Shoal Creek Water Festival

Wildcat Glades Friends Group board member Kaitlyn Welch assists Bailey Claar, 3, and Benjamin Korman, 6, as they prepare to launch their shoebox boats during the Shoal Creek Water Festival in 2021 at Wildcat Glades.Globe file

The annual Shoal Creek Water Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Wildcat Park along Shoal Creek.

The event is free.

New this year is a crawdad boil fundraiser Friday night.

Wildcat Glades Friends Group also will celebrate a $10,000 donation from Amazon with a check presentation Saturday.

“We take care of a large portion of the trails here in Wildcat Park and one of the things that we will use that money for is to help remove some of the graffiti,” said Robin Standridge, executive director of the Wildcat Glades Friends Group. “It’s expensive to remove the graffiti off of the bluffs or off the rocks, and it is a never-ending process.”

The event will include food trucks, information booths, all-day entertainment and races.

“It’s our hope that the community learns, and they realize the various ways that we benefit from water and how important it is to conserve water,” she said of the festival. “We’re hoping people walk away with just one new fact about water and the importance of water.”

Besides being a popular park and recreation area, Shoal Creek is also the source of most of Joplin’s drinking water.

“We’ll have a Stream Team booth, the Missouri Department of Conservation will have a booth on rain gardens, the Eastern Shawnee tribe will be there,” Standridge said. “The National Park (Service) will be there, master gardeners, master naturalists, the Audubon chapter, of course the Wildcats Glades Friends Group. We will have Bud’s Bait, and we will have the MAKO Fly Fishers. Missouri American Water is bringing a live bald eagle that will be at their booth.”

Annual events that are part of the festival include cardboard boat races, shoebox boat races and a rubber duck race. The winners of those races will be awarded various prizes, with the winners of each age bracket in the shoebox race receiving cash and the grand prize of the duck race being an angler’s kayak.

The deadline to register for the shoebox and cardboard boat races is noon Friday. Entry tickets for the shoebox boat race and the cardboard boat races can be found at Entry tickets for any of the cardboard boats will be $25, and the entry ticket for the shoebox race will cost $5. Standridge can be contacted with questions at 417-708-7713.

Money raised from the duck race goes toward funding the various performers and events at the festival.

“We will have live entertainment there,” Standridge said. “We’ll have someone singing all day long. We have the Fishin’ Magicians; they have a conservation message. They’ll be doing two performances on that day.”

There will be a water gun station and obstacle course for children, and several people with stand-up paddle boards and kayaks for people to test out.

For specific events and times visit

The newly added crawdad boil fundraiser will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday along Shoal Creek in Wildcat Park. The event is limited, and anyone wanting to attend is asked to call Standridge to make reservations. She said the event is $25 a plate.

There also will be a Kids Fishing Derby from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the nearby Walter Woods Conservation Area, 7129 Dutch Elm Drive. Kids will have the opportunity to catch and release fish from the education pond. Awards and prizes will be given away at the Shoal Creek Water Festival after the derby. All equipment, tackle and bait will be provided. Fishing slots are limited, so register each child separately. Children must be 15 or younger and must be accompanied by an adult mentor. For information and to register, call 417-629-3434.

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