Jefferson City, Mo. – Summertime! School’s out. The days are long. It’s vacation time. That doesn’t have to mean an extended getaway and spending lots of money – in the Show-Me State, a vacation can be a single day or weekend when you attend our summer festivals and fun events. The Missouri Division of Tourism’s website, VisitMO.com, highlights more than 340 summer events statewide . . . and the list grows daily.
From late spring through summer (for our purposes, May thru Labor Day), Missouri is home to a variety of events and festivals offering a myriad of activities from food to carnivals, artisans to concerts, beer and wine tasting to barbecue cook-offs, car shows to Civil War reenactments, games to fairs—there are events designed to suit every taste and budget. That in mind, we offer a few shining examples of the fun events in Missouri this summer. Enjoy!
Visitors to Missouri’s southwest region, in the Ozark foothills, find a variety of interesting and educational attractions, such as the Civil War site in Republic, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield; Springfield’s Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Missouri’s second most visited attraction; President Harry S Truman’s Birthplace State Historic Site, located in Lamar; world renowned agronomist, educator, and humanitarian George Washington Carver’s Home, in the small town of Diamond; the Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals; Branson, the Live Music Show Capital of the World; and numerous summer events, some samples of which are listed below.
- May 17-19: Plumb Nellie Days Arts and Crafts Festival; a juried art and craft show with more than 150 artisans and crafters from around the country; a diverse food court; top-notch music and entertainment; past “American Idol” finalists; past “America’s Got Talent” finalists; and lots of surprises.
- June 9-July 22: Silver Dollar City’s National KidsFest; unbelievable shows bring out the kid in every member of your family; featuring the amazing fests of the legendary Fabulous Wallendas Family Circus. (Several other major festivals are held at Silver Dollar City throughout the summer.)
- August 18: Guns & Hoses Fishing Tournament; a trout-fishing tournament, on Lake Taneycomo, benefiting the Branson Fire and Police auxiliary funds.
- June 23, 24, 30, July 1: White Hart Renaissance Faire; Make merry with the jovial villagers when you visit the joy-filled times when Shakespeare trod the boards, Brave knights jousted, and high adventure was the order of the day.
- August 31-September 3: 31st Annual Labor Day Picnic; lots of family adventures, including parades, games, crafts, bands and food in the Desloge City Park.
- May 25-27: NSRA Mid-America Street Rod Nationals; more than 2,200 street rods; kids and adult games; arts & crafts; an automobile swap meet; and a church service. (A street rod is a modernized pre-1949 vehicle.)
- July 28-August 5: Ozark Empire Fair; still a huge event after 75 years; fun; food; midway rides; live shows and concerts; plus a huge variety of displays and exhibits.
- June 6-9: Bushwhacker Days; one of the southwest region’s biggest festivals; on the square with a parade, costumes, great music, food, old-fashioned games, and activities for the kids.
Ash Grove to Branson West:
- August 27: 100 Mile Long Garage Sale; booths, booths and more booths are set up along a 100-mile route, zigzagging through the Ozarks; bargains, food, fun and a peaceful drive. Map available on the website.
- May 19: Frontier Children’s Festival; a day of children’s games and activities, including a 19th century baseball game.
- August 2-5: Marian Days; a celebration of the Virgin Mary, including daily mass, food Kiosks, and vendors. Hosted since 1978 at the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix.
- June 18: Kid’s Fishing Day; fishing activities at Kellogg Lake for kids; take your own fishing gear.
- May 26, June 23, July 21, August 4, September 1: Bison Hikes at Prairie State Park; see one of our most magnificent mammals on these guided hikes; learn about American bison (buffalo) and how American Indians used bison as more than a food source.
- July 7: Hug a Herp Day at Prairie State Park; an event to dispel myths and rumors about reptiles and amphibians, while giving people a chance to see and touch them up close.
- June 21-24: Rock’n Freedom; sanctioned barbecue contests (with a Kids’ Q), fireworks, classic cars, concerts, hot air balloons, 5k walk/run, food, winery, and a carnival.
- May 18-19: Joplin 44 Truckers Jamboree; concerts; antique truck display; barbecue cook-out; carnival rides and games; car and bike show; and fireworks.
On VisitMO.com, you’ll find thousands of listings for Missouri attractions and vacation ideas, and you can order a free copy of the Official Missouri Travel Guide. Also, the Travel Guide is available by calling 800-519-4800. Yes, there’s an app for that: download the free iPhone app: “Official Missouri Travel Guide.”
About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to www.VisitMO.com.
Links to sites referenced:
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
Harry S. Truman’s birthplace
George Washington Carver Home
Plumb Nellie Days Arts and Crafts Festival
Silver Dollar City’s National KidsFest
Guns & Hoses Fishing Tournament
White Hart Renaissance Faire
31st Annual Labor Day Picnic
Mid-America Street Rod Nationals
Ozark Empire Fair
100 Mile Long Garage Sale
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