CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The 35th annual Marian Days is less than a month off, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.
The celebration is set for Aug. 2 through 5 on the campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix at Fairview and Grand avenues. Crews supervised by the Carthage Police Department, which provides security for the celebration, will be on site starting Aug. 1, according to Chief Greg Dagnan.
The location for the command center for police and other emergency agencies will be moved this year to the parking lot of the Carthage Salvation Army. It is just across the street from the CMC campus, at the northwest corner of Fairview and Grand avenues.
That will put public safety agencies, including fire and emergency medical crews, closer to the center of activities, Dagnan said. For years, the command center has been just off Highland Avenue, at the northeast edge of the CMC campus. In recent years, the congregation has purchased more property to the south of Fairview Avenue, and more celebrants are staying in that area.
“Since they opened up the south campground and that area has gotten more and more people, we were not as close to the action,” Dagnan said. “We think this will be more efficient.”
The main roadblock into the CMC campus will be at the corner of Fairview and Grand avenues. For the past several years, security cameras have been used at that location to monitor traffic and make sure staffing was sufficient.
Dagnan said schedules already have gone out to the law enforcement agencies that will help provide security and patrols for the festival. Other agencies are hired so that Carthage can maintain the same level of patrols inside the city during the event, Dagnan said.
Officers from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, and the Joplin, Webb City, Oronogo and Carl Junction police departments supplement crews from Carthage.
“By the last day, we’ll have 25 to 30 people (officers) there,” the chief said.
Last year, there were concerns that oppressive heat would reduce the turnout. Attendance, if anything, seemed a bit higher than normal, Dagnan said, with air-conditioning units showing up at more campsites.
“Every year, there’s speculation that the economy, gas prices or something else will reduce the numbers,” Dagnan said. “I think it grows a little every year.”
Many of the celebrants camp on the CMC grounds and in surrounding neighborhoods, and others stay in hotels in Carthage and Joplin.
ACTIONS NEEDED by the city to authorize a religious procession and fireworks as part of the Marian Days celebration will be considered by the Carthage Public Safety Committee when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday.