Mark your calendar: Central Missouri communities plan festivals now through 2018 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 November 2017
GUIDON staff

Fort Leonard Wood and its surrounding communities are home to several festivals and public celebrations throughout the year.

Courtesy photo
The following list includes many of the major events happening in the area. While most festivals are free and open to the public, some have admission charges or require tickets for special events and contests. Also, most festivals are outdoors, so keep in mind — especially with Missouri weather — schedules are subject to change.

— Dec. 5: The Fort Leonard Wood Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on the installation. This annual event, which is free and open to the public, is centered around the lighting of the official Installation Christmas Tree, and features live music, appearances by Santa and other additional holiday characters, children’s games, activities and a display of “Cards to the Community” — giant-sized Christmas cards decorated by military units and area organizations. For more information, call the Installation Wide Events office at 573.596.6913 or visit the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation website at

— Dec. 7: Christmas on the Square is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. at the historic Waynesville Square. The Family-friendly event includes pony rides, a live nativity, photos with Santa and the The Grinch, free chili and hot chocolate, warming stations and more. For more information visit the Waynesville Downtown Business Association page on Facebook or call 573.774.6910.

— Jan. 6 and 7, 2018: Eagle Days at Lake of the Ozarks is set to take place at the Osage National Golf Resort in Lake Ozark, Missouri, with programs presented at School of the Osage Heritage Elementary. Although there are several Eagle Days events held throughout the state, this is one of the largest and closest to Fort Leonard Wood. Events include live eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis and activities for kids, coloring contests, vendors and opportunities to view wild eagles at Willmore Lodge and below Bagnell Dam. For more information, visit

— March 6 through 17, 2018: The 109th Annual Best Ever St. Pat’s Celebration
takes place throughout Rolla. Organized and run by a student board from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, events include games and contests throughout the event, a 5k run, the annual St. Pat’s Parade and a free concert on March 17. More details and a complete schedule of events are available at

— March 24, 2018: The Route 66 St. Patty’s Fest welcomes visitors to downtown Waynesville with a variety of games, kids’ activities, live music, numerous vendors and more. Part of the Route 66 Fest on the Square series of events, more information about this festival will be made available on the Route 66 Fest page on Facebook.

— June 1 through 3, 2018: Route 66 Summerfest
takes place throughout downtown Rolla with a festival pageant, games, contests, children’s activities, food vendors, a classic car cruise, a car show, a downhill derby, burnout contest and much more. More details, event registrations and schedules will be made available at

— June 3 through 5, 2018: The Extremicon Vol. 2 comic, sci-fi and martial arts festival is scheduled at the St. Robert Community Center. This will be the second year for this convention-style event, which features games, vendors, artists, authors, panels, celebrity guests, cosplayers and martial-arts demonstrations. For more information, call Gary Rogers at 573.528.6649 or visit

— June 16, 2018: The Lebanon Route 66 Festival celebrates Laclede County’s history along the famous highway known as “The Mother Road.” The festival features several events and activities, including a classic car show, cruise-in, music, games, food, crafts and Route 66 memorabilia. Events typically take place at Boswell Park, the site of the society’s Route 66-themed murals, and Route 66 historic sites, such as the Munger Moss Motel. Get updates at

— June 23, 2018 is the tentative date for Freedom Fest,
which annually rocks the historic Waynesville downtown square with live music, vendors, kids’ games and more. Held in conjunction with the annual Cave State Cruisers Car Show in nearby Waynesville City Park, the festival gives visitors a chance to see hundreds of classic vehicles during the celebration. Check the Route 66 Fest Facebook Page for updates.

— July 4, 2018: Fort Leonard Wood’s Independence Day Celebration provides the central-Missouri area with the largest fireworks display in the region, as well as live music, games, food, special guest performances, a car show and more. The celebration is free and open to the public. Festivities typically begin around 3 p.m. and last until after dark. Call the Installation Wide Events office at 573.596.6913 or visit online for updates closer to festival time.

— July 28 and 29, 2018: Old Settlers Day celebrates the history of the area at Waynesville City Park. Events include Civil War reenactor camps and battle reenactments, while the Kickapoo Trace Muzzleloaders’ campsite lets visitors experience the era of the mountain men in the early 1800s. The festival also includes food, live music, vendors, rides, children’s games, tours of the Pulaski County Courthouse Museum and the Old Stagecoach Stop, as well as the annual Great Pulaski County Duck Race, featuring decorated decoys floating down the Roubidoux Creek. For more information, visit

— Sept. 1, 2018: The Railroad Days Festival
celebrates the history of the Frisco Railroad in Crocker, located 17 miles north of Fort Leonard Wood on Highway 17. The celebration typically features food and craft vendors, games, contests, shows and a parade. The festival draws up to 5,000 visitors annually. Check the event calendar at for contact information and links to events.

— Sept. 15 and 16, 2018: The Dixon Cow Days festival takes place in downtown Dixon. First held in the 1930s to attract business to town, the festival remains one of the most unique with its annual giveaways of two cows. Festival events also include a festival queen pageant, live music,  a parade, contests and more. Follow the Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook for updates and information.

— Oct. 13, 2018: Rolla’s 40th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival
is scheduled in downtown Rolla. Artists and crafters from throughout the region will display their works, including jewelry, handmade furniture, clothing, pottery, wooden crafts, paintings and more. Visit the Rolla Downtown Business Association website at for schedules and updates.

— Oct. 20, 2018: The Route 66 Oktoberfest takes place with live music, vendors, games and more in downtown Waynesville. Check the Route 66 Fest Facebook Page for updates.

These are just a few of the events and activities happening in and around Fort Leonard Wood.

For more information on attractions and events in the central Missouri area, visit the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau website at or check out the Missouri Division of Tourism homepage at
Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 November 2017 )