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
  • Gov. Nixon signs measure extending Missouri Rx program

    Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Thursday sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, that will extend Missouri’s prescription drug assistance program for another three years.

    July 11, 2014

  • Four State Farm Show gearing for 40th year

    The annual Four State Farm Show, which brings thousands of farmers and ranchers to the area, has grown into a mall of agriculture over the past 40 years.

    July 11, 2014

  • Carver Day activities planned at monument

    Nearly 1,000 people will descend on George Washington Carver National Monument Saturday for the 71st annual Carver Day ceremony.

    July 11, 2014

  • Globe Alerts contest winners announced

    Congratulation to Bill Harvey and Michelle Ramriez!

    They won tickets to see the Cardinals play on Friday, July 18 in St. Louis.

    They won just for being registered to receive text and email Joplin Globe Alerts.

    You can Win too. Just register and wait for our contest announcements.

    July 11, 2014

  • 071114 Mustang1_72.jpg Mustangs roll into Joplin for Mother Road Weekend

    Amanda Massey, of Joplin, gasped when she saw the 1968 fastback Mustang. “This is gorgeous — simply gorgeous,’’ she said. “I have always wanted an old Mustang.’’ With family members in tow, Massey had an opportunity Friday to examine a herd of wild and colorful Mustangs that muscled its way onto Main Street in downtown Joplin for the Mustang Mother Road Weekend.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Local libraries target early childhood literacy with state program

    Local libraries are reporting great success so far this summer with the Racing to Read program, an early childhood literacy initiative from the state. The program, established by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, is designed to help strengthen and expand the quality and availability of library services to address early literacy needs in Missouri.

    July 11, 2014

  • Joplin High School construction ‘fast, furious’ in homestretch

    Will Joplin High School be ready for classes next month? It’s a question that is being asked of Superintendent C.J. Huff almost daily now, and he said Friday that the project is still tracking for an Aug. 25 opening. “I’m over there almost every day, and the transformation is remarkable,” he said.

    July 11, 2014

  • Camper dies from copperhead snake bite in Missouri

    A St. Charles man is dead after being bitten by a copperhead snake while camping with his family in southeast Missouri.

    July 11, 2014

  • Prosecutor reduces charges alleging child endangerment

    The Jasper County prosecutor has reduced child endangerment charges a father was facing in connection with allegedly driving under the influence of sleeping pills with his children in the car and crashing the vehicle into the Toys R Us store in Joplin.

    July 10, 2014

  • Joplin Trails Coalition awaiting word on grant for Ruby Jack

    After the rain cleared Thursday morning, Jim Gant grabbed his boots and bug spray and headed to the Ruby Jack Trail near Oronogo to trim the trees and bushes that line the edges.

    July 10, 2014

Must Read


A study, to be reported on in Sunday’s Globe, recently reviewed the market conditions across the region. Do you think this is a good time to start a business?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter