The Columbia Experience – Fantastic Festivals

We think Columbia is a pretty festive place to be every day of the year. However, some weekends find Columbia hosting an honest to goodness festival, and they’re fantastic. You can find our full list here, but here’s a few weekends you absolutely, positively must come back for once the football season has wrapped up.

Art in the Park: First Full Weekend in June

If you love art and the outdoors, then do we have a festival for you! Art in the Park is mid-Missouri’s oldest and largest fine arts festival. In 2013, the festival will be June 1st and 2nd, so mark your calendars now.

With a setting at beautiful Stephens Lake Park and the early summer weather, Art in Park brings together artists across the country to display and sell their wares to casual and serious art fans alike. And it’s not just painting (though of course there are paintings), it’s coffee mugs, scarves, sculptures, woodworking and all sorts of other amazing products!

You can also take the little ones to enjoy the hands on activity area, where kids can create a masterpiece of their own. You can also explore Stephen’s Lake Park, which is set on a gorgeous lake with walking trails and playgrounds, and enjoy an array of local food vendors. It’s the perfect way to spend a day!

Inside Columbia’s Wine and Food Festival: Every May

Indulge in a week of extraordinary cuisine and wine throughout Columbia! The Inside Columbia Wine and Food Festival celebrates the burgeoning food and wine scene here in Columbia and throws a week of events for attendees to enjoy.

Attendees can choose from a variety of events throughout the week. Special wine dinners let you choose your favorite Columbia chef, who will prepare a multi-course meal paired with wines from around the world. Also be sure to get your tickets for the Sip and Stroll, which will get you great discounts at local boutiques and shops with snacks and wine as you go! The most popular event is the Grand Tasting, with over 400 wines available to taste. Your passport for the event gets you many wine samples and delicious bites from festival chefs. It’s a week of special events that will truly give you a taste of Columbia.

Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Celebration: Memorial Day Weekend

The 2013 Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Celebration will mark the 25th anniversary of this exciting and moving event. An airshow at the Columbia Regional Airport and parade in The District mark the highlights of the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, head down to the Columbia Regional Airport (taking the shuttle from the Hearnes Center is recommended) to take in an entire day of demo teams, flyovers and special events on the ground. Explore aircraft of all sizes and show your thanks to our active and retired troops.

On Monday morning, head down to Broadway and get your spot for the Memorial Day Parade. If you can, get near a corner so you can watch the parachute teams jump down on the parade route. After the parade, attend the Memorial Day ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse. This weekend is one to learn history, pay respects and spend time with family.

The True/False Film Festival: Last weekend in February/first weekend in March

When it comes to the True/False Film Festival, what we have to say could fill pages and pages. But we’ll spare you that and say: True/False is the essence of Columbia and it’s absolutely a must-attend for anyone who enjoys film and music. A must. 2013 will be the 10th anniversary of the festival, so organizers will be pulling out all the stops.

True/False has become world-renowned as one of best documentary film festivals in existence. Filmmakers, musicians and visitors come from around the globe to enjoy four days in The District and on the Mizzou campus celebrating films that sometimes blur the line between reality and fiction. If you’re still not convinced, here are just a few things that make this festival so unique…

-In order to have their film shown at True/False, a filmmaker (director, producer, etc.) and/or the subject of the film must attend with it. This means incredible Q&A sessions after every showing.

-Not only are all the filmmakers in attendance, there are absolutely no distribution deals done at True/False. That means the filmmakers get to relax and truly enjoy the festival-going experience. Maybe you can buy your favorite one a beer when you see them at a bar?

-This film festival is completely walkable. No really, the farthest venues are only six blocks apart! This convenience and small space makes the True/False footprint its own mini-city during the festival.

-You get a show with every film! As you enter the venues to find your seats, enjoy the sounds of a busking musician or band. Acts have ranged from a brass band from New Orleans to a street group from France, so you’re always sure to enjoy an amazing show before the lights go down.

There’s truly no end in describing what a True/False weekend is like in Columbia, so you should probably check it out for yourself. 2013 passes are already on sale!

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If this hasn’t put you in a festive mood, we don’t know what else will! Once the football jerseys have been hung up and the tailgating trailer gets put away, make sure you come back to Columbia for one of our fantastic festivals!

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A Few Columbia Favorites

You’ve heard of Shakespeare’s, Booche’s, Tiger Spirit and Harpo’s, right? Of course you have. They’re Columbia traditions that are packed on football Saturday and some plain old Tuesdays too.

But have you checked out all of Columbia’s favorites? Locals in the know might send you the way of these spots…

To Shop

ACME T-shirt Company: Pick from one of the dozens of pre-designed tees hanging on the walls, bring in your own design or let their artists help you create the perfect tshirt. Buy just one or one hundred in a rainbow of colors.

Makes Scents: Browse shelf after shelf of high quality bath, body and home products. Then create a custom scent that can be turned into everything from lotion to hair fragrance. A true sensory experience.

Mustard Seed: Fair trade items from around the world create a unique shopping venture. A scarf from India, chocolate from Latin America, handmade necklaces from Africa. You never know what you’ll find at Mustard Seed but it will always become a treasured purchase.

