Summer festival season is in full swing in Missouri. Over the next several months, communities across the state will be hosting dozens of events showcasing food, music, history and heritage.
Here is a sampling to help you celebrate summer in the Show-Me State:
East Prairie's Sweet Corn Festival is a party on Main Street with food and craft vendors, games, music, pig races and plenty of sweet corn. The festival features the Tour de Corn, a one-day charity bike ride that attracts more than 1,000 cyclists of all skill levels. The 44th annual festival is June 22-23.
The Taste of SoMo in Springfield showcases dozens of local restaurants offering international cuisine, farm-fresh fare, fusion creations, down-home country cooking and more. The June 23 event at Park Central Square also includes cooking stations, live music and beer and cocktail vendors.
Chillicothe's Sliced Bread Jam Bluegrass Festival will coincide with the celebration of the community's 90th anniversary as the home of sliced bread. The Chillicothe Baking Company sold the first commercially produced sliced bread on July 7, 1928. The festival, set for July 7-8, will feature several top bluegrass performers.
Every Labor Day weekend, historic Laclede's Landing in St. Louis hosts the Big Muddy Blues Festival. The festival celebrates the city's rich blues history with more than 50 bands at three outdoor stages, four indoor stages and events at the National Blues Museum. Music lovers can enjoy a wide range of blues including delta, country, soul, R&B and rock at the 23rd annual festival Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Moberly's Railroad Days pays tribute to the town's railroad history with mini-train rides, museum displays, live entertainment, carnival rides, a beer garden and more. The 13th annual festival will be held June 11-16 at the town's Historic Railroad Depot Park.
Louisiana will celebrate its bicentennial June 30-July 4 with a parade, old-fashioned family picnic and tribute to the town's businesses and organizations. A bust of John B. Henderson, a U.S. Senator from northeast Missouri and co-author of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, will be unveiled. A motorcycle parade, music and fireworks display will cap off the celebration on the Fourth of July.
Visitors can experience the history of Hannibal through the eyes of Mark Twain during National Tom Sawyer Days. Highlights include a frog jumping contest, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher competition, parade, fence painting contest, mud volleyball, arts and crafts show, and fireworks launched from the banks of the Mississippi River. The 63th annual event will run July 4-7.
Carver Day in Diamond celebrates George Washington Carver's contributions as a scientist, educator and humanitarian and highlights African American history through speakers, storytelling, music, educational programs and activities for kids. This year's festival, July 14, also will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the George Washington Carver National Monument, the first national monument to honor an African American.
The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival commemorates "The Mother Road" in Springfield where the highway got its now-famous name. The festival includes a parade, car show, motorcycle show, live music and a 6.6K run. Displays will feature authors, artists and collectors of Route 66 memorabilia. The 8th annual festival will be held Aug. 10-11.
The Juneteenth Celebration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The June 19 event will include story-telling presentations, a film screening, photography exhibit, art and dance demonstrations, and performances by the Kansas City Boys Choir, the Kansas City Girls Choir and the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation Jazz Ensemble.
Marian Days in Carthage, said to be North America's largest religious pilgrimage, brings thousands of Vietnamese Catholic families together to celebrate faith and fellowship. The public is invited to join in the celebration, which features food kiosks, a farmer's market and vendors offering devotional and cultural items. The 41st annual event is set for August 2-5.
The Kansas City Irish Fest, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, celebrates "Celtic Pride in Cowtown" and showcases the connections between Ireland and America. The festival focuses on food, dance and music, including performances by more than 30 bands. Workshops and displays and a children's activity area are also planned.
Independence Day celebrations
The Booms and Blooms Festival June 30 at Powell Gardens near Kansas City offers flowers by day and fireworks by night. Festival goers can enjoy the gardens, hands-on activities and a variety of food vendors. When the sun goes down the Lee's Summit Symphony will accompany the fireworks show.
Republic will host its 22nd annual Have-A-Blast Patriotic Celebration June 29. Music, food and fun – including pony rides, face painting and a petting zoo – will conclude with a community fireworks display.
Billed as America's biggest birthday party, Fair St. Louis will return to its original home on the grounds of the Arch following the grand reopening of the renovated Gateway Arch National Park Visitor Center and Museum. A vast entertainment lineup and nightly firework shows draw hundreds of thousands of attendees every year. The event begins on the Fourth of July and runs through July 7.