The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 6, 2013

Annual Seneca freedom festival expands, thanks to volunteers

SENECA, Mo. — Jerrod Edison huddled his six-man team together for a quick strategy session Saturday before they faced off against the Seneca Fire Department in a tug-of-war contest at Celebrating Our Freedom as more than 100 spectators cheered on the competition.

Edison, who is a Seneca city employee, put the team together to win the first rope pull in nearly two decades in the city. Like the tricycle race and the bed race that were held earlier that day, the tug-of-war made a return this year because of popular demand and an increased turnout in volunteers to play host for the events.

“This was big back when we had it, and it just went away,” Edison said.

People always called for its return “because it was plain old fun,” he said. “This is the kind of stuff that you get in a small town. We all look forward to this weekend because it is the big summer event here.”

Having volunteers step into the role of organizers is something that the city hopes becomes a new tradition. Past years saw the gradual disappearance of events, despite growing attendance. The Seneca Area Chamber of Commerce oversees the planning and organization of the all-day event. Chamber Treasurer Lori Scriber said the town event sometimes breaks 10,000 attendees over the weekend.

“Even with years with bad weather, we can still hit 4,500, but on a weekend this nice we will probably hit 10,000, and that means a lot of good things for our city’s businesses,” Scriber said. “We have newspaper clippings going back into the ’60s where we running this, and it has been one of our signature events for the community.”

That work for the following year typically begins a few weeks after the event concludes, effectively turning the event into a yearlong project that culminates in an all-day celebration of the city. Because of the town’s smaller size, Scriber said, the chamber has to secure dependable volunteers in addition to securing the sponsorship to pay for the event’s sizable costs. The event includes one of the largest fireworks displays in the area.

“We effectively have 10 people behind the scenes putting this together, so it is up to us to challenge other community members to step into a leadership role to make sure these events happen,” Scriber said. “This event is completely volunteer-driven, and they put in work getting everything set up and running smoothly. Then we get people who want to go beyond that who help put together new activities so that we continue to grow.”

Volunteers like Katherine Oxford and her husband, Darin, are those type of people helping the event grow. Both grew up in Seneca, before they departed for Kansas City later in their lives. Now that they have returned to the city as business owners, Darin said, they want to help in any way they can, which included organizing Saturday’s rope pull.

“I grew up with this, and we came back every year when we were away,” Oxford said. “Now my grandkids are taking part in some of the fun stuff I grew up with. You get to see it come full circle in a small town like this.”


Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire

    A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.

    July 29, 2014

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter