57th Valley of Flowers Festival Celebrates

Valley of Flowers honors fire protection district

57th Valley of Flowers Festival Celebrates the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District’s 100th anniversary

Spring marks the arrival of the 57th celebration of the Valley of Flowers Festival.  This Florissant family-oriented event, the North County’s “first festival of spring,” features a variety of attractions, highlighted by the Grand Parade and by the crowning of Florissant’s Queen and her court.  

Activities during the three-day festivities will appeal toall ages.  At the James J. Eagan Center fair-goers will find a flower and plant sale, culturally diverse performances, a vendor/craft fair, a pretty baby photo contest, and children’s activities.  Carnival games and rides are featured at the Duchesne Home Association Fairgrounds (formerly called the Knights of Columbus Fairgrounds).  Rounding out the fun, at Koch Park baseball games on Friday, at rue St. Francois on Saturday the classic car show, and of course mouth-watering food everywhere.   

The Grand Parade on Sunday, May 5, the highpoint of the weekend, leads to the crowning of the Valley of Flowers Queen and Court at the Duchesne Home Association Pavilion (formerly called the Knights of Columbus Pavilion).   The parade with more than 100 units features mobile units departing from the James J. Eagan Center at 1:45 p.m.  Decorated vehicles and floats proceed west on Parker Road to New Florissant Road where thewalking units and the marching bands merge with them.  The parade travels south on New Florissant, turns west on rue St. Francois past the official review stands, then left on St. Ferdinand to Washington Street and concludes at the Duchesne Home Association Fairgrounds. 

The parade theme is the “Florissant Valley Fire Protection District’s 100th Anniversary,” so decorations on floats and units reflect this theme. Participating in the parade are many city officials, local municipal emergency responder vehicles, the Valley of Flowers reigning queen and court and this year’s 19 candidates, car clubs, walking units, horse groups, dog clubs, dance schools, and scout groups. 

The parade ends at the Duchesne Home Association Fairgrounds where the winning parade units and their sponsors, and the Pretty Baby Photo Contest winners receive their awards.  At 4 p.m., Florissant Mayor Thomas Schneider crowns the 2019 Valley of Flowers Queen and Court.

Please arrive early to get good seats along the parade route for one of the largest and most colorful spring parades in the St. Louis Metropolitan area; then join us at the Knights of Columbus Pavilion for the award and crowning ceremonies. Valley of Flowers Festival is on May 3, 4, and 5 with the theme “Valley of Flowers Celebrates the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District’s 100th Anniversary.”

The Valley of Flowers Committee has selected Cooper as the Junior Parade Marshall. Cooper, who has battled Neuroblastoma since October of 2017, is completing his treatments. Cooper a fun-going son, brother, nephew, and grandson has kept the fighting spirit and still manages to be himself. Cooper, recently honored as an honorary firefighter, will wear his own firefighter’s gear.

The 2019 Parade Marshalls are the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District’s current fire chief and the six living chiefs who have retired. Jason M. Hoevelmann- the current chief was hired on March 1, 2000 and promoted to Chief in February, 2019.

For the enjoyment of visitors, all weekend the Duchesne Home Association Fairgrounds (formerly the Knights of Columbus Fairgrounds) on Washington Street between St. Ferdinand and Lindbergh Blvd. (N. Hwy 67) next to St. Ferdinand Shrine will feature carnival rides, games, beverages, and traditional festival foods including their famous barbecue.  Focused on families having fun together, rides will be available for younger children, for older children and adults, with the Grand Ferris Wheel for everyone.  Friday night only will be “Discount-Ride Knight.”

During the weekend the Knights will serve their delicious barbecue ribs, pork steaks, chicken strips, brats, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Friday through Sunday your favorite beverages will be in ready supply and adults may treat themselves to an ice-cold beer from one of the beer trailers, wine, or a delicious margarita from the Margarita Stand.  Visit the other food and game booths, sponsored by local nonprofit organizations, which will offer a variety of festival foods and games.

On Sunday, watch the parade and experience the crowning of the queen and her court at the large pavilion on the grounds.  Rides and activities will continue until close.

The Duchesne Home Association grounds are open on Friday from 4 p.m. to close, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to close, and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to close.  Please note a major change this year.  Since there have been groups from outside the community trying to disrupt the festival on Saturday evenings, no one will be allowed to enter the grounds after 6 p.m. on Saturday.  Those on the grounds may enjoy the festival until close.

Please do not park on the local shopping center lots.  There is ample parking in the field on St. Charles Street or at St. Ferdinand Park and walk the path to the festival.  

To maintain a family-friendly and neighborhood atmosphere, the festival committee will once again require that anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Other short-term changes allow for better crowd management and traffic flow in and around the festival grounds.  The plan includes temporary traffic regulations to prevent festival traffic from interfering with local businesses including the no parking policy at Florissant Meadows Shopping Center and Dierbergs, a well-enforced dress code and increased overall security. Also this year there will be a new layout for rides and ticket booths.  There will be standalone, self-service ticket kiosks.   Finally, all ticket booths will be equipped with credit card machines for added convenience.


Gardeners of Florissant Plant Sale

The local Gardeners of Florissant, a not-for-profit organization, will sponsor the festival plant sale. The organization is committed to protect and to beautify the environment, and to share their knowledge with others. Available for purchase at reasonable prices they will have a huge selection of flowering plants, (both garden and indoor), vegetables, and herbs.   The plant sale will also have several raffles for valuable garden related prizes. 

The Gardeners of Florissant plant sale will be held in the ice rink pavilion at the James J. Eagan Center beginning at noon until 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3.   It will then continue Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Plan to arrive early for the best plant selections.  Additional information about the club, its activities and various plants can be found at www.florissantmo.com – then search “Gardeners of Florissant,” when it opens to select “Projects/Events”.

Walk in the “Volksmarch”

The St. Louis Stuttgart Volksmarch Club will sponsor the free “People’s Walk” which is a non-competitive, recreational, family-time stroll through interesting and scenic areas. Volksmarchers may (for a small fee) keep track of their event/distance in official record books that will be available. The Volksmarch will be held Saturday, May 4, with registration from 9 to 11 a.m. in the gazebo on the path behind the Old Town Partners and Valley of Flowers house at 601 rue St. Charles. The “Peoples Walk” will begin on the path adjacent to the gazebo and will continue through the friendly streets of Old Town Florissant. Along the way, many of the activities of the Festival will be highlighted as well as some of the historic homes located throughout Old Town Florissant. 

Old Town Partners Car Show

On Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Florissant Old Town Partners will host the ever-popular car show which is set against the backdrop of the historic business district of Old Town Florissant along rue St. Francois. The open-class show will feature about 150 cars from St. Pierre Street to Lafayette Street. Through traffic will be closed and only cars in the show will be allowed admittance before 8 a.m. until shortly after the end of the show at 3 p.m. Enjoy the cars and take time to visit the retail shops in Old Town. 

There is plenty of parking available on the side streets with a short walk to the fun. Registration for cars is $20. Trophies will be awarded at 3 p.m. Call the office at 314-837-0033 or 314-537-3425 for pre-registration and information (If necessary, a rainout date has been planned for May 10).

Pretty Baby Photo Contest

The Pretty Baby Photo Contest will be held on the ice rink of the James J. Eagan Center on Friday, May 3, from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The contest is for children two years old or younger. View all the wonderful photos of the children and cast your vote to help decide the winner.  Entries are judged in two categories: “Personality” – as depicted in the photo and “Popularity” – demonstrated by donations from the public who vote at the booth.

To enter your favorite baby, send in a 4-inch by 6-inch photo (or smaller) featuring one child per photo along with a $5 registration fee by May 1. Entries after this deadline will be charged a $7 entry fee. Make checks payable to the “Valley of Flowers Festival.” On the back of the photo include the name of the child, parents’ names, address, phone number and age of the baby. Send the photo with info and the entry fee to: 

Valley of Flowers Festival

601rue St. Charles

Florissant, MO 63031

To have your photo returned, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your entry. The winners will receive an award and gift basket at the awards ceremony on Sunday, May 5 preceding the crowning of the queen and the court at the Duchesne Home Association Fairgrounds.  The Valley of Flowers Festival Committee sponsors this contest and the proceeds are used for the Valley of Flowers Children’s area.

Craft and vendor fair 

The annual craft and vendor fair will be on the ice rink pavilion of the James J. Eagan Center on Friday, May 3, from noon to 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  At this ever-popular event local crafters and vendors will have a wide variety of products, the perfect gifts for any occasion. Returning favorites include: jewelry, one-of-a-kind gift baskets, gourmet food mixes, unique accessories, and garden ornaments. To reserve a booth, call the Valley of Flowers office at (314) 837-0033 or apply online at www.florissantvalleyofflowers.com.

Food vendor rows

Food vendors from all areas will be lined up on the James J. Eagan grounds.  Enjoy the culinary treats including: old-fashioned, American-style, barbecued meats and side dishes; kettle corn; funnel cakes chicken strips; nachos; ice cream; and foods of many nationalities and various cultures. Various beverages will also be available. Food vendors will be open Friday, May 3, from noon to 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kid’s World

Kid’s World will be on the grounds of the James J. Eagan Center.  It will feature many activities to stimulate young minds and bodies. Children will enjoy the opportunity to make their own crafts, participate in the many ongoing activities or just enjoy a day in the park. Kincaid Karacter Puppets among others will perform for free in the area. In addition to all the free entertainment and activities there will be inflatable rides, face painting, balloon animals, and pony rides small fee. Eddie the K-9 Community Service dog will be in attendance. In addition to all the free entertainment and activities there will be a petting zoo, pony rides, and a bounce house for a small fee. Kid’s World will be on Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

First responders

The Florissant Police Department and the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District will host and will be onsite at various First Responders Demonstrations at the James J. Eagan Center along Waterford Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Various demonstrations will be held at 10:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. Be sure to visit the ARCH Helicopter, St Louis County Bomb Squad, fire demonstration and much more.

Suburban XII North Varsity High School baseball games

Enjoy the competition of high school baseball games with local team during the Valley of Flowers Festival at Koch Park Field #1.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 3, at 4 p.m. – Hazelwood East (Home) vs. Hazelwood Central

Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m.–McCluer North (Home) vs. McCluer

Pitch Hit and Run

On Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at Koch Park Field #4, children ages seven to fourteen are invited to participate in the Pitch, Hit and Run competition. Participants will compete in three stations; pitching, hitting and running and they will have chance to advance to Sectionals, Team Championships.  This program is free but requires pre-registration by May 1. To register, call the JKF Community Center at 314-921-4250 or the James J. Eagan Center at 314-921-4466.