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It’s Time to Fall in Love with Columbia

February 14, 2014

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We get to profess our love for Columbia every day, but with Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s even more appropriate to shout it from the rooftops! We love Columbia…a lot. Here are just a few more reasons why…

2.14-Festivals

Big Fantastic Festivals

Columbia hosts over ten festivals each year, and they’re all fantastic ways to experience our destination. To really get a special feel for what we have to offer, come in for the True/False Film Fest or Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ. True/False has grown into one the most important documentary film festivals in the world and also offers music showcases, a game show and a parade (of course). In its first year at Stephen’s Lake Park, Roots ‘n Blues took it up a notch and delivered a classic music festival complete with outstanding acts, delicious food and beautiful art installations.

2.14Trails

Tons of Trails

For your runs, walks and rides, you can’t beat Columbia’s dozens of miles of trails. From short neighborhood trails to the 9-mile MKT trail system that links up with the statewide Katy Trail, you can pick new spot to explore every visit! Take in the scenery all four seasons of the year and hit the trail!

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Superb Chefs

If you like, you could absolutely spend your entire visit eating your way through Columbia. We are fortunate enough to be home to an array of chefs who put out incredible food meal after meal. Often focusing on local and seasonal ingredients, Columbia’s chefs make every dining experience outstanding. So don’t forget to pack your appetite!

2.14Sweets

Splendid Sweets

If you or your sweetheart like sweets, allow us to introduce you to Columbia’s lineup (see above). Buck’s Ice Cream on the University of Missouri campus, is made by food science students and is the official ice cream of Mizzou! Stop into the Candy Factory to enjoy a huge assortment of tasty sweets. Truffles, chocolate covered potato chips and even chocolate pizza await you at the Candy Factory! Finally, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in downtown Columbia offers unique flavors and also has a liquor license (Guinness Float, anyone?).

Keeping Connected

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One of the things we love about loving Columbia is getting to share it with you! Join us on Pinterest and Instagram to see more of what we share. And let us know what you love about Columbia in the comments.

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Ring in 2014 at Columbia Eve Fest!

December 27, 2013

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If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve the entire family can enjoy, make your plans now to attend Columbia Eve Fest!

Here’s some information from the organizers:

We are excited to be going into the New Year with new beginnings as Columbia Eve Fest! We  have lots of fresh, fun festivity planned for your New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Columbia, Missouri. We will continue to bring high quality local, regional and national entertainment to our stages. The festival continues as a not-for-profit, culturally diverse, non-alcohol, family friendly event for all ages.

MORE EXCITING CHANGES!! “The Footprint”

The footprint of Columbia Eve Fest will be slightly different from previous years as First Night Columbia. We will be compacting the festival into a “block party” location. We believe this will be safer and more participant friendly in regard to challenging weather conditions. Our popular 5K Run/Walk will continues to inspire our participants to start the new year off  with a healthy beginning at 4:00 p.m. in front of Cyclextreme.

The other venues will be located in the Missouri Theatre, Columbia Art League and the Missouri United Methodist Church (7 venues). We will also be closing off the block of 9th street located between Elm and Locust and utilizing the closed street as a convenient, safe path for participants. It will also be an outdoor venue featuring lots of fun activities, the Children’s Finale and the Grand Finale. If the weather is hazardous, we will be able to move the Children’s Finale into the Methodist Auditorium and the Grand Finale into the Missouri Theatre.

Be sure to check out the schedule for all of the entertainment information and you can purchase your passes at the ARC as well as all Gerbes Supermarkets. Spend a fun, safe and musical New Year’s Eve in The District. Happy New Year!

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping in Columbia! One Day, Twelve Ways

December 10, 2013

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‘Tis the season…to panic about holiday shopping! Lists of friends, relatives and co-workers are piling up and making you wonder if you’ll ever get all your gifts bought. Never fear, Columbia is here! We’ve assembled another festive list (one you can even sing along with) that can help you knock out those presents in a snap. Spend one day in CoMo then put your feet up to revel in having your shopping done.

On my CoMo holiday shopping trip, I bought on my spree…

Twelve Velvet Cupcakes

Pick up a dozen of the most delectable, unique treats you’ll come across this season. The cupcake menu at The Velvet Cupcake changes daily, but the guests at your holiday party or your aunt with the sweet tooth will be delighted no matter which flavor you choose.

Eleven Painting Classes

Grab your ten closest friends and have a night out at The Canvas on Broadway. At the Canvas, art is for everyone, and you’ll leave with your very own piece of art and great holiday memories. They also have a bar, so your creativity will undoubtedly be heightened.

