Welcome back. Volunteers are the backbone of most of the events in our community and as I travel around the country I find that this is true everywhere. From schools events and parades to a wide range of fundraising events, volunteer support is key to the success of these programs. In Bartlesville where there are many not for profit organizations volunteers play an essential role doing everything from working in kitchens and answering phones to serving on Boards of Directors. There is truly a place for everyone who wants to serve their community so no wonder we have a national volunteer appreciation day! Sponsors are also critically important to the success of not for profit programs and fundraising events. Without the financial and in-kind support of generous individuals and businesses the events that we all enjoy from the Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion at Woolaroc to SUNFEST would not be possible. SUNFEST is a perfect example of what I mean. For thirty seven years this impressive three day festival has been completely run by volunteers and thanks to donors and sponsors it is always free. This year SUNFEST will be offering not only fabulous music, delicious food and an exciting arts and crafts show but also a big car exhibit and numerous youth events. The theme for 2019 is “One Town, One Home, One Family.” You gotta love it! Driving down the road from Springfield, MO I’ve been giving these topics a lot of thought and I tend to think a bit like Waite Phillips did when he was quoted as saying “the only things we keep permanently are those we giveaway.” As I have mentioned, this week I am headed to Amarillo, TX for the Texas Gun and Knife Show at the Amarillo Civic Center. With all the history and attractions this town has to offer I’m sure my visit will go by way too fast. I plan to do a follow up story and bring you all the scoop. From Amarillo it will be on to the biggest trade show of its kind in the state of Kansas. The show is held in Kansas City and I’m told to expect thousands of people so if the creek don’t rise I’ll be filling you in on this trip the following week. I’ll end this week with a mention of the passing of another icon in local history. His name was Lee Stone and he was the last in a great group of people that included Dick Kane, Arnold Moore and Tom Sears among many others. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……….
Welcome back. Coffeyville, Kansas, a town whose history has always interested me, was the place to be last Friday and Saturday. Yes, as I wrote about last week it was the location for the big Inter-State Farm and Home Show which is becoming an annual event and with good weather people came out in big numbers. Farmers, welders, homebuilders, this show had something for every working person. I can tell you it was also lots of fun and organizers tell me to look for an even bigger show next year. This week I’m headed out to Springfield, Missouri where I’m doing a book signing at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Springfield is a place I’ve written about before but since I haven’t been there in a while I thought I’d revisit some local history. Springfield was officially incorporated in 1838 but long before then the area was inhabited by the Kickapoo, Delaware and Osage tribes. The early economy was centered on trade and the town grew into an important commercial hub. Today tourism is a key part of the economy due to Springfield’s proximity to Branson and all its attractions. The region also has many lakes and rivers which attract people for fishing, camping and water sports. With a population of around 159,000, Springfield is home to many arts organizations which appeal to both residents and visitors including a symphony orchestra, an opera company, a regional theater company and an art museum. In addition there are many festivals that take place throughout the year such as the Missouri Food Truck Festival and the spring Japanese Festival. From 1955-1961 Springfield hosted Ozark Jubilee and several related spin-off shows which featured performances by country music stars. The shows were broadcast around the country by ABC TV and brought attention to the town. The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds where I’ll be is a story in itself. There are two large buildings capable of holding thousands of people for any kind of event you can imagine. They also have a big rodeo arena and numerous livestock barns. Food stalls are scattered around the property which offer a wide variety of fair foods during events, all surrounded by giant parking lots. If this wasn’t enough, on the south side of the property sits the Springfield Zoo which is one of the nicest zoos I’ve seen for a town of this size. On a local note I recently learned that a beloved community leader is about to retire and move out of town to be closer to family. This is a person who has met sports legends, prominent politicians and top performers from around the country. He has also dedicated himself to many important causes in the community including Crime Stoppers and Elder Care’s The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque. A voice on the radio for twenty-five years, Charlie Taraboletti has kept us all informed on the important events of the day from sports to weather and politics. I know we all wish him well.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…. #