JOPLIN, Mo. —
Another year of awesome.
There was plenty to do each week in the Joplin area, thanks to the hard work of artists, organizers and others involved with getting things together. There were so many great events that we're undoubtedly missing some good ones. These are the highlights among a lot of brilliant things to do:
Kicks on 66
One of the biggest events happened during the summer cruising season -- appropriate for a celebration of the Mother Road.
The Route 66 International Festival brought thousands of fans to Joplin for a three-day event filled with cars, drive-in movies, music and history. A special showing of "Cars" at the 66 Drive-in alone spoke to the demand -- tickets for the showing sold out in eight hours after it was announced in June.
The festival, run by an international organization, will be held in Kingman, Ariz., in 2014, but Joplin is a contender to host the large festival again in the future.
Off the wall
Part of the events for the Route 66 International Festival including the unveiling of two murals dedicated to the route.
But that wasn't the only work bound for a wall. We saw eight different projects happen across Joplin, including:
- ¥ A mural mosaic at Phoenix Fired Arts.
- ¥ A mural, installed across from City Hall, featuring photos from the "Dear World" exhibit at Spiva Center for the Arts.
- ¥ A "welcome to Joplin" mural on North Main Street painted by MSSU art students.
There are others in the works, we hear, and we can't wait to see them.
Halloween haunts were enhanced with zombies this year, from zombie walks in Joplin and Galena to hunting them with paintball guns.
The zombies were one of the bigger reminders that Halloween is a big deal in the Four States. In addition to a high number of haunts, the area saw attractions and features that paired opera with ghost hunting.
Macabre Haunted History Tours featured singers with American Opera Studio and ghost hunters with Paranormal Science Labs. Together, they presented a program in downtown Joplin where classic macabre music was sung at locations with a little bit of haunting going on. This was also one of the final live ghost hunts at the Olivia Apartments.
We also enjoyed telling the story of Jay Olson and Ben Asquith, who started a new business based on decorating for Halloween. The two use a papier-mache technique that, after a series of waterproofing procedures, lets the duo create horrifyingly detailed decorations that last year after year.
They started their business, Unhinged Props, this year and hope to have a full schedule of consultancy gigs and a wide variety of tutorials for clients in 2014.