Missouri's Spring Festivals 2014

A look at special events in May-June 2014
Author: Stephen Foutes

It’s time to get some spring in your step.

Across the Show-Me State, festivals offer fun, food, and a chance for visitors of all ages to make lasting memories. As you search for festivals, be sure to check out VisitMO.com for information on lodging, dining and attractions, as well as the myriad events shaping up around Missouri.

The rollicking combination of food and fun are in full swing in May and June, when dozens of festivals happen in every corner of Missouri. There’s no time to list everything, but here are 20 to add to your to-do list (note all events are listed with their 2014 dates):

  • A Lake of the Ozarks tradition continues May 2-4 when the Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals return to the Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark. Vehicles from around the U.S. travel to the Lake area for this event, which serves as a showcase for all makes and models of cars, trucks and motorcycles.
  • Enjoy a great lineup of music at Round Barn Blues May 3 in Kirksville. Regional favorites Jeremiah Johnson, Al Holiday, Cedric Burnside and Radio Free Kirksville are slated to perform at the Round Barn, which was constructed in 1913 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Smoked ribs, burgers and the locally famous “MO” taters are on the menu.
  • See great works of art from more than 130 artists during Artsfest on Walnut Street, set for May 3-4 in Springfield. This event, in its 34th year, focuses on the visual and performing arts; works are displayed and available for purchase. Five stages host live performances and there are activities for kids.
  • Find the cure for spring fever at Spring Fever Days, May 9-10, in Ellington. The event includes craft and food booths, carnival rides, a barbecue competition, live music, a parade and the Mason’s Saturday morning breakfast.
  • Shop at the craft fair and enjoy carnival rides, music and good food at Perryville Mayfest, May 9-10 on the Square in Perryville. Activities include a petting zoo, antique tractor show and a martial arts demonstration.
  • Visit charming Hermann, Missouri, May 16-18 for the annual Maifest celebration, a tribute to the city’s German heritage and culture. Great German food, the wines for which Hermann is famous, activities for children and lots of live music are highlights of this three-day event.
  • One of Missouri’s largest festivals, St. Louis Bluesweek hits the Chesterfield Amphitheater and Central Park during Memorial Day weekend, May 24-25. Enjoy the festival atmosphere for free and take in a concert for $10; it’s $25 if you want to sit in the amphitheater’s stadium-style seats.
  • If you’re on the western side of Missouri Memorial Day weekend, be sure to check out the Jiggle Jam Family Music Fest, May 24-25 at the Crown Center Complex in downtown Kansas City. Chock full of live performances and family friendly activities, Jiggle Jam is a great destination for your holiday weekend. More than 25 bands/performers are part of the lineup.
  • Another Memorial Day weekend extravaganza takes place May 24-25 in Hannibal, Mark Twain’s hometown. The author and his works are celebrated during the annual Twain on Main festival. Activities include live music and games, special areas for kids, plus lots of craft and food vendors.
  • Route 66 Summerfest, May 30-June 1, in and around downtown Rolla is a spectacular celebration of “The Mother Road” featuring live music, loads of activities, great food, car shows, volleyball and tennis tournaments, a street dance and a leisurely auto tour of Phelps County.

That’s 10 great events in May, now let’s move on to June:

  • Head downtown for Downtown Days … Streets Alive! in Lee’s Summit, June 6-8. This family friendly event includes live music, arts and crafts, carnival rides and a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned barbecue competition, known as Smokin’ on the Summit (Friday and Saturday only).
  • Try to measure the distance between the water and the wakeboards at the 3rd annual Liquidforce BroStock wakeboarding competition June 6-7 at Captain Ron’s on Lake of the Ozarks in Sunrise Beach. The event features pro wakeboarders from around the world, all striving to win the competition.
  • A celebration focusing on regional appreciation begins June 7 at Silver Dollar City in Branson. That’s when the first ever Star-Spangled Summer festival opens; it runs through July 20. This event is part of Silver Dollar City’s “Celebrate America” activities. Events include special displays featuring Olympic hopefuls who put on a high-flying exhibition as part of the Flying Ace All-Stars performance group. Renowned magician Brad Ross is a featured performer during the month-long celebration.
  • See what’s new during the annual Art in the Park festival June 7-8 at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia. In addition to the art you’d expect to find, shop for everything from scarves to sculptures, enjoy food and drink, listen to live music and keep the young ones entertained at Kid’s Art Spot.
  • 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Bushwhacker Days in Nevada. The festival (June 11-14) refers to a nickname given Nevada during the American Civil War, when federal troops dubbed Nevada the “Bushwhacker (guerilla fighters) Capital.” The celebration of Bushwhacker Days is decidedly friendlier than the history from which it’s derived. Guests find excitement from a street carnival and car and truck shows to gospel music and a full lineup of activities. Don’t miss Saturday night’s concert, which features Grammy winner Crystal Gayle taking the stage at 8:30 p.m.
  • Juneteenth, honoring Emancipation Day (commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.) is celebrated from June 13-15 in St. Joseph. The festival includes a parade, vendors, pony rides, live music and a talent show. The same weekend in St. Joseph, attend the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival, featuring jazz ensembles from across the Midwest. Performances are in Coleman Hawkins Park.
  • French Heritage Festival, June 14, in Ste. Genevieve. Enjoy a day celebrating 300 years of French culture and celebrate Ste. Genevieve. The oldest European village west of the Mississippi contains the greatest concentration of French Colonial architecture in North America. Music, a dance, French cuisine, reenactments, a parade and home tours are part of the fun.
  • Missouri’s musical heritage is the focus of the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, set for June 20-21 in downtown West Plains. This long-running celebration of the Ozarks Highlands culture features local performers and two full days of live “Old Time Music.” The event includes a full slate of activities, from cooking, blacksmith and weaving demonstrations to food vendors, jam sessions, dancers and workshops.
  • Fiesta Kansas City, June 20-22, in Kansas City. This event, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, is in its 14th year. The party features a variety of food, beverages and live entertainment on two stages in Crown Center Pavilion.
  • Live music is part of the fun at the Tour de Corn bicycle ride, slated for June 27-28 in East Prairie. Celebrating its 13th year, this much-loved event continues to grow, last year welcoming more than 1,000 riders representing 23 states. The Tour de Corn includes East Prairie’s 40th Annual Sweet Corn Festival, which takes place in the downtown area and includes dog, car and antique tractor shows; food vendors; outhouse races (yes, racing outhouses); and a lip-sync contest.

While this lineup of festivals is sure to keep you busy through June, remember, more events are posted at VisitMO.com. Enjoy the festivities.

 Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals
The largest car show of its kind in Central Missouri takes place on the Bagnell Dam Strip. This is a ...

 21st Annual Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival
You are invited to celebrate the old time music and the distinctive culture of the Ozark Highlands. ...