Since October, a group of University City residents has been volunteering its time and energy to put together a community carnival called Fair UCity.
The event is slated to take place on Memorial Day weekend--Sunday May 29, and Monday May 30, at Heman Park. The entrance to the fair will be off Midland Boulevard.
University City Mayor Shelley Welsch told University City Patch that she had touched on the idea of a community carnival during her last campaign. "One of the things I said I wanted to do, a big thing, was to work on various projects in an effort to build community," Welsch said. "I think we have a great community, a very diverse community, but I don't think we always do the best job in bringing people together, so that we're crossing paths."
She eventually learned that U City had a tradition of carnivals. Longtime resident Elsie Glickert told Welsch that U City used to have a community carnival 30 years ago in Heman Park. There was Fair in the Square, a big event that took place in front of City Hall, that stopped a number of years ago.
Melcine Henderson, chairwoman, of Fair UCity said the carnival aims to bring together youth and culture with "food, fun, activities and games for all ages."
The Fair UCity Carnival will kick off on Sunday with a parade beginning at noon. All neighborhoods, schools, religious organizations, nonprofits and businesses are invited to take part. People are already planning their lawn chair brigades, baby stroller brigades, wheelchair brigades, school marching bands and street performers. The parade route will be just more than one mile and will begin at Jackson Park Elementary School. The theme for the parade is “Celebrate UCity.”
The carnival is also holding an art contest for children from preschool to high school. The theme of the contest? Celebrate U City. It's a chance for children to share their feelings about University City. There will be four age groups--and prizes will be awarded in each age group. Contest organizers hope to display all entries in the Children's Art Tent at the fair. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 30.
As for the musical entertainment, the Heather Dawn Band, Fanfare, a jazz singer, and the UCH jazz band, are some of the acts slated to perform.
Currently, 35 vendors have been booked for the fair. Henderson hopes to sign another 15 to reach her goal of 50. As for food, she said a variety of tasty treats wil be offered, from hot dogs and brats to barbecue, fish, chicken and Oriental food.
There will be 12 carnival rides, for teens and little kids and a beer garden for the adults. The beer garden will be done in partnership with Schlafly Bottleworks in Brentwood. Profit from the beer garden is intended to serve as seed money for next year's fair.
Tickets for Fair UCity will cost $1.25 each. Attractions and food will range in price from one to five tickets. Tickets can be purchased on the days of the carnival or ahead of time by contacting email@example.com or 314-505-8696.
Some 20 artists have committed to showing their works. Community organizations can buy a booth for $50.00 a day.
"I hope this will be an ongoing yearly event that everyone would love to come," said Henderson. "It would be back to our old tradition that we had before. It's something that we would like to continue forever."
Henderson said the fair is being held at Heman Park so as not to interfere with businesses in the Loop. Though Henderson added she hopes the Loop business come aboard and join the fair.
"It saddens me that I have not heard from most of our business district regarding the fair. It would be an opportunity for them to give coupons and spread their business around... hopefully they will come forth and join us in this endeavor," Henderson said.
The fair is being organized by community volunteers and is being funded solely by donations from the community. Henderson said more money is still needed to cover a variety of needs including Porta-Potties, tents, entertainment, security and a fireworks display.
Mayor Welsch said she expects a couple of thousand people will attend the fair, and people from around the region are welcome.
"We want this to be not just for the U City community but for the region. There's no carnival like this, on this weekend in this part of St. Louis County" said Welsch.
Henderson said volunteers are also needed to help out with the fair. She said people are needed to man the parking lots, the first aid tent and the lost and found tent, as well as the beer garden. Volunteers will receive a free fair t-shirt. Click here to see volunteer opportunities.
The next Fair U City organizing committee meeting will be held on Tuesday May 3rd from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Old Library Building, 630 Trinity Avenue.
Interested volunteers can contact Fair UCity at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-505-8696.
Sunday, May 29: 1pm to 9pm
Monday, May 30: 11am to 7pm