ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – America’s Birthday Parade filled the streets of downtown St. Louis Saturday - but one key person wasn't in attendance.
The parade was the first since July 2019 because of the pandemic. The creative floats headed west from Broadway and Market streets at Kiener Plaza to 18th streets near Union Station.
“America’s Birthday Parade has been a patriotic summer tradition in St. Louis since 1878, and we are thrilled to come together this year and celebrate our community with an elaborate spectacle of floats, choreographed dances and live performances in a parade down Market Street in the shadow of the iconic Gateway Arch,” said David Plufka, Grand Marshal of America’s Birthday Parade.
Nearly two dozen floats incorporated themes of the previous holiday parades, such as Annie Malone, and St. Patrick’s Day, that had to cancel their plans due to the pandemic.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said she is thrilled to see that concept when the announcement was first made about the return of the parade. On the day of the parade, the mayor didn't show up. It's the first time in 90 years a mayor wasn't part of the parade.
This is her original statement about the parade coming back:
“It makes me proud that they're bringing together other organizations who had to cancel their own parades, leading with a spirit of collaboration that St. Louis and the whole country can appreciate,” Jones said. “I encourage everyone to celebrate however they feel comfortable, and to consider the health and safety of their fellow paradegoers as they come together Downtown to celebrate."
This is what the mayor's office said when we asked why she wasn't at the parade:
"Mayor Jones has said that St. Louis needs to have tough conversations to truly move forward, and this includes the conversation in early June that brought community's concerns about the Veiled Prophet to the forefront.
The organization has stated its commitment to doing better for the people of St. Louis moving forward, and the Mayor's involvement is contingent on their demonstration of that commitment. She will be spending the weekend with her family."