ST. JAMES — As the sweet aroma of grapes fill the air and "mom and pop" grape stands along Interstate 44 open for business, the St. James Chamber of Commerce volunteers prepare for yet another year of celebration.
The 80th annual Grape and Fall Festival, which has a theme of "Proud of the Past...Poised for the Future," will be packed with activities Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 4-7.
Each evening of the festival, a featured event will provide entertainment for the entire family.
The Miss St. James Pageant will start the festival off with the crowning of the 2013 Grape and Fall Festival queen on Wednesday evening, Sept. 4, at the St. James Middle School. The pageant starts at 7 p.m.
From the Ozark mountains of Missouri, the multi-award-winning Link family band, Link Union, will inspire its audience with "old country, old rock, pop, patriotic, spiritual, celtic, original and mountain music." The group will perform Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.
FFA and 4-H youth have spent the year preparing their livestock and small animals for the Junior Livestock Show and Sale, which will begin with the Small Animal Show Thursday evening, Sept. 5.
4-H youth will also have exhibits on display to showcase their creativity. There also will be 4-H demonstration as youth develop their skills in public speaking.
Back by popular demand, the Ozarks Highlands Old Tractor Association will feature tractors built between 1938 and 1959. The pull will start at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6.
Saturday, Sept. 7, is jam-packed with events, starting with the ever popular street market at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., attendees are invited to pull up a lawn chair to watch the 80th annual Grape and Fall Festival parade.
Longtime St. James area resident Bob Edwards has been named the parade grand marshal. He and his wife, JoAnn, moved their family and family business to St. James in 1967.
Edwards and his wife have five children and 10 grandchildren. They are members of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. James.
Edwards is a Fourth Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus and has served on the St. James Ambulance Board and currently serves on the board of the Pregnancy Resource Center. He is also active in the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Phelps for the Fort, St. James and Rolla area chambers of commerce and many other philanthropic organizations.
Saturday afternoon, festival-goers can take off their shoes and try their hand at the Old World Italian tradition of stomping grapes.
This year's grand finale will be a dual demolition derby Saturday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m.
Additional activities throughout the four-day event include kids games, Knights of Columbus bingo, Southern Fun Carnival rides and games, horseshoe pitching tournament, pie and ice cream sale, Ozark Cloggers and live entertainment at the wine and beer garden.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition, the Lucy Wortham James exhibits serve to honor the many contributions of St. James' benefactress, Lucy Wortham James.
The open exhibits provide an opportunity for local community members to showcase a myriad of home-grown, homemade and hand-crafted items.
Adult season passes, available in advance for $25, will provide free parking all festival days, which is a $6 value; free cover charge to the wine and beer garden on Friday and Saturday, a $10 value; admission to the Miss St. James Pageant, a $5 value; admission to the Link family concert, a $5 value; admission to the tractor pull, a $10 value; and admission to the demolition derby, a $12 value.
For the first time the St. James Chamber will offer season passes for students six to 18 years old.
Student season passes, also available in advance for $25, will provide admission to the Link family concert, a $5 value; admission to the Miss St. James Pageant, a $5 value; admission to the tractor pull a $5-10 value depending on age; admission to the demolition derby - $8-12 value depending on age; and one carnival wristband pass (to be used during any one wristband session, a $15 value.
Adult season passes are available at a number of locations throughout the St. James area including Phelps County Bank, Town and Country Bank, Community Bank of St. James, the St. James Tourist Center and the Rolla Tourist Center.
Student season passes are available only at the St. James Tourist Center.
For further information on events and season passes, contact the St. James Chamber of Commerce at 265-6649, or stop by the St. James Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center at 100 State Route B or visit