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Drive-in movie theater showing "Grease"

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Route 66 Drive-In Theater in Carthage is showing a movie staring Olivia Newton-John, who passed away on Monday, August 8th.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (8/12 – 8/14), the Route 66 Drive-In theater is showing the movie “Grease,” which stars the late Olivia Newton-John.

In that film, she shared the big screen with co-actor, John Travolta.

| New Walking Bridge At Carthage’s Kellogg Lake >

Owners of the Drive-In say they show the movie “Grease” every year.

Within hours of posting the movie’s showtime on their billboard, the owners learned of Olivia Newton-John’s passing.

She was 73-years-old and had been battling breast cancer.

After “Grease,” which starts at 8:45 p.m. this weekend, the Route 66 Drive-In will throw back to the 80’s with the movie “Footloose.”

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Carthage Back-to-School Bash

CARTHAGE, Mo. — If students in Carthage weren’t quite ready to head back to school, an event Tuesday night helped.

Bright Futures Carthage hosted a “Back-to-School Bash” at the Fair Acres Family YMCA. The kids were able to stock up on free school supplies, t-shirts, free Kona Ices, even train rides. School supplies were donated by local businesses and organizations.

“One of the questions I ask myself every morning when I wake up is how can a kid have a bright future if he lives in a dark present? And so, my goal in life is to give some bright futures to kids all along the way, and so if we can give them a great day today and a new shirt to wear to school on the first day of school, then we’ve succeeded. All the other stuff is just a bonus,” said Greg Spink, Bright Futures, Carthage.

“I’m excited to go back to school!” said Solange Matual Ramirez, 5th Grader, Carthage.

“Just going back to doing band for concerts,” added Adriana Ramirez, Sophomore, Carthage.

More than 500 people attended the event.

Carthage schools, like many others in the area, start school on the 22nd.

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Tens of thousands travel to Carthage for Marian Days

CARTHAGE, Mo. — People are preparing to hit the road after one of the biggest traditions in the region, Marian Days, comes to an end.

The celebration made it’s return following a two year break caused by the pandemic.

Marian Days has been an ongoing tradition for the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer for the past 43 years.

While it’s mainly been focused on worship, Provincial Minister Father John Paul Tran says it also helps highlight Vietnamese culture and bonds.

“We were very scared from Sunday to Thursday because there was just a few walking around, but Thursday when we had the opening ceremony, we were surprised that there were more than we expected. Not like the other years, but 70 to 80 percent attending,” says Tran.

According to him, Marian Days usually brings in roughly 50 to 60 thousand people to Carthage.

Not just from the Four States, but from all over America.

“It’s nice communicating with other people around the entire world because you’ll never ever see them again so you might as well just talk to them and greet them,” says Thien An Nguyen, who traveled from Texas.

“It’s a special day for all of us,” says Hung Nguyen, who traveled from Alabama, “We get together here, I got so many friends, we haven’t been in contact for years and we just bump into each other on this event and it’s just an amazing miracle.”

According to officials the largest attendance in the history of Marian Days was between 80 and 90 thousand people.

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Jasper Co. 4-H youth needs, Military Care Packages

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — An area youth organization needs your help to brighten the day for a service man or woman stationed far from home. The Jasper County 4-H Club received a $1,500 grant from the state 4-H office recently and will put that money towards a project to send care packages to soldiers overseas.

The group plans on sending the items around the anniversary of 9/11 this fall.

“That grant money is really going to go towards helping us pay the shipping costs. Items that the kids are looking to collect include things like lip balm, reading materials, decks of playing cards, beef jerky, things like that, things that remind you of home,” said Tianna Fisher, Pleasant Valley Pioneers 4-H Club Leader.

The group hopes to send as many as 50 packages to soldiers in Guam, Japan, Germany, and the Middle East.

If you’d like to know where the boxes are located so you can drop off items you can follow this link here.

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Maple Leaf Festival returning to "the way it was"

2022 Carthage Maple Leaf Festival

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Planning is well underway for the areas biggest party on the square: The 56th Annual Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage, Missouri.

“The Carthage Chamber of Commerce along with the Maple Leaf Planning Committee has been hard at work to make this year’s festival the best yet,” said Julie Reams, Carthage Chamber of Commerce President.

A couple of major announcements that have been decided on is the parade route and the car show.

“We are very excited to announce that our parade route will go back to its traditional route of going back around the square,” added Reams.

Last year’s broke annual tradition by utilizing only one side of the square making the parade a little shorter.

“It was very important to the committee and to the Chamber to resume the annual tradition that it had been in 2019,” said Reams.

| Carthage Residents Allow Marian Days Campers On Their Property >

Another tradition that will be back around the square is the Friday Night “Cruise-In” from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Maple Leaf Car Show Committee is excited to showcase all the cars around the square, which allows not only the participants but spectators to enjoy the beauty of what the historic Carthage square offers.

The traditional Car Show will take place on Saturday, October 15th, 2022.

Applications are now open for the 2022 Grand Marshal, Parade, all of the Maple Leaf Pageants, Chili Cook-Off, Dog Show and many more.

