Missouri’s North Star

By Debi Boughton

Resting at the top of Missouri, Kirksville shines as Missouri’s North Star.  Summer is a time of festivals and fun in Kirksville. 

Want to celebrate an old fashioned July 4th?  July 3-5 is Kirksville’s Red, White, and Blue Festival. It includes everything from an apple pie contest to an Uncle Sam 5K Run, a classic car show, a pancake breakfast, and of course a parade and fireworks!

Begin with an evening of music on the courthouse lawn.  Buy a slice of apple pie a la mode and enjoy the community band performance with musicians ranging in age from 14 to 74.  The music is delightful because of the talent of several music professors from Truman State University.   There is nothing like sitting under the shade of old oak trees with a plate full of apple pie and melting vanilla ice cream to make you feel the timeless joy of summer.

Saturday, taste the pancakes at the breakfast in downtown Kirksville.  You can cover your pancakes with strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, and with whipped cream.  For those less adventurous there is always regular syrup too.  Watch the parade and enjoy the Classic Car Show and Farmer’s Market.  Enjoy living history as you stroll through Forest Llewellyn Cemetery where actors portray the pioneers of Kirksville.  Cool off in the afternoon with a swim in Forest Lake at Thousand Hills State Park and then watch the fireworks in town at dusk.

Other summer festivals include: the Kirksville Art Walk, June 5; The NEMO Fair, July 14-20; The Community Roots Festival, August 23; the Battle of Kirksville Civil War Reenactment, Aug 21-23; and Round Barn Blues each May and September.

Every summer weekend there is a free Friday night outdoor concert. Music includes jazz, Celtic, steel drums, Rock, Blues, and Ragtime. Each Friday hosts a different band.  Saturdays include Farmer’s Market and a free Movie in the Park.

In addition to these many wonderful events, visitors can enjoy the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, and the 19th-century medicinal herb garden. Enjoy exhibits at the Sue Ross Art Gallery including paintings by 100-year-old Clara Straight who still paints every day.  Maybe you will even get to meet our famous centenarian artist if you go to dinner at Fort Chariton.  Enjoy hiking, boating, and fishing at Thousand Hills State Park or just sit on the deck of the Lake Side Dining Lodge and enjoy the sunset. 

For more information about other events and attractions go to

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