There’s something special about St. James in the fall—cooler days, tailgating at local football games, and hanging out at the highly anticipated 81st Annual Grape and Fall Festival! From September 4-6th, the St. James Grape and Fall Festival is kicking it up a notch with its first annual Missouri State Cow Chip Throwing Championship, demolition derby, back-to-basics beer and wine tent, and nightly entertainment- all in addition to your tried-and-true favorites.
St. James Chamber of Commerce President and Grape and Fall Festival Committee Chairwoman Renee Ridling said there are number of events new this year, as well as the perennial favorites like the grape stomp competition at 2 p.m. Sept. 6.
"You really haven't lived in St. James and experienced the festival until you step into a barrel of grapes and squish them between your toes," Ridling said.
Season passes are available for purchase of $25 for the event. The pass includes access to all three days of the fair, as well as free parking, free entry to the beer and wine tent, all concerts, admission to the Grape and Fall Festival Queen Pageant, Demolition Derby, and Missouri State Championship Cow Chip Pitching Tournament, all of which would cost $48 otherwise. Youth passes are also available for $20, for those between the ages of 6 and 18.
Highlights of the festival include:
• The Miss St. James Queen Pageant will begin the festival 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at the St. James Middle School, as young ladies will demonstrate their stage presence, talent, and grace in competition for a college scholarship—a great show for a great cause!
• Look out for the 4H/FFA Livestock Exhibits and Final Sale at the livestock arena. These kids have worked all year to prepare their livestock and small animals, so be ready for some grade-A presentations.
Dale Riley, one of the exhibit's organizers, said youth in FFA and 4H have been preparing year-round for many of the festival exhibits.
"It's really an opportunity for kids to show off all their hard work throughout the year," Riley said.
The exhibits be 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. Sept. 4 at the fairgrounds, with scheduled shows through Sept. 6 for each animal category, including poultry, rabbits, pigs, goat, sheep and cattle, all which culminate in a livestock awards ceremony and sale 3 p.m. Sept. 6, with a buyer dinner immediately following the sale.
"The buyer's dinner is one of our ways to give back to the community, who we've been so generously supported by" Riley said.
• Enjoy free concerts with a Fair season pass, or $5 standard admission. This year’s lineup includes: Beverly and Her Hillbillies 6 p.m. Sept. 4, party band Kricket Alley 8 p.m. Sept. 5, and wrapping up with the Ozark Spirit Cloggers beginning 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the fairground's pavilion and Matt Kennon in lieu of Special 20 at 8 p.m. Sept. 6. All concerts will take place near the beer and wine garden located at the fairgrounds, unless noted otherwise.
• The Beer and Wine Garden will serve drinks 6 p.m. to midnight Sept. 5 - 6, with expanded beer choices and the ability to purchase wine by the bottle.
• The carnival will be open in the afternoons and evenings Sept. 4 - 6. Ride wristbands are available at the tourist information center in advance for $15 and at the carnival for $20.
• This year’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine” Parade will take place 11 a.m. Sept. 6 in downtown St. James, with the lineup beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the veteran’s home. With more than 25 floats and lots of giveaways, this year’s parade will be a ‘don’t miss’ event for the whole family.
• The Saturday Street Fair will feature more than 50 vendors, a puppet show, and international food choices. Trendy companies such as Scentsy and Origami Owl will be present, as well as local craftspeople offering everything from woodworking to children’s tutus. Be sure to check out the awesome street food that will be present this year, including vendors offering Indian, German, and Filipino dishes.
• The Missouri State Cow Chip Throwing Championship will be 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Fairgrounds Arena. The winner of this year’s championship will be eligible to participate in the National Cow Chip Throwing Championship next spring in Beaver, Okla. Participants can enter one of three categories- men, ladies, and children younger than 12. An entrance fee of $5 for adults and $2 for children will be collected during registration beginning at 5 p.m.
For more information and a full schedule, please visit: www.stjameschamber.net. For the latest updates, be sure to ‘Like’ the Grape and Fall Festival Facebook page for schedule changes, free tickets, and more (fb.com/stjamesgrapeandfall)! For questions or concerns, please contact Chamber Director, Melissa Coffman, at (573) 265-6649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.