The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 10, 2014

Carl Junction Chamber to manage annual bluegrass festival

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — After 17 years, Carl Junction’s annual bluegrass festival is changing. The venue, music and activities will remain the same, but the management and production of it will be by the Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce.

Previously, volunteers headed up the festival. Citing its economic impact, city officials said the festival plays an important role to the community and is the city’s largest tourism event.

City Administrator Steve Lawver, said the city has an existing contract with the Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce to provide economic development services. The festival agreement will be an extension of that existing contract.

“The chamber has a proven track record for producing successful events. The city believes that the bluegrass festival is being put in the most capable hands to continue its success,” Lawver said.

The festival first was conceived by the late Jim Wisdom, former mayor of Carl Junction, whose dream was to hold a family-friendly event in Center Creek Park. One of Wisdom’s neighbors played in a bluegrass band, which spurred the idea for a bluegrass festival.

With the help of long-time organizers Pat Smith, a former city councilwoman, and resident Randy Corbin, the first festival drew a crowd of about 1,500 people. Estimates by organizers the last few years have put attendance at close to 10,000.

Chamber Executive Director Gary Stubblefield said the chamber’s board of directors unanimously approved the agreement with the city.

“We see great opportunities for growth with the festival,” Stubblefield said. “We are humbled by the City's faith in our abilities and excited to give our resident's a festival that would make Jim Wisdom proud".

The 17th Annual Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 27. Vendor booth space and festival sponsorships are being booked. Details: Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, 417-649-8846.


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