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One of the best deals for your summer enjoyment is the series of free classes on river safely and paddling basics being offered on the Current River every weekend in July.

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It's been 150 years since the town of Eminence was founded on the banks of the Jacks Fork River in Shannon County. The river town is celebrating its Sesquicentennial with events throughout the year.

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It's been a long winter and a struggle for spring to arrive, but warm days are finally here and it is time to get outside and get active.

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A tisket, a tasket, a handmade white-oak basket … Okay, we’ve changed the words of the poem a bit, but there’s a reason. Handmade white-oak (and other wood) baskets are what Joe and Alice Dudenhoeffer of Linn are all about.

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A griot, in some African countries, is a highly respected member of the community who collects, preserves and shares the stories, objects and cultural traditions of the community. What an appropriate name, therefore, for The Griot Museum of Black History, because that is just what the museum…

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If you've been stuck in the house during these cold winter days and have the itch to get out and do something, think Missouri State Parks. With more than 90 parks in the system, Missouri State Parks are certain to offer a program or activity to please you and your family and friends.

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If you're still making plans on how to kick off the New Year, here's an option: Make tracks for the all-new New Year's Celebration at Silver Dollar City, on both New Year's Eve and Day.

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This year the United States is observing the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I on April 6, 1917. Missourians are fortunate to have the federally designated National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. It is a national treasure within an easy drive for Missouria…

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Opening day for the catch-and-keep trout season at Missouri's four trout parks is March 1. Anglers are eagerly awaiting the 6 a.m. siren that signals the start of the new season. Meanwhile, they are examining their gear, practicing their casting, and checking the weather forecast.

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You've heard of Christmas in July -- for special sales and promotions or alternative birthday parties for children born near Christmas. But if you're in Branson between July 6 and 10, you'll definitely think the holiday season is here, regardless of the summer temperatures. That's because th…

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Readers of this blog may recall a story about the Pioneer Museum in Ellsinore (see "While in Van Buren Area, Visit Pioneer Museum" on June 11, 2105). The tiny museum's prime attraction is the summer series of visiting artists and performers. Each Saturday, there are demonstrations, performan…

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A sure cure for spring fever is a trip to Shaw Nature Reserve to see the annual daffodil extravaganza. Thousands of daffodils are already in bloom, and the peak should be coming any day now. The viewing this weekend should be excellent, and will probably be good through next weekend, too, de…

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Easter is almost here, and one way to prepare spiritually for the holiday is to attend the New Melle Community Passion Play, in New Melle, Mo., this weekend.

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For an up-close look at a traditional German-style Christmas celebration of 1870s Missouri, don't miss the chance to visit the Augusta History Museum during the 33rd annual Christmas Candlelight Walk on Friday nights, Dec. 4 and 11, in historic Augusta.

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Kick off the holiday season with the Sounds of Starkenburg concert on November 28 and you just might start a new tradition for your family and friends.

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On Saturday, Aug. 10, 1861, 154 years ago, the woods and corn fields along Wilson's Creek in southwest Missouri were ringing with the sounds of battle. The booms of cannons and rifles, the pitiful screams of the wounded and dying, the terrified neighing of horses -- it was surely a scene str…

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“Watch out! There’s a strong current in this curve …” About that time, the canoe flips, dumping the two novice paddlers into the Niangua River.

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I’ve been floating the Jacks Fork every summer for longer than I care to admit, but only once was I there when the water was high enough to put in at Buck Hollow and float the upper stretch that passes Jam Up Cave. So when the opportunity came recently to float from The Prongs to Buck Hollow…

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If practice makes perfect, then it’s no wonder the baskets made by Eric Peterson and Barbara (Barb) Sakowicz are so beautiful. They’ve been practicing for years.

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One of the crown jewels of Franklin County, Meramec State Park is popular throughout the year, but it really buzzes with activity in the summer, when float trips on the Meramec River and camping in the park take priority.

While you're in the Van Buren area for Ozark Heritage Day (see June 8 post) or for any other reason this summer, make time for a stop at the Pioneer Museum in Ellsinore. This might be one of the smallest museums you'll ever visit, but it is packed full of community pride.

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One of my favorite events each summer is Ozark Heritage Day at Big Spring, near van Buren, in the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways. This year, the event is Saturday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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One of the coolest things you can do this summer is to attend a hummingbird banding demonstration at either Montauk State Park or Onondaga Cave State Park. No matter your age — from tiny tot to senior citizen — the opportunity to have a hummingbird lie on your palm and then take off in a buz…

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As the weather warms up, the urge to get out and explore grows stronger. We propose a tour of five Franklin County wineries, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. You can do the entire tour in one big loop (with a designated driver) or you can visit one or two win…

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It's been 20 years since the Showboat Branson Belle was launched into Table Rock Lake on a bed of slippery crushed bananas -- an ecologically friendly way to move the 2,500,000-pound boat from land to water.

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Lovers of the Jacks Fork River, rejoice. Bunker Hill Retreat, the resort that has been exclusively for members of the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) and their guests since 1947, has opened its doors to the general public. You now have access to one of the most beautiful stretches…

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My husband and I were in Branson for an early spring weekend two years ago, and we kept running into Elvis Presley everywhere we went. There were Elvis look-alikes in the restaurants, at the shopping malls, and strolling the sidewalks in the historic downtown area.

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My husband was born into a mushroom-hunting family, whereas my mom used to be wary of fresh mushrooms from the grocery. But after 39 years of marriage, and that many turkey and mushroom seasons, I have learned a thing or two about morels. Mostly, that I love to eat them, dipped in egg-milk m…

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The weather forecast for the weekend is springlike, and you and the family have a severe case of cabin fever after the last few weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. Put that together, and it calls for a road trip!

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After a long cold winter, a spring weekend in the Ozarks is just what the doctor ordered. One way to fill that prescription is by attending the Shannondale Craft Camp, March 19-22, in Shannon County, deep in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks.

Join travel writer Barbara Gibbs Ostmann as she travels across Missouri and around the world in search of food, fun and adventure. Barb has been writing about travel, food, wine and the outdoors for 40 years, and she is as enthusiastic today as when she first started -- possibly more so! Som…

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