Events for Joplin's anniversary year coming together

·2 min read

May 30—More events are coming together for a yearlong observance of Celebrate Joplin 2023, the city's 150th birthday.

A city-appointed celebration committee has been working on events and activities to be held to commemorate the city's sesquicentennial. The city was incorporated March 23, 1873. Its official birthdate will be marked March 23, 2023, but a yearlong celebration schedule being planned will start in September of this year and continue through August 2023.

Patrick Tuttle, the Joplin Conventions and Visitors Bureau director who serves along with community historian Brad Belk as advisers to the committee, recently informed the Joplin City Council of some events that are being planned.

A permanent display of Joplin history has been developed by the celebration committee and the Joplin Historic Preservation Commission. The Joplin Heritage Trail is to be a series of outdoor markers at or near historic locations. The first three markers to start the trail were dedicated in March at Landreth Park, near the first ore strikes that established Joplin and the Tri-State Mining District. The first marker pays tribute to the Osage Native Americans who scouted and hunted the area prior to frontier settlements here. Other markers are to follow.

Next year, "A Ragtime Salute" is to be presented in the spring to celebrate Joplin-born music composer Percy Wenrich. He wrote a number of ragtime hits and ballads, including "Sail Along Silv'ry Moon," "Moonlight Bay" and "Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet." He was born here Jan. 23, 1887, and is buried at Fairview Cemetery, 13th Street and Maiden Lane. The salute is to be presented by the Stanley family.

The "Great Race," a controlled speed race rally in vintage or classic cars that has visited Joplin several times in recent years, will return June 28, 2023, Tuttle said. The assembly here of the rally will help mark Joplin's transportation heritage.

Tuttle said there also will be art history exhibits through the year by organizations including the Joplin Post Library, Spiva Center for the Arts, Connect2Culture, Missouri Southern Missouri State University and the Joplin School District.

The Joplin High School baseball team will be outfitted with vintage uniforms or uniform patches to reflect the miner heritage.

Various kinds of merchandise will be available, including a Celebrate Joplin sesquicentennial medal.

The celebrations committee was formed in in 2019 to compile and plan local events for the Missouri bicentennial (200th anniversary) on Aug. 10, 2021; Joplin's sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) on March 23, 2023; the U.S. sestercentennial (250th anniversary) on July 4, 2026; and the Route 66 centennial (100th anniversary) on Nov. 11, 2026.

Last year, the city participated in the state's bicentennial with events that included a showing of a state quilt that toured the state and a summer ice cream social at Spiva Park.