JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Salute to America event organizers are making additions to the celebration to get the weekend festivities back to 'normal' after the smaller crowds that were drawn in last year.
Despite not having carnival rides this year, organizers are making it possible to have carnival games and an inflatable park.
The company hired to run the carnival rides had to back out due to staffing shortages.
David Thompson, Festival Vice Chair, said the event addition of a "Freedom Fun Run" will be added Saturday and a weekend-long ax-throwing competition to continue to attract people to the downtown events.
During the 2020 celebration, organizers reduced the number of vendors in order to spread them out and encourage social distancing. Instead of the typical 70-plus vendors, there were only 48.
Thompson said despite the recent spike in Covid-19 cases across Missouri, the vendors will be back to normal and no coronavirus restrictions will be in place.
Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said there is plenty of space downtown for people to spread out so they expect everyone to take precautions
Thompson said that one of the best parts about being downtown is benefitting the businesses around the area that have suffered through the pandemic.
"It will benefit everyone because we know that when people are coming here, they're coming downtown, eating and shopping at our restaurants and shops, plus visiting the vendors and likely going to other places in town," said Tergin.
The weather has been an issue, but Thompson doesn't expect that to affect the weekend activities. "It is supposed to rain tomorrow (Thursday) but hopefully that we will be the end of it for this weekend and we won't have any weather issues," said Thompson.
Tergin also said with the construction to the Capitol building complete, people will be happy to have the additional stage at the front of the Capitol to listen to live music and watch fireworks.
According to the Salute to America event schedule, thing will run Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday the fun run kicks off the day at 8:00 a.m. then several concerts wrap up at 10:00 p.m. Several events on Sunday start around 12:00 p.m. and the firework show will end the night starting at 9:45 p.m.