women’s division for the second year in a row.
The entry fee is $125 per team for the double-elimination softball tournament. All games will be played at Sykes Field.
Festival sponsors will be recognized about five minutes before the USAF Band of Mid-America performs July 4. Among the corporate sponsors for the festival are U.S. Steel, Gateway Regional Medical Center and Prairie Farms Dairy.