Ten Terrific Tootsies

Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice spa pedicure. For the person in your life who could use some pampering, pick up the gift of relaxation in the form of a gift card for one of Columbia’s many spas. A couple of Columbia favorites, Riversong and Salon Adair, will always be winners.

Nine Gunther’s Tokens

Have someone who always wants the highest score? Gunther’s Games is back in downtown Columbia! Offering classic games as well as new titles, Gunther’s is a great place for your favorite kid or kid at heart.

Eight Tiger Goodies

You’ve probably heard that Mizzou has had a pretty fantastic year sports-wise. Show your favorite fans you care with some Tiger gear from Rally House or Tiger Spirit. From coffee mugs to keychains, pom-poms to Tiger ears, the Mizzou fans in your life will go crazy for your black and gold gift.

Seven Stocking Stuffers

Everyone likes to find a little something special in their stocking! Check out Calhoun’s for fun little gifts ranging from unique jewelry to fun home decor and items for kids. Calhoun’s really is a one-stop-shop for that something extra special for anyone on your list!

Six Local Art Pieces

If there’s one thing Columbia really knows how to do, it’s art! Explore spots like Artlandish, PS:Gallery, Bluestem Missouri Crafts and the Columbia Art League Gallery for pieces with a local flavor at all price points. Whether you’re looking for a small work or a statement piece to last a lifetime, Columbia’s galleries offer some of the most beautiful work around.

Fiiiiiive Flower Arrangements

Everyone needs a centerpiece for the big holiday meal, right? Volunteer to take care of that this year and get rave reviews with an arrangement from Kent’s Floral Gallery on Broadway. Just stepping inside Kent’s during the holidays is an experience. Kent and his team will make your holiday shine with an arrangement that’s ready to go or customize it to your preference.

Four Pints of Sparkys

You can also be the star of the holiday by showing up with dessert! Allow us to recommend stopping by Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream to pick up an array of flavors. You can choose from the ready-to-go freezers or have them pack up any of their available flavors as well. You can go as traditional or outlandish on your choices as you want…Sparky’s has something for everyone!

Three Bags of Coffee

Another thing Columbia does well is coffee. With three colleges and a population of hard-workers, there’s never a short demand for caffeine. Explore the different roasts and local shops like Lakota, Coffee Zone and Kaldi’s to get the java lover in your life something new for their mornings.

Two True/False Passes

The True/False Film Fest is one of the hallmark weekends in Columbia. What started as a small event 11 years ago is now one of the world’s most respected documentary film festivals. Throw in a parade, music showcases, a game show and nightly parties and you have pretty much the most fun someone could have in four days. Passes are on sale now!

And a Gift Certificate Just For You From Me!

Need a gift for that one person who has everything? Let them explore Columbia for themselves! A gift certificate to The District will get that special someone into restaurants, shops and more!

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13 Things to do in Columbia, MO before the end of 2013

November 18, 2013

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Blog11.15.13

Somehow we’ve already made it to November this year! With only a few weeks left in 2013, here are a few Columbia experiences to check off your list before you ring in the new year. Of course, if you wait a little longer, we won’t tell.

13. Peruse a Gallery
Looking for a little inspiration? Wander through some of Columbia’s impressive art galleries for all mediums of art created by artists from across the country. 
12. Explore Campus
There’s not much more beautiful than freshly fallen snow on the University of Missouri campus. Both the historic buildings and majestic trees look even more amazing than usual under a blanket of white. 
11. Take in a Movie

Spend a few hours in another world with the incredible films showing daily at Ragtag Cinema. With a calendar full of documentaries, acclaimed films from other countries and features made by locals, your Ragtag experience will be both relaxing and enlightening.

10. Grab Some Hot Chocolate

Whether you’re cold, thirsty or your hands are just freezing, take time to explore all of Columbia’s wonderful coffee shops. If you need something with a little more pick-me-up, we love the Rocket Fuel at Coffee Zone.

9. Make Your Own Art

Even if you say you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, try your hand at painting with an evening of art at the Canvas on Broadway or Paint the Town Columbia. Both spots have fun projects to sign up for, helpful instructors and a bar!

8. Sip a Drink
If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Bleu to try out some of their seasonal custom cocktails. House-made mixes, syrups and spirits mean you can imbibe in a Red October, a Giggle Water or a Cat on a Hot Gin Roof, all created just for you.
7. Walk on a Trail

Columbia is home to more than 50 miles of trails! Whether you’re a hiker, biker or leisurely stroller, Columbia’s trails are a great escape from the holiday bustle.

