St. Louis gears up for 4th of July parade

June 26, 2013 by  

St. Louis, Missouri, plans to celebrate the 4th of July in style, holding its 136th Veiled Prophet Parade on that day. The 2013 parade will kick off at 9.30 a.m., starting from the intersection of Olive and 14th Streets and moving downtown, following Washington Avenue most of the time. Local CBS television affiliate KMOV will broadcast the festivities live beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The first parade to bear the Veiled Prophet name was held in October, 1878 and was backed by an assemblage bearing the same title. This was a group of businessmen who were civic-minded enough to try and promote St. Louis as a place to live and work. The earliest parades were patterned after the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans; in fact, some of the Mardi Gras floats were sent up the Mississippi River to St. Louis via steamboat. Today, the Veiled Prophet Organization employs a number of craftsmen and artists to create the floats, and has gained a reputation as one of the premiere float-building operations in the world.

In addition to providing a grand spectacle for St. Louis residents, the organization also raises and distributes funds for a number of civic projects. Among these are lights on Eads Bridge; the Overlook Stage, located near the Gateway Arch; and the Grand Staircase, which leads from Wharf Street to the base of the Arch. The Veiled Prophet Organization also supports Habitat for Humanity, boys and girls clubs, and St. Louis schools.

The organization could work with a banner printing company to create festive flags to hang along the parade route, generating interest in the Veiled Prophet and its charities.