By Robin Fjelstad
NEOSHO, Mo. — “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
— Benjamin Franklin
The residents of Neosho will be celebrating two landmark events during the first week of April. The first is the 50th anniversary celebration of the opening of Crowder College. The second is the 25-year celebration of the Neosho citywide garage sale.
Tuesday marks the day that Crowder College was founded on the old Fort Crowder military installation. Newton and McDonald county school district administrators and superintendents, including James Tatum, Robert Anderson, Jack Wood and Alton Carnell were instrumental in making the proposal a reality.
The college opened in September 1964 with 360 enrolled students attending in just two school buildings. Enrollment for the fall 2012 semester set a new record of 5,590 students attending classes at the original location and nine additional sites, including those in Cassville, Nevada, Webb City, Carthage and Mount Vernon.
The 50th anniversary celebration begins at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Neosho campus. Tatum will be the keynote speaker. Alumnus and guests will be given campus tours that will include displays of historical photos. A commemorative anniversary book will be available for purchase as well. The event will include a picnic lunch and will conclude with softball and baseball games at 2 p.m.
The 25th annual citywide garage sale will be in business two days this year, Friday and Saturday, April 5-6. The Neosho Chamber of Commerce expects hundreds of Neosho and nearby residents to participate by holding sales and/or shopping. The sale will start at 7 a.m. both days.
Promoted as the first and largest citywide sale in the state of Missouri, the annual event has been an overwhelming success from the very first year, and has established a widespread following. Bargain hunters from neighboring states flock to Neosho to take part in the annual treasure hunt, doubling the city’s population on the first weekend in April.
The Neosho School District has a previously scheduled day off on Friday.
Gib Garrow, director of economic development for the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, said that with schools out that day, traffic should be manageable.
The Neosho chamber’s website has an electronic garage sale map where residents have listed their addresses at www.neoshocc.com. Make sure to get your yard sale signs and your address listed if you have not yet done so.
Neosho public service personnel and law enforcement are great supporters of the event and volunteers post signs to redirect traffic, creating one-way streets to help smooth out traffic flow in the more heavily traveled areas.
It truly takes a community effort to ensure the continued success of the citywide sale, an effort that pays financial dividends to businesses and residents in the short term, but fosters a civic pride that sustains itself indefinitely.
Robin Fjelstad lives in Goodman. She is a communications major at Missouri Southern State University and recipient of the Rebekah Hughes scholarship. In conjunction with the scholarship, she is an intern for The Joplin Globe.