By MARK EVANS
Ste. Genevieve’s signature event is back.
After being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago, the festival is back as strong as ever.
“Everybody’s on board and we’re excited,” said Jami Inman, president of the Jour de Fete Committee. “The police department and sheriff’s departments are on board to do their goodies and the ambulance district. So far, everybody’s really pitched back in.”
The police help with security and the ambulance personnel lends medical assistance – especially heat-related. The sheriff’s department will have their popular communications trailer on hand.
Heading into the event, Inman expected the number of crafters to be close to the 150 total of 2019.
This year the event features new activities like the Lost Acres Tractor Club’s antique tractor show at the Ratte Hoffman House, by the railroad bridge on both days.
The Ste. Genevieve Trolley will also be on hand to usher visitors from the parking area provided by Eric Scott Leathers, to the downtown area and back. In the past, a bus service was contracted for the duty.
“I’m excited about the tractors and the trolley,” Inman said. “I think the trolley’s a good thing. If I was going to ride from the parking lot I’d rather ride on the trolley than on a bus. And, it’s good to do business with a local, so I was excited when they reached out to us I think the people will really enjoy it a lot more.”
The trolley owners have also told Inman that festival-goers are also welcome to hop a ride on the trolley, just for fun.
Meanwhile, Ste. Gen. Gear HeadZ LLC. Car Club will hold its traditional car show at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Market Street on Saturday only.
Of course, in addition to crafters and vintage vehicles, the festival will be full of food and drink vendors.
“All of the food and alcohol vendors are on board,” Inman said.
McAlister’s Deli is the only one unable to come back.
Inman has been involved in the event for more than a decade. This will be her 12th Jour de Fete. Carrie Noll, who handles advertising, is the most senior board member, other than Inman.
“I would like to think all of our board members.”
Paul Arnold serves as secretary, while Abigail Kern is treasurer.
“We have a few spots that will be open,” Inman said.
Cindy Percell has also been helping out, Inman said.
A chain saw artist will be back, along with many crafters who have come for years.
“We’re just excited about having all the original people back,” Inman said. “We do have quite a few new crafters. There were quite a few of the crafters who have passed away.”
Crafts are making a comeback.
“A lot of people who were home during COVID started doing crafty-kind of stuff,” Inman said, “so I think maybe it’s kind of jumped back up again. A lot of people are learning crafts and wanting to get out and sell the. It kind of goes in spurts.”
Inman is glad that the year layoff did not cost the festival many vendors.
“I was very excited with the numbers that we have, as far as crafters,” she said. “I think we were all happy about that.”
The Lions Club will host live performers at Lions Park and Music Art Love on North Main will also feature live performances.
Additionally, music will be played on the Moses Austin property, site of a beer garden.