6. Get Tiger Gear and Give a Cheer

Time to get some new black and gold gear for the winter season! Rally HouseTiger Spirit and Alumni Hall are great one-stop shops for all your Tiger best. Of course, you’ll want to sport your new clothes at a Tiger sporting event, so make sure to get some tickets too.

5. Attend Living Windows
As the weather turns colder, shopkeepers throughout The District begin planning for the annual Living Windows Festival. On the first Friday in December,from 6 to 8 p.m., shopkeepers move all the merchandise, out of their front windows and stage live holiday performances for onlookers. 
4. Sample Some Sparky’s
Though some may disagree, ice cream is just as amazing in the winter. So amazing, in fact, that Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream is finally going to be open year-round! Those who used to mourn their cold weather closing will be enjoying their incredible range of flavors 365 days a year. 
3. Check Out the UCS
Make the University Concert Series your new holiday tradition. Family-friendly performances including The NutcrackerA Christmas Carol and a Tribute to Trans-Siberian Orchestra go on stage in the historic venues of Jesse Hall and the Missouri Theatre.
2. Buy Your True/False Passes
The True/False Film Festival has become one of the most renowned documentary festivals in the entire world. Get your passes now to experience the films, music, parties and general revelry that True/False brings year after year.
1. Visit the Magic Tree

There’s no better way to end the year than to load up the car and visit Columbia’s Magic Tree. This tradition started in the front yard of a south Columbia home and is now located in the Village of Cherry Hill, where thousands of people stand in awe at the over 40,000 lights on one tree.

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A Ghoulishly Good Time in Columbia

October 22, 2013

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If you’re visiting Columbia over Halloween, a hotel means you don’t have a neighborhood of doorbells to ring for your tricks and treats. Never fear! Columbia is home to plenty of family-friendly events for your little ghosts and princesses. Pick one (or a few) to get your spooky fix!

-Pet Costume Parade and Trick-or-Treating at Stephens College

Thursday, October 24th — 5:00-8:00 p.m.

The pet parade (adorable!) starts at 5 p.m. on Journey Plaza, the quad south of Walnut Street. The parade will wind through campus, across the College and Broadway bridges and back to Lela Raney Wood Hall, where the trick-or-treating event will begin. Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., members of Mortar Board and other campus clubs will be stationed around the Kimball Ballroom, passing out candy and overseeing activities for children.

-Halloweenie in The District

Friday, October 25th — 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Are you teeny? Then come to Halloweenie! A safe and fun time for the little ones, come down to The District and trick-or-treat at your favorite stores and restaurants. Everyone starts handing out candy at 4 pm and the festivities are usually over by 6 pm.

-The Haunted Tour at Maplewood

Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th

The Boone County Historical Society and Maplewood Barn Theatre are bringing you “Halloween at Maplewood and Boone Village.” Watch Halloween come alive at Boone Village as re-enactors from Maplewood Barn Theatre bring the ghosts of Columbia to life. It will begin at the Boone County Museum with a walk through Boone Village and its buildings where you will be greeted by ghosts and ghouls, some from Columbia history and some not! The walk will continue through a “graveyard” which will be haunted by Lenoir and Nifong family members as well as other inhuman ghouls! The walk will end up at the Maplewood House where zombie like neighbors from the past have taken over the house ! The tours will be presented on Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th at dusk. The ticket price is $5.00. NOTE: May not be appropriate for small children.

-Bring Your Own Big Wheel: Track or Treat!

Saturday, October 26th — 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Riders can bring their fanciest Big Wheel, tricycle, or other pedal powered vehicle and cruise the ARC Track. Halloween props will be set up for an exciting haunted ride and great photo ops for parents! Tons of prizes and awards will be given to all riders and mileage will be recorded. All equipment must be clean and approved by event staff before entering the track surface.  Absolutely no bicycles! Track is closed to walkers/joggers during event. Don’t forget the costume!

-Trick or Treat Through Missouri History at the State Historical Society

Tuesday, October 29th

Come in costume to this fun, educational family event. In addition to other activities, we have crafts; information about Missouri’s ghosts, pumpkins and bats; a display on the history of Halloween costumes; and a gallery tour, guided by the spirit of Eliza Bingham, wife of Missouri’s famed painter, George Caleb Bingham. Candy is available at each station. Brave visitors can explore the Kids Cave and the Ghostly Gallery.

-Spooktacular! at the Central Missouri Events Center

Thursday, October 31st — 6:00-8:00 p.m.

