By Don Lowe
It’s a festive time, for sure, in Carthage as this Southwest Missouri town of about 15,000 located east of Joplin is ready to celebrate the 57th Annual Maple Leaf Festival® later this month with a wide range of activities sure to delight residents and visitors alike.
It’s an exciting time for so many businesses and organizations, as well as countless individuals throughout this community, that have partnered with the Carthage Chamber of Commerce and City of Carthage to help put such an incredible event together.
Carthage Water & Electric Plant (CWEP) Customer Relations Manager Meagan Milliken couldn’t be more thrilled her company lends a helping hand, and she says, “We sponsor the chili cookoff. And all proceeds are donated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“We organize getting the cooks signed up and set up everything in the park. Anyone can pay $5 to test all the chilis and then vote on the best ones.”
As a company that’s served Carthage for more than 100 years, Milliken says CWEP has “been part of the Maple Leaf Festival since the very beginning.
“We utilize our bucket trucks, trailers and CWEP volunteers to haul the Carthage High School sports teams, as well as youth football and cheer teams through the parade every year.”
Along with the parade and chili cookoff, there’s so much to see and enjoy, including everything from arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment, a quilt show and petting zoo, as well as a carnival full of rides and fun for all ages.
H.E. Williams, Inc., much like CWEP, has been in Carthage for more than a century and is ecstatic to be part of this annual extravaganza.
“Our Maple Leaf Festival sponsorship gives us the opportunity to celebrate with a community that has supported us for generations,” says Adrienna Tiller, marketing communications specialist at H.E. Williams. “As a company that is more than 100 years old, we appreciate the rich history the Maple Leaf Festival emphasizes.
“Many people from surrounding areas look forward to this event to celebrate the season and create lasting memories with family and friends. It also allows us to show off the best parts of Carthage and all it has to offer.”
In considering just what makes this so special for Carthage, Milliken says, “It’s all about family and tradition. We are proud to be a part of it.”
As for just what makes this such a big deal year after year, Tiller suggests, “The Maple Leaf Festival holds a special place in the hearts of many. It’s not just a celebration of fall but a cherished tradition that brings together the community in a display of art, culture and local talent.
“The festival’s longevity, dating back to more than five decades, helps make it a symbol of both continuity and unity for Carthage.”
Most everyone in Carthage comes together to ensure this event is nothing short of spectacular for all those who attend while providing an opportunity to make a lifetime of memories.
Maple Leaf Festival® Fast Facts
When: Numerous events Friday, Oct. 13-Saturday, Oct. 21
Where: Various locations including the Carthage square and Central Park
History: The Maple Leaf Festival® began in 1966 as a marching band competition. Since then, volunteers have come together to organize an event to celebrate the beauty of the fall foliage on the maple leaf trees.
Contact: Carthage Chamber of Commerce at 402 S. Garrison Ave., Carthage, Missouri
Phone No.: 417.358.2373
Email Address: [email protected]
For a full schedule and updates see the Maple Leaf Festival Facebook Page here