The 5 Q's: Patrick Tuttle teases plans for Joplin's 150th celebration

Feb. 19—In this weekly feature, we put five questions before someone in the community. Today, we chat with Patrick Tuttle, of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

1. Why is Joplin's 150th birthday this year a historic milestone?

Incorporated on March 23, 1873, Joplin's official 150th birthday will be marked on March 23.

A city-appointed celebration committee has been working on events and activities to be held to commemorate the city's sesquicentennial. There's several of us on the commission who were here for the centennial in 1973.

It's a time to be able to capture the place, the history, the culture and even start thinking about the future. That's what we're after — to put all of these things in perspective. We know what we've done in the last 10 years in recovery of the city, but how does that tie into our past of resiliency and how is that going to set the stage for us and future generations for the next 50 years?

2. Who makes up the Joplin Celebrations Commission?

The celebrations commission has about 14 people, and we've been together for three years. We formed for four reasons: the state bicentennial last year, the sesquicentennial this year, the United States turns 250 years old on July 4, 2026, and Route 66 turns 100 on Nov. 11, 2026. The commission will dissolve sometime after November 2026 after the centennial.

Following this year, we'll be focusing on how to celebrate 250 years of America and the 100 years of Route 66. We also have a tri-state corridor committee on the tourism side that's already working between Carthage and Miami, Oklahoma. Then, we also have the state commission, which will be spearheading the events for the statewide celebration.

3. How is the Joplin CVB working with the celebrations commission to highlight the city's sesquicentennial?

The tourism marketing arm of the city is taking the lead from the commission, and when we're putting together the agenda of what we're celebrating, we will be involved in the marketing part of that. We'll help spread the word and design the social platforms and print platforms. We're taking that part of it on.

4. What events will be held in conjunction with Joplin's 150-year birthday?

On March 21, we'll have a lecture on Gabby Street, who was a Cardinals baseball manager who retired in Joplin. He became quite a local celebrity. Dr. Galen Irwin will give a lecture on the memorabilia that he's collected and his history.

March 23 is the actual birthday of Joplin, and there will be some activities happening at City Hall that afternoon, primarily focused around the Thomas Hart Benton mural, which was done for the centennial. It turns 50 now, and we're going to celebrate that piece of it as well.

April 15 will be a really busy day. There's baseball at Joe Becker Stadium, and we have two teams coming in from the Vintage Base Ball Association, who promotes baseball as played in the 19th century and other historic eras. Topeka is playing St. Louis, and it's very rare for these two teams to meet on nontournament turf.

They play in the old wool uniforms and use the old gloves and balls. Galena High School will also be playing Columbus High School, and then Joplin will play Pittsburg High School during an afternoon game. There will be three really good baseball games happening at Joe Becker Stadium. The high school students are going to assume the mining camp names from the old days.

On the evening of April 15, there will be a great show at Missouri Southern State University's Taylor Performing Arts Center about local talent Percy Wenrich, who was from Joplin and was a major contributor to ragtime. The second act will be an amazing barbershop quartet. We have two international quartets, men and women, who are coming in to do a show that will be free to the public.

On April 14, all during the day, these international barbershop champions will be doing a clinic for area high school students, and they will put on a harmony type show. Starting that same week on April 13, we've selected eight movies that have an actor that's from Joplin, a scene or a story that ties to Joplin. It's going to kick off at Landreth Park and it will be free. The movies will be shown at different locations from April through July. We're going to show the Bonnie and Clyde film from 1967 with Faye Dunaway. April 13 will actually be the 90th anniversary of the Joplin shootout.

5. How will Joplin's 150-year anniversary benefit local tourism?

We hope that it generates a positive aspect of the city. We want to encourage people to come to town, have them visit here more frequently and get them to stay longer. We're hoping that we'll be able to accomplish that with all of these events.

Patrick Tuttle serves as the director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.