All applications including information on how to become a sponsor can be found on the Carthage Chamber of Commerce website, which you can find HERE.

| “Boba” A Popular Choice At Marian Days In Carthage >

Volunteers are also being sought out during the event.

“Volunteers play a big role in our organization for not only our Chamber but to putting this festival on and we need all the help we can get, before, during and after the event. Anyone wishing to volunteer just needs to call us and let us know their availability so we can assign tasks and duties that will fit their schedule,” said Reams.

Anyone wishing to volunteer may call the Carthage Chamber at (417) 358-2373.

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RV park quickly fills up for Marian Days

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A large RV park, built just for Marian Days, filled up quickly with those staying in comfort at the four-day festival.

Located just two blocks to the south of the Congregation grounds, an RV park with water, sewer and electrical hook-up was built for the sole purpose of accommodating those attending Marian Days in a recreational vehicle.

It’s the only time of the year when the RV park is used.

Built in 2017 as a way to alleviate traffic congestion, the RV park has 112 parking spots for the large vehicles.

Carthage Police say folks in RV’s began showing up ten days ago (July 25th) for this weekend’s Marian Days festival (August 4th-7th).

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"Boba" a popular choice at Marian Days

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Those attending Marian Days this weekend will likely have one of these refreshing beverages: A Boba.

Boba originated in Asia in the 1980’s.

If you’re unfamiliar with the beverage, Boba is made from tapioca and are often labeled as “tapioca pearls.”

The small spheres are simmered in a brown sugar syrup and are paired with many types of fruit.

There are several vendors at Marian Days that specialize in selling Boba.

| RV Park Quickly Fills Up For Marian Days >

Because the drink is so popular at this year’s festival, those who wish to order one usually find themselves waiting in line.

“They’re really good, and it’s not just the Boba pearl itself that’s good, it’s the drink that’s good. We use fresh fruit. We use mangos, which you can see them in there, they cut strawberries up, they cut watermelon so it’s all fresh, and then we mix it up with some syrup and ice and make it into a smoothie, and then we put the Boba pearl in there,” said Tien Nguien, an employee with “Boba Drinks.”

| Residents Allow Marian Days Campers On Their Property >

“Boba Drinks” says they expect to sell several thousand this weekend.

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Residents allow Marian Days campers on their property

CARTHAGE, Mo. — With tens of thousands expected to attend this weekend’s Marian Days festival in Carthage, Missouri, hotel rooms go fast.

The only alternative left is to camp out.

In fact, many of those who come from all over the country to attend Marian Days, prefer to camp.

Most Carthage residents who live near the “Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer” allow those who make the pilgrimage to camp out on their property.

Those residents say they often see the same people return every year.

| RV Park Quickly Fills Up For Marian Days >

Carthage homeowner, Archie McDonald currently has several families camping out, not only in tents on his lawn, but also in his garage.

McDonald says he welcomes festival goers on his property, which is located next door to the Congregation.

“If they see something that needs to be addressed, like if there’s a light out or a garage door that needs to be fixed or a door knob that’s not tight, if they can they will say, ‘hey, if you have a tool, I will fix it for you,’ so they’ve been more than willing to step in and make sure that my property is functioning properly for them, so I’ve been more than open to get them here and get them back, just because they’ve been so good to me,” says Archie McDonald.

| “Boba” A Popular Choice At Marian Days >

Due to a city ordinance, Carthage residents who allow campers on their property during Marian Days can not charge a fee of any kind.

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Jasper County voter turnout beat expectations

CARTHAGE, Mo. — More than 20,000 voters cast a ballot in Jasper County yesterday. That averages out to nearly 25% of registered voters in the county, a total that beat expectations going into the August primary.

Jasper County Clerk Charlie Davis says it’s good to see that level of participation, especially after the county set a new voting record in the Presidential Election in 2020.

“Normal turnout is sub-20% in these elections, maybe 21%. But we had 24.97% of the people turned out. So if you take the actual number of active voters – that’s probably more in the range of 35% of the people. Which is huge for an August election. So kudos to the citizens of Jasper County that got out and voted,” he said.

Davis pointed out there were a couple of big tax issues on the ballot, including a Public Safety Tax vote in Joplin and a Performing Arts Center Bond in Carthage. He says those likely contributed to a higher than normal turnout.

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Construction trends in Carthage top last year's numbers

CARTHAGE, Mo. — 2022 is shaping up to be a busy construction year for the City of Carthage.

2021 saw 155 building permits issued, a total worth $42-million including a multimillion dollar expansion at Schreiber Foods. So far this year, the city has already seen 134 permits, putting them on track to outpace last year’s numbers. That’s everything from businesses to new homes and apartments through the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

“We do have 33 new construction homes being built – which for us that’s quite a bit. We have several commercial structures being built, around seven. And then also we do have some MHDC housing with around 55 units,” said Greg Dagnan, Carthage City Admin.

Total building permits, including smaller projects like plumbing and a new roof, topped 600 last year. That’s also seeing a growing trend in Carthage this year.