Started in the late 1960s as a marching band competition, the annual Maple Leaf Festival received its name thanks to Mother Nature. Every year, surrounded by an array of glorious fall colors, the city of Carthage proudly welcomes 80,000+ visitors to this wonderful fall celebration. Celebrating its 50th year in 2016, the Maple Leaf Festival offers family style fun in a home town atmosphere.
On the third Saturday of October, the biggest day of the festival begins with one of the largest parades in southwest Missouri. This keystone event begins at 9 a.m. and ends around noon. The parade route begins on the Carthage Historic Square and ends at the Carthage Middle School.
Numerous events are scheduled throughout the day to entertain young and young at heart, including: Willie Arthur Smith's Marching Cobras; an art and crafts festival; car and dog shows; quilt show; food vendors; and live entertainment.
The rest of the festival is filled with a variety of activities, including: a 5K/10K; beauty pageants; baby and toddler contests; dog skill competition; a gospel sing; and a lip-syncing competition.