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Family Fun

The summer heat is here to stay, and that mean it’s important to find places in town where you can beat the heat and have some fun in a pool. Luckily, Columbia has several places to cool off and relax. Whether it’s a public pool or sprayground, people of all ages are bound to enjoy themselves.

Public Pools

Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center

The Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center is Columbia’s largest outdoor municipal pool. With a play area for the kids and diving boards for the more adventurous, a great time will be had by all.

ARC Water Zone

With a leisure pool, lazy river, vortex and more, the ARC Water Zone is an incredible indoor way to have fun this summer.

Douglass Family Aquatic Center

A double loop slide, climbing wall and spraygrounds are some of what you’ll find at the Douglass Family Aquatic Center. It’s a wonderful place to

Lake of the Woods Pool

Relaxation is close to home. Located on the east side of Columbia by the Lake of the Woods Golf Course, this pool offers slides lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Little Mates Cove

This pirate-themed water play area features waterfalls, slides and sprinklers. You’re guaranteed to have fun in the sun.

Spraygrounds

Flat Branch Spraygrounds

The spraygrounds at Flat Branch Park sits in downtown Columbia and is free and open to the public. it’s a great pace to cool off and enjoy a beautiful park.

Douglass Spraygrounds

Part of the Douglass Family Aquatic Center, the spraygrounds play the role of the kiddie pool. It is perfectly suited for those looking to splash around this summer.

Stephens Lake Beach & Spraygrounds

The beach is closer than you think. Stephens Lake Park offers a place to swim in the lake and soak up the sun by the spraygrounds.

Photos courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department

 

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Happy Parks and Recreation Month!

Throughout the month of July, we will be spotlighting some of the beautiful places and exciting activities you can see and do outdoors in Columbia. Not so surprisingly, many of those places are parks managed by the City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation department.

Check out these hidden gems the next time you plan to go on an outdoor adventure.

Capen Park

 

The scenic overlooks should never be overlooked at Capen Park. With bridge connections to Grindstone Nature Area and the Hinkson Creek Trail, the park covers 31.9 acres.

Martin Luther King, Jr. at Memorial Garden

  

“Breathtaking” does not do this garden justice. Featuring a stunning sculpture by Barbara Grygutis, this hidden gem hosts outdoor weddings and is a trail head for the MKT Trail.

Nifong Park

  

History is a major component of Nifong Park. It is home to the Boone County History & Culture Center, the Village at Boone Junction, the Maplewood Home and grounds as well as the Maplewood Barn Theatre.

Philips Park

 

Home to a 40-acre fishing lake and fish from the Missouri Department of Conservation, this park is a sight to see. There is a 1.4-mile gravel trail that surrounds the lake and beautiful scenery wherever you look.

Rock Quarry Park

  

Rock Quarry Park is an excellent place to go out and play. With a playground, tennis courts with pickleball lines and baseball and soccer practice fields, there is so much fun to be had.

Go outside this month and celebrate the phenomenal outdoors we are fortunate to live near. Be sure to tag your photos with #ShowMeCoMo.

Photos Courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreations Department

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Some of our favorite childhood memories come from family vacations. From day trips to week-long adventures, those memories stay with us.

“The majority of adults (62%) say their earliest memories were of family vacations taken when they were between ages 5 and 10 which goes to show the lasting impact of vacations.”

As a destination, Columbia offers a variety of opportunities to make lasting memories. Here are some of our favorite places to experience family fun!

Parks

Columbia is home to several parks and trails, and all of them are sure to bring excitement to any family outing. Whether you’re enjoying the playground at Cosmo Park, hiking through Rock Bridge Memorial State Park or taking in the beauty of Stephens Lake at Stephens Lake Park, you’re bound to have enjoyable time.

