The Capital City's annual Fourth of July celebration just continues to get bigger and bigger.
The 10th Annual Salute to America has increased the number of stages with performers this year, and vendors have been moved to High Street with bistro and restaurant seating up and down the street.
Beginning today, Carnival Land will open from 4-11 p.m. On Thursday, the rides will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are 75 cents each. Each ride requires four or five tickets, with packages of tickets available.
Carnival Land is located on Monroe Street from East Capital Avenue to Commercial Way (the alley), and on East Capital Avenue from Madison Street to Adams Street.
Starting at 4 p.m. today, the Goose Island Beer Garden (in the 100 block of East Wall Way, on the city parking lot south of the High Street businesses) will open with entertainment on the Riley Toyota-Scion Stage.
Live entertainment will also take the EcoWater Stage (at Madison and High streets) at 4 p.m.
At 6 p.m. today, the CenturyLink Parade makes its way through downtown Jefferson City.
Immediately after the parade on the Madison Street Stage, the 9th Annual River Region Credit Union Little Mr. & Miss Independence Contest will select this year's festival king and queen.
The Naught-Naught Agency opening ceremony is set for 7:30 p.m. on the Capitol Main Stage (overlooking the South Lawn); it will offer a patriotic tribute to our men and women in the armed forces. In addition to the traditional wreath laying ceremony, led by the Jefferson City Veterans Council, the 10th year anniversary of the Salute to America Foundation will be celebrated, along with all the past leadership that helped make it possible.
The Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band will perform before the ceremony, starting at 7 p.m.
More live entertainment kicks off at 8:30 p.m. today, with the Q106.1 Street Dance on the Madison Street Stage beginning at 8:30 p.m.
Also, the Capitol Main Stage will feature Heartache Tonight, an Eagles tribune band, starting at 8:30 p.m., sponsored by Riley Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Midwest Block and Brick, and GFI Digital.
Prison ghost tours will be offered tonight at the old Missouri State
Prison at 7, 9, and 11 p.m., with tickets available in advance at www.MisouriPenTours.com.
Events continue at 11 a.m. Thursday with family activities throughout downtown, including entertainment stages, carnival rides, St. Mary's Kids Zone, Carroll Rehma Motor's Classic Car Cruise Route 66, Eastside/Westside Business Associations Avenue of the Americas, and Coca-Cola Taste of Missouri Food Court.
The new Heritage Stage in the Carnahan Memorial Garden, managed by the Vine Concert Series, will host folk, gospel, story tellers, Native American dancers and more.
The Cole County Historical Society, former State Penitentiary and Capitol also will be open for tours.
Missouri American Water is also sponsoring the World Bird Sanctuary, for a live eagle show at 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
The 300 block of East High Street will be closed for an extreme sports area, sponsored by Machens Capital City Ford-Lincoln. United FMX will be performing freestyle motocross stunts at 2 and 4 p.m. The area also will feature a new stage, sports demonstrations, roller derby, skateboard tricksters and much more.
The celebration concludes on the Capitol Main Stage and south Capitol lawn with Diamond Rio - a Grammy Award winning, six-time Vocal Group of the Year - performing at 7:30 p.m.
The festival's highlight comes at dusk, with Sky Concert 2013 by J&M Displays.