CASSVILLE, Mo. — Kids Fishing Day at Roaring River State Park is always a blast. While not as a big as Opening Day every March 1, the events draw large crowds.

The next one will be held Saturday, Aug. 15.

It's one of two opportunities to fish for free in the park. The other is a day to honor veterans, Saturday, Sept. 19.

On Kids Fishing Day, the upper holes are reserved just for children, lunkers are stocked and children fish for free.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources team up to hold two Kids Fishing Days each year, one in the spring and one in August, generally before school resumes.

The spring event this year had to be canceled, but the second one, set for Aug. 15, is a go. However, it will be trimmed back this year.

Kids Fishing Day will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day, with an area of the park reserved for children ages 15 and under. Children in that age range can pick up free trout tags at the park store any time on Friday, Aug. 14, or all day on the day of the event.

In the past, children have been encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment, but the park also offered loaner poles. There won't be any loaner poles this year, and children will need their own poles. Parents are welcome to assist kids, but only one pole may be used between the helper and the child. Adults are not allowed to fish by themselves.

In the past, educational events and programs have been held too, but they are being canceled this year.

"There is just no way we can do it and do it safely," said Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager.

Hatchery tours also are canceled this year.

To get more information, call the Missouri Department of Conservation's Roaring River Hatchery at 417-847-2430 or email paul.spurgeon@mdc.mo.gov.

On Sept. 19, any individual with veteran status will be able to fish inside the park from 7:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Additional information on the event will be released as the date gets closer.

The park is 7 miles south of Cassville.

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Informational meeting planned at Roaring River

The annual informational meeting for Roaring River and Big Sugar Creek state parks will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Staff from the park will be on hand to provide information about Roaring River and Big Sugar Creek state parks and answer questions. The public is invited to share comments about the parks and their operations. The meetings give staff the opportunity to let people know the current status and plans for the park or site, and they offer visitors the opportunity to comment on the facilities.

The meeting will be held at the River Shelter in the day-use area.

The public is encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines and be proactive in protecting themselves and others. Bring hand sanitizer and bottled water, avoid large and congested crowds, and stay home if sick. Face coverings are encouraged when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

For more information, call the park at 417-847-2539.

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Summer concert series continues at Roaring River

The Bluegrass Music Concert Series continues at Roaring River State Park through the end of September. The free shows feature local bands from 7-9 p.m. every Friday night as well as Saturday nights on some weekends. The Aug. 14 performance will be at the CCC Shelter. All other performances will be at the River Shelter.

The schedule for the remainder of the year:

• July 31: Sugar Mountain Band.

• Aug. 7: Flyin' Buzzards.

• Aug. 14: Ozark Mountain Revival.

• Aug. 15: Sugar Mountain Band, Flyin' Buzzards and The Bakers.

• Aug. 21: Flyin' Buzzards.

• Aug. 28: Shuyler Valley Band.

• Sept. 4: Possum Trot Band.

• Sept. 5: Flyin' Buzzards.

• Sept. 11: Sugar Mountain Band.

• Sept. 18: Flyin' Buzzards.

• Sept. 25: Ripplin' Creek Band.