Fun & Games

There are places in Columbia that offer fun and games for the entire family. Midway Golf & Games offers a miniature golf course, an electric go-kart track, batting cages and even more activities for the family to take part in. Lazer Lanes is a bowling alley that also has a large variety of arcade games. Sky Zone gives its patrons the adventure they crave. From a ninja warrior course to freestyle jumping to a toddler zone, all ages are sure to have a marvelous time.

The Arts

For those who love to create, The Mud Room gives you the chance to paint your own pottery. Paining with guidance can be found at The Canvas on Broadway. No matter where you go, your masterpieces will be souvenirs of your trip that you can look back on in the years to come.

No matter you choose to make your family memories in Columbia, they will be long-lasting. We look forward to helping make your memories last a lifetime!

 

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Happy National Travel and Tourism Week!

Travel and Tourism are major parts of everyone’s everyday life, whether they realize it or not. When you think about travel in your own life, you may recall adventures and experiences you had on a vacation to a new place or even a staycation in your own city. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s still so important!

76 percent of employed Americans say a firsthand experience is instrumental in forming impressions of a community. 

In Columbia, we pride ourselves on being “what you unexpect” because we know how important it is to offer something different to visitors and locals alike. New Experiences can be anything from trying a new restaurant in town to throwing an ax at a target to watching 15 films at the True/False Film Fest. What’s wonderful is all these experiences (and countless others) can happen in Columbia.

Parks, trails, recreational activities, Columbia has it all! Stay tuned this week to see some of the unique experiences you can find in Columbia.

All wise adventurers know the importance of surrounding oneself with good people when looking for new experiences. Columbia is filled with the best people, and they know how to make magical experiences happen! We encourage everyone to Meet Columbia and put some names to faces of the people that make Columbia experiences so positively memorable.

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A close up of a plate of food

If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend, or if you’re just in the mood for a fabulous Sunday brunch, there are fantastic places to brunch and lunch around town!

Holiday Inn Executive Center Easter Buffet

Make your reservation for a seating in the Elegant Windsor Ballroom! Buffet service will be from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A close up of tableware and flowers on a table

Glenn’s Cafe

Come to the Tiger Hotel for Sunday Brunch! It will be served from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. with regular breakfast starting at 7 a.m.

A close up of a plate of food

Sophia’s

Sunday Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A close up of sophia

Les Bourgeois Vineyards

Make a reservation to enjoy a vineyard brunch from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards

11Eleven

Visit 11Eleven inside the Broadway Hotel for brunch from 10 a.m – 3 p.m.

11Eleven

Cafe Berlin

Weekend Brunch will be served from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

A close up of a sandwich on a plate

44 Stone

Sunday Brunch will be available from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

44 Stone

The Heidelberg

Take part in an Easter Buffet from 10 a.m – 1:30 p.m.

The Heidelberg

Bleu Market and Bakery

Make your reservation to dine at Bleu  this Sunday! Seatings will be available at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Bleu Market and Bakery

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Fri-yay, Columbia!

What a crazy cold week it’s been! Luckily, it looks like warmth is on the horizon. We’ve certainly earned it after that Polar Vortex shenanigan!

While we are super excited for some warmer weather, we just might be even more thrilled by the amazing things happening this weekend! Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

 

 

First Friday

Not only is it the first day of February, it’s the first Friday of the month! That means the North Village Arts District is celebrating First Friday, a free gallery crawl where residents, visitors and tourists are encouraged to come and enjoy the music, arts and entertainment that help make Columbia the vibrant city that it is. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the weekend!

True/Love

We are officially in countdown mode for the True/False Film Fest (happening Feb. 28 – March 3), but that doesn’t mean we have to wait the entire month for some True/False fun! True/Love is a one-day event where 10% of of the day’s proceeds from participating local retailers go back to True/False. Plus! Ragtag Cinema will offer a free ticket to shoppers with a purchase of $20 or more! Just be sure to save your receipts and redeem your ticket no more than 10 days after the purchase date. If this isn’t a motivation to shop local on Saturday, we don’t know what is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbia Winter Farmers Market

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., everyone is welcome to attend the Winter Farmers Market at Parkade Plaza. Everything sold there is sold by farmers and artisans who help sustain our region. What’s more, there is live entertainment, activities for children and even prepared food! Sounds like a great way to start your Saturday!