New place, new name, same great Halloween event! Come out for an evening filled with activities, games and treats for kids ages 12 and under. A fun alternative to door-to-door trick or treating!

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Go Back in Time at the Heritage Festival

September 4, 2013

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Looking for some fantastic family fun this fall? Look no further than Columbia’s Heritage Festival and Craft Show. This year marks the 36th annual festival in historic Nifong Park.  This free festival runs September 21 & 22 from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. each day.

Not only is Nifong Park home to a historic home and the Boone County Historical Society, but the festival brings visitors into the past with traditional crafts, entertainment on two stages and special tours.

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Visitors will be taken back to the traditions of the past. Listen, learn, and see history as it comes alive. See artisans and tradesmen dressed in 19th century attire demonstrating their trades and selling their wares. A large contemporary handmade craft area will also be featured.

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Enjoy entertainment on two stages including music, dancing and storytelling. Saturday Evening Ghost Stories (8-9:30 pm) are sponsored by the Mid-Missouri Organization Storytellers.

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The Maplewood Home in Nifong Park

Tour the Historic Maplewood Home and the Walter’s Boone County Historical Museum and Village. Great food and a beautiful park setting will make the Heritage Festival a family tradition!

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Unexpected Columbia: Perche Creek

August 27, 2013

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Looking for an afternoon of outdoor family entertainment? Check out Perche Creek Golf Club!

Not just your traditional golf facility, Perche Creek is also home to mini-golf, go-karts, batting cages and more!

The entire family can go a few rounds in the batting cages, take some laps around the go-kart track and putt-putt their way through the Perche Creek before hitting up the snack bar and relaxing outside.

Not only are there fun and games, but Perche Creek also has a driving range, par three course and a fantastic pro shop.

Golfers can also have a club fitting done, get lessons or have their existing clubs repaired. The entire family can enjoy an afternoon or evening at the beautiful Perche Creek facility. Just west of Columbia off Interstate 70, Perche Creek is easy to get to, reasonably priced and has something for everyone in your family!

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Ready for Roots ‘n Blues?

August 14, 2013

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What do Mavis Staples, The Black Crowes, John Hiatt and Blues Traveler have in common? Easy, they’ll all be in Columbia during the Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival! Tickets are on sale now for this annual event that’s moving to a new location this year…beautiful Stephens Lake Park.

Stephen's Lake Park, Home of Art in the Park.

Stephen’s Lake Park, new home of Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ

While the venue will be different, you can still expect the same amazing atmosphere, world-class musical artists and outstanding barbecue, all in a picturesque setting.

There are also other events planned around the festival, including music showcases and a film screening, plus the always popular 10K and Half Marathon. It’s sure to be a busy weekend enjoy friends, music and food in Columbia!

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Welcome to the Show-Me State Games!

July 18, 2013

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A very excited welcome to all of the Show-Me State Games athletes, families, friends and fans who will be in Columbia over the next two weekends!

The Show-Me State Games brings competition in over 40 sports and athletes from across the state to our city. This year’s Opening Ceremonies on Friday the 19th will even feature Olympic Gold Medalist Jordyn Wieber! We’re so thrilled to have you in Columbia and hope you have a safe and fun time at the Show-Me State Games!

Our Summer Sports Survival Guide

Show-Me State Games

Full Schedule of Events

Heat Safety Tips 

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Fun Times at the Fair!

July 17, 2013

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Established in 1835, the Boone County Fair has been an area favorite for over 150 years! This week of fantastic family events celebrates summer in mid-Missouri with concerts, concessions, cars and much more. This year’s fair runs July 23rd-27th and you can even buy your tickets online.  You can find the full schedule here, but here are some highlights you won’t want to miss!

-Children’s Barnyard and Petting Zoo – includes livestock and also other Missouri farm products such as grains, soybeans, and wheat. Open every day during fair, hours Tues-Friday 4-9 PM and Saturday 12-9 PM.

-Ham Breakfast July 27th at the Grandstand at 7:00 a.m. with special guest speaker Mike Alden.

-Hwy 65 Motocross Racing July 23rd, 7:00 PM Watch United FMX perform stunts and ride in 1 of 2 monster trucks available at the show.

-Also check out pony rides, Ed Aragoni the master illusionist, chainsaw carving, demolition derby, the dog show, baby contest and the Machens Wild West Shootout.

Gather up the entire family and head to the fair! Spend just one night or the entire week exploring rides, fair food, concerts, fun special events and contests. We’ll see you at the fair!

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