By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
What had become Joplin’s signature festival — Boomtown Days — has been canceled for this year and has a questionable future, according to the director of Joplin’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Boomtown Days was one of the events to be awarded a city grant for this year to help pay part of the costs of entertainment and advertising but festival organizers have notified the CVB board they will not use the grant this year. The grant was for $19,500.
The event was scheduled for June 13-15 but many of the people involved in putting on the event are involved in Joplin’s recovery from the 2011 tornado. CVB director Patrick Tuttle said that in addition to the tornado, legal proceedings involving the festival's funds also have impeded the willingness of volunteers to work on the event.
Kim Lester, 54, 5848 Eland Road, pleaded guilty to the theft in September. She admitted to withdrawing $108,000, putting back about $64,000 and paid $40,000 in restitution.