 

No matter where you spend your time this weekend, enjoy the glorious warm weather coming our way!

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by Danny Lee

Missouri has something for everyone, and for festival fans, Columbia is the place to be. From the Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Celebration in May to the nearly year-round Show-Me State Games to the pageantry of football season’s Mizzou Homecoming, Columbia is prepared to show you a good time, and then some.

Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Celebration

The sky’s the limit in May, when patriots descend on Columbia—literally, in some cases—for the year’s opens in a new windowsignature celebration of those who have served the United States’ armed forces. The headline event is always the air show, in which fighting aircraft from armed conflicts throughout modern history show their stuff to the delight of a vast crowd looking upward and shading their eyes against the bright springtime sunshine. Demonstration teams show off workhorse aircraft like the A-10 “Warthog,” T-28s, the British de Havilland D.H. 100 Vampire, Air Force T-33, the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider and even the 1917 Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplane. On the ground, visitors can get close-up looks at Vietnam-era Huey choppers, light observation aircraft and exhibitions by the nation’s military services. A parade on Memorial Day concludes at Columbia College Athletic Field, where the U.S. Army Black Daggers and the Canadian Armed Forces parachute teams make precision landings to kick off the formal Salute to the Nation Ceremony.

Art in the Park

It isn’t just about paintings. When the Columbia Art League sets out to create an opens in a new windowart festival every year in June, the palette ranges from sculpture to clothing to fabrics to ceramics and, yes, paintings in every medium and genre. To occupy visitors between exhibits and sales kiosks, the grounds abound with roaming entertainers such as jugglers and stilt-walkers. Kids won’t be bored for a second with magicians and face painters available to amaze and delight them and lemonade, ice cream and other savory snacks to nosh on. The site, Stephens Lake Park, offers a lakefront boardwalk perfect for enjoying a leisurely stroll, and there are woodland trails to get a close look at nature’s own artwork.

Show-Me State Games

For athletes and their fans, the opens in a new windowShow-Me State Games are the ideal proving grounds. In June, lacrosse, swimming, pickleball, soccer and volleyball are on offer. In July, the Games feature competitors in a wide variety of sports—archery, disc golf, power lifting, softball, synchronized swimming, volleyball and wrestling to name a few. Entrants want to walk away victorious, but everyone has the time of their lives, win or lose. The Games are hosted by the University of Missouri and grew out of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health. Columbia plays host to more than 30,000 athletes competing in the Games, including contestants from nearly all of the state’s 114 counties. That means the competition is extremely challenging but the fun quotient is even higher.

Heritage Festival & Craft Show

A visit to the opens in a new windowHeritage Festival in Columbia doesn’t just turn back the clock, it turns back the calendar. Historically attired tradesmen and artisans put their skills on display, as well as their wares. It’s a rare visitor who doesn’t come away from this September festival with a handwoven basket full of handcrafted souvenirs and plenty of unique, happy memories. Entertainment on two stages gives a glimpse of the fun they had in Missouri’s early days. Back then, you couldn’t go down to the local cineplex for an afternoon double feature; people had to make their own fun. Not surprisingly, it’s still fun today to hear the singing, watch the dancing and listen to the tales of excitement and adventure relayed by gifted storytellers who seem to be left over from an age long before television and movies. On the beautiful grounds of Nifong Park, the festival leaves plenty of time to explore nature trails, the 1877 Maplewood Home and the Walters Boone County Historical Museum.

