Looking for entertainment that will provide creative and educational opportunities for the whole family? Throughout the year, the Southwest Missouri area provides several opportunities to experience a little culture and interact with art within the community. Mark your calendar with this sampling of activities going on throughout the year.
Situated in Springfield’s historic downtown area on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk provides an opportunity to visit art galleries, view live performances and listen to live music. Visit the First Friday Art Walk website each month for a map and hours of the participating venues.
Let your love for art go to the wild side by visiting the Dickerson Park Zoo on June 23rd 2013 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Art stations will be set up for children ages 12 and younger to enjoy activities such as making fossils with plaster of Paris, printmaking and moss graffiti. Zoo keepers will paint with the spider monkeys, hippos and elephants. Painting demonstrations will be given by Springfield’s Plein Air Artists group. Art Gone Wild is free to families with their paid zoo admission.
Visit Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park on July 20th, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Fifth Annual Butterfly Festival, sponsored by the Friends of the Garden. Learn about the butterflies in the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House and take a look at the caterpillars in the Caterpillar Petting Zoo. The festival will include garden and art vendors, live music, crafts for the kids, face-painting and a butterfly/caterpillar costume contest. Quilters can enter a quilt block into the Butterfly Quilt Block Contest which will be displayed at the Botanical Center during the festival.
Held at the Mizumoti Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathanael Greene Park during the weekend of September 6-8th, 2013 the Japanese Fall Festival is sponsored by the Springfield Sister Cities Association. Past festivals have included live demonstrations of Japanese dancing, martial arts and Japanese storytelling. Hands-on activities including face painting, origami and making Japanese yo-yos will be offered for the children.
A festival situated on Historic Walnut Street will be held September 21-22nd 2013 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. The festival features live performances, hands-on activities for children, a children’s play area and a large variety of arts and crafts from regional artists. Admission to the 16th Annual Cider Days is $4 for adults and free for children under ten.
Stop by the beautiful Sequiota Park on October 12-13th, 2013 for the 19th Annual Art in the Park. This event features a show and sale of fine and contemporary art.
Visit the multi-level lobby of Juanita K. Hammons Hall between December 6-8th, 2013 for the annual WinterFest Visual and Performing Arts Festival. The festival displays and sells the work of local and regional artists.
Look ahead to late March/early April 2014 for the Kite Festival at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. The event is sponsored by the Springfield Park Board and Springfield Sister Cities Association and includes hands on art and learning activities unique to the country of Japan. Participants can bring their own kites to fly at the park, or buy a kite-making kit to build their own. The Mizumoto Japanese Garden will be open for viewing and tours.
Situated in the downtown area of Springfield in the beginning of May, Arts Fiesta is a celebration of Mexican art, culture and music sponsored by the Springfield Sister Cities Association. Previous Arts Fiestas have included live mariachi music, traditional Mexican dancing and an art display by artists from Tlaquepaque, Mexico.
Held the first weekend of May on Walnut Street between Kimbrough and National Avenue, Artsfest is one of Springfield’s largest fine arts festivals. The event features live performances, food from local restaurants and original art from around the country. Artsfest also features hands-on art activities for the family to enjoy.
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