Day Trippn’: No Time to Tarry, the Boone Dawdle is Just Around the Corner

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Roughly two hours from Rolla, there are many things to enjoy about Columbia in the summertime. 

There are the leisurely bike rides on Columbia's celebrated trails. There are the numerous outstanding outdoor concerts. There's delicious and seasonal locally-sourced food and Columbia's distinguished farmers markets. 

There's kicking back and enjoying a good movie in a cool theater or in a pretty park. And, of course, there's the ice-cold, locally-crafted adult beverages and the requisite yard games at the city's different award-winning breweries and winery. Columbia's annual Boone Dawdle, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14 combines all of the summer favorites - biking, music, food, fun, nature and film - in one enjoyable and entertaining event.

The Boone Dawdle is aptly named as to “dawdle” means to take one’s time and that’s the best way to experience this lazy summertime expedition from Flat Branch Park in downtown Columbia to Les Bourgeois Vineyards' Blufftop Bistro in Rocheport. 

Dawdlers will enjoy a picnic-style dinner, local refreshments, live music and a screening of the new documentary “The Neutral Ground” at Les Bourgeois Vineyards’ Blufftop Bistro in Rocheport.

This summertime staple doubles as a fundraiser for the Ragtag Film Society and the internationally-acclaimed True/False Film Fest and also as a stop-gap for those that are eagerly awaiting the 2022 True/False Film Fest scheduled for March 3-6, 2022, the Dawdle is kind of like a distillation of the entire documentary film festival into one mobile summertime event.

After a one-year hiatus for the Dawdle as a result of COVID-19, Barbie Banks, co-custodian of the Ragtag Film Society and one of the organizers for the True/False Film Fest, is very much looking forward to the 2021 Boone Dawdle.

"The Boone Dawdle returns,” says Banks. "This event brings together some of the best things in life and it is designed to pair the inherent beauty of Mid-Missouri with the exceptional arts programming that the True/False Film Fest is known for. After having to cancel the Boone Dawdle in 2020, we are ecstatic to bring back one of our favorite events."

This roughly 17-mile bike ride gets underway Saturday afternoon, Aug. 14 at Flat Branch Park as “dawdlers” gather to register for the event between 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. 

The MKT is Columbia’s premiere trail. This 10-foot wide trail built on the old railbed of the MKT railroad begins in downtown Columbia in Flat Branch Park at 4th and Cherry Streets.

While at the park they also can check over their bicycles during the free bike clinic provided by Walt's Bike Shop from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and mull around the vendor village before departing for a languid ride on the beautiful MKT Nature and Fitness Trail, which was voted the Second-Best Urban Trail in the Country by readers of USA Today. 

Once cyclists depart Flat Branch Park, they will ride just under nine miles on the MKT before meeting up with the famous Katy Trail State Park near McBaine, MO. From there, they'll pedal eight additional miles flanked by limestone bluffs and the Missouri River to the charming town of Rocheport where a picnic-style meal of fresh-made, locally-sourced fare (complete with local beer, wine, spirits and other drinks) will be enjoyed on the lawn of the Blufftop Bistro overlooking the Missouri River.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards. Photo courtesy Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau

All along the way from Columbia to Rocheport cyclists will find clever “Trailside Surprises” such as the “Advice Machine,” a trailside carnival, yard games, contests and many more items of intrigue and enjoyment. And, no True/False event would be complete without busking musicians. Local musicians will be strategically placed along the trail at convenient weigh points so “dawdlers” can stop and enjoy live music and the camaraderie of their fellow revelers.

Once at the Blufftop Bistro, along with dinner, attendees also will get to enjoy a live performance from St. Louis-based hip-hop artist Blvck Spvde (pronounced as "Black Spade") on the bluff top as the sun sets over the river. At dusk there will be an outdoor screening of the new film "The Neutral Ground," a documentary about "memory, monuments and breaking up with the confederacy." In proper True/False fashion, a Q&A with the filmmaker C.J. Hunt will follow the film.

Shuttles for cyclists and their bikes will be provided to transport attendees from Rocheport back to Flat Branch Park in Columbia following the evening's program.

Those that would like to enjoy the party at the Blufftop Bistro but skip the bike ride can simply purchase a Boone Dawdle Party Pass and drive (or carpool) from Columbia to the bistro and join in the festivities.

Available passes include the "Whole Shebang" for $80 or the "Party Pass" for $60. Additional add-ons and raffle tickets will be available when registering online or in person the day of the event.

To order passes, get more information on "The Neutral Ground" film and/or updates on the 2022 True/False Film Fest, visit www.TrueFalse.org.

The “Big Tree” in McBaine - the largest and oldest Bur Oak in the country - is a popular stop along the Boone Dawdle.

Visitors planning to attend the Boone Dawdle can find more information on where to stay as well as all the other fun events, year-around attractions, excellent options for dining and libations available in Columbia, by visiting the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau website at www.VisitColumbiaMO.com or by calling 573-874-CITY (2489).