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…. #