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival

As the early autumn air fills with the scents of fall, the opens in a new windowRoots N Blues N BBQ Festival adds its own savory notes of barbecue and bluesy music. Every September, masters of the twin arts of blues music and barbecuing descend on Columbia to tantalize taste buds and well-tuned ears with sweet music and food. The laid-back atmosphere is contagious at Stephens Lake Park for this September event; even the songbirds along the nature trails seem to trill along with the music, and it must be hard for the raccoons to stay hidden with the tantalizing scent of barbecue drifting on the breeze. Just as there are many barbecue recipes available, the music menu is always shifting, as well. It’s not unusual to hear gospel, rhythm & blues, country & western, swing and maybe even a touch of Dixieland for a southern tang. As night falls and both the air and the music get cool, the festival heats up with music fans flocking to the bandstand, hands raised, feet tapping and more than a few couples clearing out space to dance and dip.

Mizzou Homecoming

By the third week in October, football season is well under way, and the time has rolled around again for the opens in a new windowUniversity of Missouri Homecoming. Interestingly, it’s also known as the original homecoming—in 1911, the then athletic director put out the call for graduates to “come home” and support their alma mater in the annual rivalry game against Kansas University. Tradition doesn’t go much deeper than that. In this case, tradition also involves a pulse-pounding parade through Columbia and around campus, three big talent nights and the distribution of beautiful Homecoming Mums. And of course there’s the football game itself, a riot of color, cheering, marching band music and tailgating that together turn Missouri’s historic Faurot Field into the Midwest’s epicenter of football for the duration of this fantastic festival weekend.

opens in a new windowCheck out the festivals in Columbia

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Spend the day exploring the outdoors in Columbia, Missouri

By Danny Lee

Finding fun outdoors comes easy around Columbia, Missouri, where residents and visitors can explore a landscape crowded with parks, trails and other outdoor action areas. Columbia offers enough forest-y fun for any nature lover, from the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary to the wild appeal of the rails-to-trails Katy Trail. With a multitude of other invigorating outdoor venues, as well as facilities for more organized recreation, such as hiking, biking, swimming and casual picnicking, there’s an activity for everyone.

children bicycling on the MKT Trail in Columbia, Missouri

The MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail, is a popular jogging and bicycling trail.

Finger Lakes State Park

All-terrain vehicles and woodland recreation coexist within the generous expanse of Finger Lakes State Park. Rolling hills, rippling waterways and forested glades thrill visitors who might never suspect that it’s all on reclaimed coal-mining land. A water trail accessible by canoe or kayak leads around the park’s lake, also popular with fishermen, and a pleasant beach is perfect for a refreshing dip after a hike or mountain bike outing through the woods. Visitors can lounge around the campfire and lay down their heads among the trees and quiet nighttime rustlings of a naturally wild environment in one of the 19 basic or 16 electric campsites.

Capen Park

The rocky topography of Capen Park takes Missouri outdoors adventure to another level. Rock climbers and rappelers love the challenging outcrops looking down on Hinkson Creek. Those who don’t fancy dangling from or clambering up and down the sheer limestone cliffs will certainly relish the tranquil, wooded trails along the creek’s flat-rocked path. One great place to enjoy the stream is from the graceful old iron bridge that crosses its course. Hikers love to sit on the bluffs looking out across the green and leafy property, tucked away in an in-town location that seems remote but is actually almost as convenient as your own backyard.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

A short jaunt south of Columbia, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park showcases a variety of trails, wooded glens, hills and dales making up a fascinating karst landscape. It’s alive with sinkholes, crystal-clear springs feeding into streams, and the underground limestone features that jut unexpectedly into the open air or give way to yawning caverns below. Connor’s Cave makes a great self-guided exploration. Hikers, horseback riders and bikers share the 15 miles of trails tracing through shady woods and wildflower-sprinkled meadows in the park and adjoining Gans Creek Wild Area. Families gather in broad picnic areas and shelters and fill the playgrounds with happy laughter

At the heart of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park lies the popular Devil’s Icebox Trail. It’s a .5-mile loop boardwalk trail that features plentiful opportunities for nature viewing; it’s mostly wooded, shelters uncountable wildlife, and passes by sinkholes, a limestone glade, and a valley formed by a collapsed portion of the limestone caves that underlie the whole area.

