Salute to America offers numerous entertainment choices

Fireworks explode over the Missouri Capitol at the 2011 Salute to America. This year’s festival will be Tuesday and Wednesday, and will include an expanded area for activities in downtown Jefferson City.

Fireworks explode over the Missouri Capitol at the 2011 Salute to America. This year’s festival will be Tuesday and Wednesday, and will include an expanded area for activities in downtown Jefferson City. Photo by News Tribune.

The United States of America turns 236 on Wednesday. And Jefferson City’s “Salute to America” committee again has planned a big party with lots of activities and entertainment for Mid-Missouri’s party-goers — with the events spread over two days.

Despite cancellations of fireworks displays in surrounding communities due to dry conditions, Jefferson City's celebration is scheduled to go on, with the fire department taking extra precautions.

“This is a wonderful event our community looks forward to each year, and we see no reason to cancel it because of the precautions we’re taking and because the majority of the fireworks will be over the Missouri River,” said Mayor Eric Struemph.

Fireworks are prohibited inside the city limits of Jefferson City and a burn ban is currently in place. The prohibition will be enforced so that spectators to the fireworks display won't be allowed to shoot private fireworks in the open areas north of the river where they typically congregate.

The celebration starts, officially, with a parade at 6 p.m. Tuesday, starting by the city’s Parks and Recreation office and going north on Monroe Street to High Street, then west on High to Jefferson, south on Jefferson Street to Miller and east on East Miller Street to the starting point.

The Little Mr. and Miss Independence contest, for children ages 4-6 ($10 entrance fee, limit 100 registrants) begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Madison Street Stage (Madison and High streets).

And the official opening ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage (under the Jefferson statue on the Capitol’s south steps). It includes a traditional “wreath laying” ceremony to remember the many veterans who’ve fought, and died, for the nation, to be led by Don Hentges, the Jefferson City Veterans Council president. The Jefferson City Fire Department’s 100th anniversary also will be honored.

Although the parade starts at 6, the music begins at 4 p.m. on the Madison Street stage with “R2R” — sisters Regina Louise and Elonda “Kush” Blanchard and Regina’s daughter, Robin Nicole — and on the beer garden stage (in the parking lot on the south side of High Street, just west of Jefferson) with “Rivaux,” a three-member local group playing a variety of original pieces and covers of other groups’ works.

“Rivaux” is followed at 6 p.m. by “2 Buck Drunk,” which plays a variety of styles, including classic, southern and progressive rock; country; blues; and funk.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Jefferson City Symphonic Band performs on the Capitol main stage.

Musicians compete for attention at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the “Street Corner Symphony,” a group formed two years ago “for the sole purpose of winning the second season of NBC’s reality show, ‘The Sing-Off,’” appearing on the Capitol Main Stage as the first of the celebration’s headline entertainers.

At the same time, the “Megan Moyer Band” — a “hard-driving blues, soul and R&B music outfit” — performs on the Beer Garden Stage.

From 8:30-10 p.m., “Blackwater (AKA Dizaster Relief)” provides the rock-and-roll music (mostly cover songs of the 1960s and ’70s) from the Madison Street stage for the Q 106.1 street dance.

At 10 p.m., Drew Muessig, a solo acoustic act, performs on the beer garden stage.

On Wednesday, the music resumes at 2 p.m. on the beer garden stage, with “Cut Loose,” followed at 3:45 p.m. by “Driving Wheel,” which plays “a blues-based mixture of jamband and rock ... sometimes bluesy, sometimes hard rock ’n’ roll and other times even psychedelic.”

At 4:30 p.m., Lincoln University’s band director, Rhonda Harper, sings and plays the trumpet on the madison stage, with help from a “company” of bass guitar, drums and a piano.

Meanwhile, Columbia-based “Billy McDow & the Bootleggers” will play “rockin’ country” at 5:30 p.m. on the beer garden stage.

At 6:15 p.m., “KC Reign,” a team of hip hop dancers/rap artists performs on the Madison Street stage, followed at 6:45 p.m. by “The Mojo Roots,” which performs “harp-driven, soul-soaked blues.”

At 8 p.m., the Capitol main stage features David Stone and his “Johnny Cash Experience,” while the Branson-based “Smooth Down Under Band” plays “their blend of rocking roadhouse blues” on the beer garden stage.

And the annual “Salute to America Sky Concert” of fireworks (with accompanying music for those listening to country station Jeff 104.1) begins around 9:30 p.m., from the Missouri River just north of the Capitol.

Additional resources:

Map of Salute to America events

Salute to America official website

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