By Dean Backes
Along with the many celebrations going on all over the state, the Harrisonville organization, “Love the Harrisonville Square” threw its hat into the ring and is throwing a Bicentennial Birthday Block Party for the State of Missouri on Saturday.
Although the Show-Me State won’t turn 200 until Aug. 10, the celebration is scheduled for the weekend before.
“Its literally not everyday that you get to mark 200 years of anything,” Love the Harrisonville Square President-Elect Amanda Stites said. “We were not going to miss out on this opportunity this year. We’re excited to have fun throwing this birthday party for the state of Missouri. It’s a once in a lifetime deal. We’re going to have fun with it.”
Stites, who will take over as president of Love the Harrisonville Square next year, said the block party will be a combination of events the city of Harrisonville normally holds and some of the events that they’ve wanted to have but haven’t been able to.
Along with celebrating Missouri’s birthday, Stites said her organization will host Harrisonville Farmer’s and Artists Market, the Annual Junk in the Trunk Flea Market and the Antique Transportation Show which features cars, motorcycles, tractors and anything else on wheels.
The family friendly extravaganza is free to the community. The only activity party goers need to bring cash for is the food trucks. The walking tacos are a fundraiser for Love the Harrisonville Square.
“It’s just a great way to bring folks together in celebrating something,” Stites said. “But more importantly, it helps our organization. We’re like the local downtown non-profit. We bring folks down to the historic square in downtown Harrisonville.
“I think when folks come and make memories there, it reminds them not only how important that place is to everybody in the community, but it also introduces them to some of the great new businesses or reintroduces them to businesses that have been there forever.”
Party goers can kick off the day’s festivities by shopping for local homegrown and homemade goodies at the Harrisonville Farmers and Artists Market beginning at 8 a.m. If you think you have the green thumb for it, feel free to enter your garden goodies in the Biggest Tomato or Weirdest Veggies contest sponsored by The South Cass Tribune.
Registration for the Antique Transportation Show is from 9 to 10 a.m. The show and voting runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with first-, second- and third-place winners being announced at 1:45 p.m.
The Dominate Dance Company kicks off the music portion of the celebration at 11 a.m. on the celebration stage. Then at noon, the Tornado Alley Barber Shop Quartet takes over, followed by Professor Farquar and Polecat Annie. The three acts perform at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively.
Following the Missouri Bicentennial Presentation and Happy Birthday Sing-a-long at 6 p.m., the Bluegrass and Bricks Concert begins at 7 p.m. with performances by Eureka Strings, the Unfit Wives and the Whiskey Mash Band.
For history lovers, the Robin’s Nest is sponsoring a Civil War Era Presentation with a reading and a question-and-answer session by Diane Rogers. Anyone interested can take a historic walking tour as well. For the children, the Harrisonville Rotary Club will be sponsoring train rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kid’s carnival games will run during those same hours, as will the face painting by Mad Cap Brush Works. The fishing pond runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a coloring contest beginning at 10 a.m. and running through 1:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the judge’s favorite in each age group.
The groups and ages for the coloring contest are as follows: Group 1 (2-3), Group 2 (4-5), Group 3 (6-8) and Group 4 (9-12). Kids will be allowed to show off their bike safety and riding skills at the bike rodeo that runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The flea market opens for business at 4 p.m. and runs through 6 p.m. For the antique sellers out there, feel free to set up shop in the parking lot by the Sharp-Hopper Log Cabin at 3 p.m. Ice cream lovers can celebrate Missouri’s birthday by having a free sundae on the square from 5 to 7 p.m.
Food and snacks will be provided by Walking Tacos from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Hobbytime Grill Food Truck from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Shiver’s Ice House from 4 to 6 p.m.; and Lick It Don’t Drip It – Lickey Wagon from 3 to 9 p.m.
“We worked really hard to have everything paid for or get us really close,” Stites said of the 14-hour marathon celebration. “The kids’ activities are free, the tours are free, the bluegrass concerts are free. Really, it’s all about celebrating as a community together. We wanted to make sure that cost wasn’t going to be a barrier for anybody. Come and have a good time.”