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The Red Barn Arts & Crafts Festival began in 1974 as a gleam in the eye of a few arts-minded individuals. The festival was conceived to promote community interest in the Arts and Crafts – to give recognition and awards for outstanding art and craft work – and to provide artists and craftsmen an informal opportunity to display and demonstrate their work for the people in the Kirksville community. The festival has grown through the years into a major regional arts and crafts festival and an important and much anticipated event in Kirksville.
Currently the Red Barn Arts & Crafts Festival is the main program for the Kirksville Arts Association. Festival sponsorships, exhibitor fees and proceeds from the soda booths help to offset the costs of the programs and administration of the many community arts programs funded by the association.