Every level of hiking is available, from forested trails to well-maintained boardwalks, and you can’t beat the admission price: free!

Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

Nearly 100 acres are devoted to the preservation of a large natural expanse that offers visitors to Bonnie View a beautiful getaway. Broad meadows filled with daisies, Queen Anne’s lace, bellflower and yellow corydalis open from woodland edges. Birdwatchers love the diverse landscape for its possibilities. Paved walkways and a modern shelter open the park up to enjoyment in all weather. The property includes the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, which has recorded 146 bird species in the area. In the spring the diversity swells with the arrival of migrating Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets along with flycatchers, many varieties of warblers, American Woodcock, and Swainson’s thrushes.

Katy Trail

At 240 miles, Missouri’s Katy Trail is one of the nation’s longest rails-to-trails parks, and provides Columbia visitors an excellent route to explore the state’s wilder areas. Tracking along the Missouri River, the trail serves bikers, hikers, and joggers 12 months a year, displaying brilliant colors in the fall, silent snowy vistas in the winter, wildflowers in the spring and a summer full of the relaxing buzz of crickets, katydids and yearly broods of cicadas. Birds and other wildlife make frequent appearances along the way; raccoon and deer, squirrel, chipmunks and opossum have their own daily and nightly rounds, which sharp-eyed hikers and bikers can enjoy keeping tabs on. The rolling Missouri serves up plentiful fishing holes, and fans of wild edibles will find natural treats no farther away than the nearest blackberry bush. The trail also features the MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail.


With a variety of activities and outdoor venues, the parks and trails of Columbia are an outdoors paradise.

Explore the outdoors of Columbia.

#ShowMeCoMo

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Father’s Day is coming up this weekend so we’ve put together some ideas on how you can celebrate with your dad in Columbia: 

For the Competitive Dad

Strawn Park Course map

Is your dad always trying to win? Let him show off his skills this weekend (we won’t tell you to let him win but it IS his day). Hit opens in a new windowLazer Lanes for bowling and laser tag or opens in a new windowMidway Golf Complex for mini golf and go-karts. Another option is disc golf: Columbia is home to  opens in a new windowHarmony Bends, a course designed by renowned disc golf course designer, John Houck. This course is sure to get the competition going, but easy on the trash talk – it’s a special occasion.

Gift: Pick something out at opens in a new windowRally House that represents dad’s favorite team or gift him with some opens in a new windowlocally-brewed beer. (It works in this category because then he can brag to his friends about how his daughter/son is the best. Win-win.)

For the Art-Loving Dad

Art Landish Gallery

For the art-lover, schedule a time at opens in a new windowPaint the Canvas to create your own masterpiece together. Even the least creative person can follow along with the instructor! If your dad is more into performing arts, catch “ opens in a new windowDirty Rotten Scoundrels” this weekend at Columbia Entertainment Company.

Gift: Take dad to one of our many fantastic opens in a new windowart galleries and let him pick out a piece of art to own.

For the Foodie Dad

Coffee cups with popcorn spilling onto a table.

Father’s Day weekend is timed perfectly for foodies this year. Design your own ‘culinary tour’ downtown to take advantage of opens in a new windowRestaurant Week (June 12-18). You can also check out the opens in a new windowSavory Summer Kickoff on Saturday at Bur Oak Brewing, which will include food samples from 30+ local chefs, live music, and drinks.

Gift: Buy dad a pair of SEC Beer Fest opens in a new windowpasses or order gourmet popcorn and a cute ‘Pop’ mug from Gopo (pictured).

