Parade, Music, Cars and Carnival Rides Highlight Wabash Days
The festival runs 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in downtown Wentzville.
A good, old-fashioned parade with marching bands and floats plus live music, a classic car and motorcycle show, carnival rides and games and plenty of tasty treats highlight Wabash Days Friday through Sunday in downtown Wentzville.
Wabash Days, a celebration of Wentzville’s railroad history, is in its eighth year. It is open 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The festival will be held along West Allen, Linn and Main streets.
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"It’s a lot of fun—it really is," said Mary Jo Dessieux, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Wentzville. "And there’s something for everybody."
The Shakey Ground Blues Band kicks things off 5 to 7 p.m. Friday on the Allen Street stage (near the post office), where all the live music acts will perform. Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats will play blues, ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly 8 to 11 p.m. Friday. Our Affliction hits the stage with rock from the ‘70s to the present 2:30 to 4:30 Saturday, followed by blues with Devon Allman’s Honeytribe 5 to 7:30 p.m. and blues rock with the Melissa Neels Band 8 to 11 p.m. Freese’s Pond jams with classic country rock noon to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with That ‘80s Band wrapping it up with hits from the big-hair decade 3 to 6 p.m Sunday.
Dessieux said the bands are chosen because they are local, and someone on the music committee has heard them or heard good things about them. They also like to provide listeners with variety.
"We try to change it up every year," she said.
The carnival runs 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. It features rides for adults and children, including a Ferris Wheel, a Drop Tower, Full Tilt, Dizzy Dragons, Tea Cup, Tug Boats and a Circus Train. There will also be numerous games of skill and chance, with stuffed toys and other prizes to the winners.
Tickets are $1 each or $20 for a sheet of 24 tickets. A wristband offering unlimited rides for $15 will be available to cover 6 to 11 p.m. today, noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. (separate fees) Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Fairgoers will have plenty of food and drink choices, including burgers, brats, hot dogs, kettle korn, homemade ice cream, shaved ice, frozen yogurt and more, plus beer, soda and water. Homemade goodies will be available during a bake sale noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday on South Main Street. Vendors will have arts and crafts for sale, everything from handmade jewelry and tie-dye shirts to pottery and candles. There will also be artists doing caricatures and face painting.
Another must-see is a classic caboose, open noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday on South Main Street, that ties in with the festival’s railroad heritage theme.
"They just had it completely renovated," Dessieux said. "It’s beautiful inside."
The Community Club Parade rolls off at noon Saturday, starting at Budget Towing on Pierce and heading west to finish at the Community Club building. Diane Ransom is president of the Wentzville Community Club, which supports several charities and also provides college scholarships to Wentzville students. She said there were about 20 entries last year, including floats and decorated cars.
This year’s theme is again "Get On Board."
"We never know what to expect," Ransom said. "We allow people to do what they want to do."
The marching bands from both of Wentzville’s high schools—Holt and Timberland—will perform. Ashley Barton, a fourth-grade teacher at Peine Ridge Elementary School and Wentzville’s current Teacher of the Year, will be the parade’s Grand Marshall. The American Legion Riders, veterans on motorcycles, will again participate.
"They always make an impressive sight coming through our parade," Ransom said. "That’s in conjunction with the motorcycle show that does take place on Saturday afternoon at the festival. So after they’re in the parade, those gentlemen will go to a place on Main Street to exhibit their bikes."
The parade, in its third year sponsored by the Community Club, will also make a nod to history and tradition.
"One of the original participants in our parade back in the ‘30s was a local veterinarian named Dr. R.F. Foster—everybody called him Doc Foster," Ransom said. "He, along with a group of friends, would usually lead the parade on horseback."
Doc’s son, Meade Foster, a former Wentzville mayor, will be a part of this year’s parade.
"He’s chosen a little different kind of horse to ride," she said. "His is going to be horsepower on the back of a Vespa scooter, which he has owned since the day it came out of the factory in 1970. It has all its original parts, so it’s a unique vehicle he’s going to be riding."
New this year is a poster contest—sponsored by the Wentzville Historical Society and the Wentzville Downtown Business Association—with categories for students in grades 6 through 8 and 9 through 12. The posters, which have been placed around town, will all be displayed on Main Street near the Historical Society’s tent, so the public can vote to choose their favorites. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third in each category, with tickets to the Museum of Transportation going to the top vote-getter.