The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 15, 2013

Jo Ellis: Cool off with free summer concert in Carthage

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — What better way to cool off after a hot July day than an evening concert in the park. And even better, when it’s free.

The Carthage Council on the Arts is offering a concert in Central Park by the Route 66 Swing Band on Saturday, July 20. Made up of area musicians, the band will start playing at 7 p.m.

“This is really a fun band,” said Barbara Mountjoy, a past president of Carthage Council on the Arts. “They make you want to get up and dance.” She invited the public to come early and bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic dinner if they like.

“It’s our gift to the community at large,” Mountjoy said. “Our events are always free, but tips are welcomed.”

There will be another free concert in the park featuring a variety of music on Saturday, Aug. 24, which will conclude the council’s summer series. Carthage Council on the Arts also sponsors activities for school children and the Carthage Historic Downtown Art Walk in conjunction with the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The art walk is scheduled for July 26-27, and I will have more details on that next week. Remember that artCentral’s summer art camp is in full swing for the next two weeks and there is still time to register your child in some of the creative classes.

Sessions are $35 per day, but scholarships are available. Call Sally Armstrong, 358-4404 for details. This year’s students (along with the public) will be participating in a “yarn bombing” that will take place on the square during the Carthage Historic Downtown Art Walk, and their artistic creations will be displayed in the Jasper County Courthouse.

Random Observations

Two new attractions are now completed at Kellogg Lake Park, the 9-hole disc golf course, and the rain garden.

The rain garden, located in the outdoor classroom area, is beautifully landscaped with natural rock, gravel and native plants. It was built by the Southwest Ozarks Stream Team with financial support from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to the Carthage Spring River 319 Partnership. It is designed to slow excess water’s return to the river, leach out pollutants, and provide a habitat for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.

The disc golf course is now playable. A few days ago, I ran into three college-age students who were trying it out for the first time. While they were very appreciative of having the course here in Carthage, they questioned the viability of the layout, in particular the tee and basket in the vicinity of the bus parking lot and the new rain garden.

I also am perplexed as to why one of the baskets is very close to the parking lot across from the fishing pavilion, one of the most used lots in the park. It seems that an errant disc easily could hit someone getting in or out of their car.

However, Alan Bull, parks director, said never in the past 10 years has he had a more positive response to a park activity than to the disc golf course. He said he also questioned the hole by the bus stop, but was told by the disc golf expert laying out the course that everything was done for a reason, ostensibly to make the course challenging.

 “We’ll take a look at it for the next couple of months and see how it goes,” Bull said. “It’s easy to adjust. We’ll keep an eye on it and see what happens.” The city hopes to be able to add 9 more holes in the future.