Phelps County journeyers looking forward to the end of a long, cold winter will find a plethora of things to do this spring.
Communities across the Show-Me State are ready to welcome warmer weather with a variety of festivals, events and celebrations. From music and food to Churchill and Twain, there's something sure to appeal to everyone in each region of the state.
● America's National Churchill Museum in Fulton will celebrate its 50th anniversary May 3-5. Housed in a 17th-century Sir Christopher Wren church, relocated from London to Missouri, the museum commemorates Winston Churchill's historic "Iron Curtain" speech – delivered in 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton – and includes the largest Churchill collection in North America. The anniversary celebration will include a parade, exhibitions, concerts and presentations about Churchill and his legacy.
● The Salute to Veterans Celebration in Columbia, May 25-26, offers a free air show and parade. For 31 years, this annual Memorial Day weekend event has been held to recognize, honor and thank all veterans and active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States and its Allies, past and present.
● Mark Twain and some of his most famous characters will be featured at the Twain on Main Festival May 25-26 in Hannibal, the boyhood home of Missouri's most famous author. The event includes story tellers, street magicians, arts and crafts, and children's games in the historic downtown area on the banks of the Mississippi River during the town’s bicentennial anniversary.
● The 2019 WashMo BBQ, Bikes & Blues is set for April 26-28 in historic downtown Washington. The family-oriented event will offer live music, a vintage market, a barbecue tasting event, a Kid’s Q BBQ Competition and the 11th Annual BBQ Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society.
● The St. Louis area will play host to several art events during May, including the Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park, May 10-12; the Schlafly Art Outside Festival, May 25-27; and the St. Louis African Arts Festival, May 25-27.
● Dedicated to honoring the memory of America’s soldiers and their families, Missouri's National Veterans Memorial in Perryville will celebrate its grand opening May 18-19. The memorial’s crowning achievement is a full-scale, exact replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
● The French Heritage Festival in Ste. Genevieve is set for June 8-9 in the historic Mississippi river town. The annual festival celebrates 300 years of French culture in North America and recognizes Ste. Genevieve as having the greatest concentration of authentic French Colonial architecture in North America. The festival will include music, dance, storytelling, French cuisine, reenactments and more.
● The Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival, April 25-27, in Marshfield welcomes presidential descendants from Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Cleveland, Ford and others, as well as celebrities with ties to Missouri. The festival also celebrates Marshfield’s favorite son, astronomer Edwin Hubble.
● Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass & BBQ Festival, May 2-27, will bring more than 60 bands together for 24 days of music and food at one of the nation's top theme parks.
● Celebration at the Station, the Kansas City Symphony’s 17th annual patriotic concert event is the largest, free Memorial Day weekend festival in the Midwest. The May 26 celebration will honor veterans from all generations and include Kansas City’s grandest fireworks display. The event will offer pre-concert musical acts, food trucks, a Family Zone, the Honeywell Veterans Place with services for veterans, plus activities inside Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial.
● Parkville will kick off the summer with live music, handcrafted ales and food at the Parkville Microbrew Fest April 27. In nearby St. Joseph, visitors will be able to tour Victorian-era homes in the Hall Street district while sampling beers, tasting foods from area eateries and listening to local musicians at the St. Joseph Beer Walk for the Arts, also on April 27.