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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…

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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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It’s Almost Time to True/False!

February 7, 2014

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We’re just a few short weeks away from one of Columbia’s hallmark weekends…the True/False Film Fest.

Last year, we gave you a few tips on how to make the most of your festival experience. Before the craziness of ticket reservations (truly the only stressful part of the festival) kick in, here are few more tips for making the most of your fest.

-Remember the buskers! One of the most fun features of True/False is the live music performing before each screening and in special showcases. If you can’t make a showcase, try to get at least one or two of your films early and soak in sounds from around the world.

-Like to get your blood pumping in the morning? With a generous start time of 9:00 a.m., the True Life Run winds through downtown Columbia with a few fun obstacles along the way. Best of all, the entry fees benefit the True Life Fund Film. A great time for a great cause.

-Have just a few minutes between films? Plenty of restaurants in the festival footprint understand your plight. Duck into spots like Kaldi’s Coffeehouse, Pickleman’s, Lakota, Coffee Zone and many others for a quick bite while you walk.

-Many documentary films can have pretty heavy subject matter. May we suggest you add Gimme Truth to your schedule? The world’s greatest documentary game show returns with host Johnny St. John and an array of doc-world celebrities attempting to deduce if local videos are true or false. This Saturday night tradition is the perfect shot of levity for your fest.

-Meet someone new. True/False attendees come from around the world to enjoy the fest every year. Strike up a conversation over coffee, in a Q line or on a shuttle. You never know who you’ll meet!

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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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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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Citizen Jane – More than a Film Festival

September 25, 2013

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The Citizen Jane Film Festival is a celebration of Independent Film by Independent Women. Beginning on October 4th, this outstanding event brings in filmmakers and fans from across the country and around the world to experience the power of cinema.

The festival is intimate, diverse and thought-provoking, and it’s all in an easy, walkable footprint in downtown Columbia and on the Stephens College campus.

This wonderful event is also very reasonably priced! Passes are on sale now and you also can purchase tickets to individual films you’re interesting in seeing. Check out the schedule now to start planning your weekend and we’ll see you in October for Citizen Jane!

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Join Us at Roots ‘n Blues!

September 12, 2013

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We’re just over a week away from this year’s Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival! This annual event showcases the best in blues, gospel and much more over three day in Columbia, MO. This outstanding festival has moved locations to beautiful Stephens Lake Park this year, and three-day passes are only $75!

This year, the Convention and Visitors Bureau will also be on the ground at the festival providing up-to-the minute updates, photos from performances, prizes and more! CVB team members Rachel and Megan will be on the festival grounds most of the weekend, so be on the lookout for CoMo goodies we’ll have to give away. Here’s how you can find us during Roots ‘n Blues…

-Follow us on Twitter: @ColumbiaMOCVB. This is a great place to send us any quetsions you have throughout the weekend. You can also follow #RNBNBBQ for tweets from attendees from all over

-Facebook: Columbia Missouri CVB

-Instagram: VisitColumbiaMO

You can also check back here on the blog each evening for a wrap up from the day at the festival and previews for the next day’s performances and activities.

Even if you can’t make the festival, we hope you’ll follow along next weekend so you can start making your plans for next year. See you at Stephens!

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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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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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Hot Summer Nights Heat Up Columbia!

May 24, 2013

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This summer marks the 10th Anniversary of the Hot Summer Nights music festival! For six weeks, two dozen musical performances for all ages will delight audiences at venues all over Columbia. Attendees can choose from a variety of concerts or purchase tickets for an entire series of events. You can check out the full season brochure here, but here are a few can’t-miss highlights of the festival.

White Russian Nights

Saturday, June 8th at Missouri Theatre

The Missouri Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s  beloved Pathetique Symphony. This work is sure to stir your soul from its heroic March to the heart rendering Finale. Audience favorite Chloé Trevor returns to perform her favorite violin concerto.

Grand Night at the Opera

Saturday, June 22nd at the Missouri Theatre

Five of America’s finest young singers join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra for an evening of memorable scenes from the world of opera, including Carmen, La Boheme, Don Giovanni and Der Rosenkavalier.

Jenny Oaks Baker: An American Soundtrack

Saturday, June 29th at the Missouri Theatre

The wildly versatile, and Grammy-nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker will join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra for an evening that encapsulates the diversity of American popular music, including rock ‘n roll, great cinema scores and the inspirational favorites that Americans hold dear. Don’t miss this evening with one of the nation’s instrumental superstars.

Patriotic POPS

Wednesday, July 3rd at the Missouri Theatre

The stars will come out in this unforgettable musical tribute to our nation’s heritage. This concert is a beloved tradition in Columbia. the Missouri Symphony Orchestra performs the best of Americana with anthems, gospel and a special salute to our Armed Forces. Soprano Leah Crane back by popular demand joins the orchestra in vocal favorites from the American Songbook.

These are just a few highlights from an outstanding series of concerts that the Missouri Symphony Society will be presenting during this year’s Hot Summer Night music festival. Round up your favorite music lovers and bring them to Columbia!

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