The 46th annual Arnold Days Festival will offer more bang – with three nights of fireworks and new activities for people of all ages.
The festival is set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 14-16, with most activities at Arnold City Park, on Bradley Beach Road off Jeffco Boulevard near the Meramec River.
Teresa Kohut, recreation supervisor for the Arnold Parks and Recreation Department, which puts on the event, said she expects the festival to be better than ever.
“We’re constantly trying to upgrade it and reinvent it a little bit, so people will see new things, and there’s definitely a reason to be there,” she said. “We try to make it be 100 percent the whole time we’re open, and we’re trying to involve more community organizations.
“It’s such a fun thing; we love it and enjoy it so much. We’re happy the park didn’t flood (after last weekend’s heavy rain), and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. So, we’re excited about it. For the parks department, it’s one of the best opportunities we have to showcase our staff and what we’re capable of putting on for our community.”
Arnold Days will include carnival rides; games; vendor and food booths; a car and bike show; live music; woodcarving demonstrations; and a variety of children’s activities, like the new Nerf War games and the always popular fishing tournament.
The festival also will include a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday, beginning at the Fox C-6 Service Center, 849 Jeffco Blvd., and ending at the park. Both the Fox and Seckman high school marching bands will perform, and a $100 cash prize will be awarded to the best entry.
Fireworks will be at about 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
The car and bike show will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, sponsored by the Arnold Police Officers Association, with prizes awarded in several categories.
Carnival rides will be open Friday through Sunday at the park. Craft and vendor booths also will be open Friday through Sunday, and there will be plenty of food trucks and other food vendors to satisfy every craving.
Live music will be part of the festivities, with Dance Floor Riot taking the stage on Friday night, the Joe Dirt and the Dirty Boys Band playing Saturday night and Dr. Zhivegas finishing up the festival Sunday evening.
The We Are One Community Choir will sing at 2 p.m. Saturday and will return that night to sing the national anthem before the start of the fireworks show.
In addition, the annual Arnold Days Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held Saturday morning at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Arnold. Barbara O’Connor, the wife of retired Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor, who was shot in the head and wounded by a burglary suspect, will be the keynote speaker.
The Arnold Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday.
A new children’s activity – Nerf Wars – will be held this year, with sessions from 5-10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 2-8 p.m. Sunday.
The annual Arnold Days Children’s Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday morning at the Arnold Park lake, sponsored by the Arnold-Imperial Optimist Club, the Arnold Branch of the Jefferson County Library and the St. Louis Longbeards, which will also offer children’s activities on Saturday, like birdhouse-making and BB gun and archery shooting.
This year, the Arnold Parks and Recreation Department has budgeted $100,942 for the festival, including about $50,000 for fireworks. SSM Health has donated $6,000 to sponsor some Arnold Days activities, along with other parks department events, Kohut said.
Free parking will be available in Arnold City Park from Friday through Sunday.
“The parking is going to be improved since Fourth of July,” Kohut said. “We have additional parking (in the park), and we have a new plan we hope will make it easier to get out of the park (when the festival ends each night).”
No coolers, alcoholic beverages or glass containers will be allowed in the park during the festival, and only service animals will be allowed.
The Arnold Days Root Beer Foam Fest, which is sponsored by the Arnold Chamber of Commerce and includes a 10K, a 5K and a 1-mile run/walk, was held Sunday, Sept. 9, at Arnold City Park.
For more information about the Arnold Days Festival, call the Arnold parks department at 636-282-2380.