For the Outdoorsy Dad

Rock Bridge State Park

Of course, Columbia offers tons of options for opens in a new windowoutdoor activities. You and dad can go hiking, fishing, bird-watching, or rent a canoe/kayak at opens in a new windowFinger Lakes State Park.

Gift: Pick up something for dad to use in the great outdoors at opens in a new windowAlpine Shop (spend $150 on dad and get $25 back for yourself) or opens in a new windowBass Pro – we’re a fan of this opens in a new windowfolding hammock and opens in a new windowBug-A-Salt Salt Gun, both currently available at the Columbia location.


If none of the above ideas are your thing, you can always go with the tried-and-true dinner and a movie:

Grab a bite to eat:

Salad Bowl

Where to go to get the best:

What to see:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The team unravels the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy. (PG-13)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. (PG-13)

Baywatch – Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay. (R)

All Eyez On Me – The true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. (R)

Cars 3 – To get back in the game, Lightning McQueen will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and a few unexpected turns. (G)

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Festivals and Events

opens in a new windowRestaurant Week | June 12-18 | The District

Enjoy exclusive Restaurant Week menus and specials offers at any of the participating eateries. In addition to enjoying special menus during Restaurant Week, you can also be entered into a drawing to win a gift card to various downtown locations. Just pick up a Restaurant Week Passport at any participating restaurant, beginning June 12. To complete your passport, you must dine at three or more locations, and turn your completed passport in to any of the participating restaurants by June 18.

opens in a new windowMissouri State Senior Games and opens in a new windowJune Show-Me State Games | June 14-18 

The Missouri State Senior Games is an Olympic-style sports festival for individuals age 50 and older. June’s Show-Me State Games will include the following sports: Archery (NASP), High School Basketball, Lacrosse, Par 3 Golf, Pickleball, Soccer, Swimming, and High School Volleyball.

opens in a new windowSavory Summer Kickoff | June 17, 12-4 PM | Bur Oak Brewing Co.

This event will bring together fine food, contests, local artisans, and entertainment. 30+ chefs and restaurants will serve up their best dishes to judges and the community to be chosen for our final top six cook off challenge!

Family Fun

Movies in the Park:

(PG-13) Three decades after the Empire’s defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order.

(PG) While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

(PG-13) After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife.

opens in a new windowFamily Fishing Night | June 16, 6-8 PM | Jefferson Farm & Garden

Bring your family and friends to fish in the seven-acre stocked fishing pond, enjoy s’mores by the bonfire or just sit back and relax with a cold drink. Cost is $5 per person (children 4 years and younger free) and includes the rental of a fishing pole, bait, one s’more and one drink. Fishing is catch and release only and a fishing license is not required. Please register by calling Amy Dooley at (573) 239-6134 or emailing dooleyam@missouri.edu.

opens in a new windowFamily Fun Fest: Explore Outdoors | June 21, 6-8 PM | Cosmo Park

Entertainment for the whole family, including activities, music, hands-on learning, live entertainment, face painting, food trucks and more. The outdoors has so much to offer. Learn about Missouri fish, birds, parks, camping and more from state and local experts.

On-Stage

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” | June 8-11, 15-18, 22-25 | Columbia Entertainment Company

“Stage Kiss” | June 9-11, 15-18 | Talking Horse Productions

“Peer Gynt” | June 21-25 | Artlandish Gallery

“Red, White, and Tuna” | June 22-25, June 28-30 | Corner Playhouse

“Laughing Stock” | June 29-30 | Maplewood Barn Theatre

Live Music

Music of Prince & The Revolution: Dr. Zhivegas | June 17 | Rose Park

Jelly Roll | June 20 | Rose Music Hall 

Jonny Lang | June 22 | The Blue Note

Summerfest: William Elliott Whitmore | June 24 | Rose Park

The Voice finalist, Barrett Baber | June 29 | Rose Music Hall

Hot Summer Nights | events throughout the month of June

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