Opinion: An abundance of family-friendly events is one of the joys of living in the Ozarks


Now that we’re in mid-June and there are still nine weeks of summer ahead, what better way to explore Springfield and the surrounding communities than by visiting and attending festivals and farms?

One of the great joys of living in the Ozarks is the abundance of family-friendly events. Whether you want to learn more about vegetables, foods, flowers and even goats on local farms, or attend outdoor music festivals with minimal entry fees, there is always something exciting to do.

Music festivals

Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival
Celebrating its 39th year, the Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival near Conway takes place July 10-13, featuring more than 12 bluegrass bands over four days. With daily admission prices and four-day passes available, this festival is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy lively music in beautiful surroundings. Visit Starvy Creek for more details.

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival
Rev your engines at the Route 66 Festival from August 8 to 10. This event features an amazing car show, gypsy poker run/bike show, parade, live music and a talent show. Held annually at Park Central Square in Springfield, it is a fun event for families and children. More information about the festival.

Local farms and family events

Millsap Farms
From May to October, Millsap Farms hosts Pizza Night every Thursday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. To enjoy this unique experience, you can book online. In addition to delicious pizzas, you can enjoy live music and the natural beauty of the farm. Reserve your spot.

A few women pick flowers on a farm
Liesel McCleary and Casey La Framboise tend the flowers at Finley Farms in Ozark. (Photo: Mary Ellen Chiles)

Finley Farms
In Ozark, Finley Farms hosts a weekly farmers market every Thursday from 3 p.m. Enjoy live music as you explore vegetable and food vendors. Don’t miss the chance to stroll across the one-lane bridge salvaged from the Finley River and relax in the open-air chapel. Check out their events.

Gooseberry Bridge Farm
This small family farm and homestead in Rogersville is open seasonally for visitors to get a taste of farm life. Enjoy activities such as cuddling baby animals, picking flowers, and learning about farm basics. This month they are hosting workshops on goat basics, food preservation and dried flowers. Register for a workshop.

Rutledge Wilson Farm Park
Spanning 207 acres, Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park offers an authentic farm experience with educational and recreational resources that celebrate Greene County’s agricultural heritage. The park features animal stables, a visitor center and gift shop, a farm-themed playground, a fishing pond, a 20-acre native prairie, garden plot rentals, and trails along Wilson’s Creek Greenway. Download a scavenger hunt sheet from their website to add an extra layer of fun to your visit. Discover Rutledge-Wilson.

Stone Hill Flower Farm

Stone Hill Farm, a small family flower farm, is located minutes south of Springfield, Missouri and a mile north of Finley Farms. Using biodynamic farming methods, they supply flowers to the local community through our Flower CSA, Farmstand, You-Pick Experiences, Workshops and other local events and custom design work. Visitors will find dozens of unique varieties of cut flowers, including dahlias, poppies, zinnias, sunflowers, lisianthus, cosmos, celosia, scabiosa, strawflowers and many other magical flowers and leaves. Pick flowers

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company
Although their next festival takes place in the fall, Baker Creek Farm in Mansfield is a must-visit. Known for their heirloom seeds, they host a spring festival to help locals prepare for planting. This fall they are hosting a two-day harvest and fall festival with music, vendors and tours. It is a wonderful family day trip. Discover Baker Creek.

Take advantage of the summer season to explore these vibrant festivals and farms in and around Springfield. Each offers unique experiences that promise fun and learning for the whole family. Have fun exploring, I hope to see you there!

Julie Higgins

Julie G. Higgins is a Springfield entrepreneur and partner at Higgins Business Consulting. Her mantra is: “Learn with your life.” Follow her on Twitter: @julieGhiggins or email her at: [email protected] More by Julie Higgins