Calhoun’s: Specializing in unique gifts that everyone loves and no one forgets. For your friend with a new house, a new baby, a new job or for yourself, Calhoun’s has something for everyone who needs a souvenir from your Columbia visit!

To Eat

CJ’s in Tiger Country: Promising hot wings and cold beer, CJ’s in downtown Columbia has been a local favorite for years. Ranging from mild to BYFO (that’s Burn Your Face Off), CJ’s sauces complement their wings perfectly and the atmosphere is casual and sports-centric. Be sure to check in before you go to make sure all the wings haven’t disappeared!

-International Cafe: Ready for one of the best gyros you’ve ever had? Stop by International Cafe on 9th Street in The District, where the food is authentic, the owners are friendly and the hummus…oh the hummus. Dine inside or pick a patio table and watch the action on 9th Street.

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream: We seriously can’t say enough about Sparky’s. Even if you only kind of like ice cream, Sparky’s will make you a believer. Like traditional favorites like chocolate and vanilla? Sparky’s has you covered. What about trying something new like lavender-honey, rice krispie treat, pumpkin pie, chai and Georgia bourbon peanut? Sparky’s constantly rotating menu of flavors means every visit is a new adventure and if that wasn’t enough, make sure you check out the art while you’re waiting in line.

Mizzou Homecoming: Schedule of Events

If it’s your first time at Mizzou homecoming or even if you just want to change up the experience this year, there’s no shortage of events to take up your time! Here are a few highlights…revisit your old favorites or create a new tradition!

The Talent Competition: October 22-24

If you’re in town early, check out the talent competition each night at 6:30 at Jesse Hall. Singing, dancing, slight-of-hand! It will all be on display from Mizzou Students during three nights of talent.

Campus House Decorations: October 26

A tradition at Mizzou for decades, ‘House Decs’ is a collection of funny, family-friendly skits   at the sorority and fraternity houses on campus. From 6:30-9:00 p.m., thousands of students, citizens and alumni descend on Greek Town for this annual event. These giant skits are sure to surprise and entertain the entire family and are always on trend with the homecoming theme for the year. This year, it’s “Many Tigers, One Roar.”

Spirit Rally and Concert: October 26

Gather on Rollins St. outside the Mizzou Student Center for the inaugural campus-wide spirit rally and concert performances from Marching Mizzou and the Spirit Squads as well as comments from special guest speakers and a live performance from national recording artist Imagine Dragons.

Brewer Breakfast: October 27 at 7:00 a.m.

Need breakfast before the parade? Like pancakes? Check out this Mizzou tradition at the Brewer Fieldhouse in the Mizzou Rec Center.

The Homecoming Parade: October 27

Starting bright and early at 7:00 a.m., the Mizzou Homecoming Parade weaves its way through campus and downtown to the delight of thousands of onlookers. See the homecoming court candidates, floats, marching bands from across the state and much more!

Romp, Chomp and Stomp Tailgate: October 27 at 8:30 a.m.

Gather with thousands of students and alumni on the Carnahan Quad as we celebrate Homecoming by rejuvenating a lost tradition from the 1950s. Enjoy live entertainment, a spirit rally, food and drinks. Admission is free and food and beverage vendors will be available.

The Game: October 27

The Mizzou Tigers kickoff against the Kentucky Wildcats at 11:00 a.m. for this year’s homecoming, Mizzou’s first in the SEC. Check back Monday for more about the game!

What Fans Are Saying…MU v. Georgia

We can’t help it…when we hear that visitors had a great experience in Columbia it makes us super excited! A couple of weeks ago, new fans in town for the Mizzou v. Georgia game had the chance to experience a football weekend in Columbia. Here’s what some of them had to say…

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“Our group travels to every Georgia game, and we’ve been in every SEC city. But, obviously, Columbia was a question mark. Believe me, though, you folks didn’t disappoint. The people of Columbia were amazingly warm and welcoming, and they truly made us feel they were glad we had come to town…

…we kept hearing, “Welcome to Columbia!” And that was always followed with friendly advice on places to eat and sites to see. It was even true on campus, where our group was stopped by two different groups of students to who wanted to tell us about their school and ask about ours…

…I can’t wait until we get to come back out there.”

-Mitch Clarke: Gainesville, GA

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“I have heard reports from numerous Bulldog fans about how hospitable the city of Columbia was.  It seems that for those who made the trip, the welcome they received from your city and Mizzou fans was quite memorable and appreciated!  I was told about signs in windows of shops and restaurants welcoming Bulldog fans to the city.  It made quite an impression.  Thank you and Columbia so much for your hospitality!  It sounds like you are all a very welcome addition to the SEC!”

-Kelli McCain, Athens CVB

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“I am not alone in my sentiments when I tell you that we as a fan base, who travels well, have never been as warmly welcomed or as willingly accommodated as we were this weekend. Every person and business we encountered could not have done enough for us or been any nicer. We truly felt welcomed and I for one will see y’all again in two years when we return. Keep up the great work, thanks for everything again, and welcome to the SEC.”

-Thomas Beusse

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We love hearing that kind of feedback as new visitors head to Columbia from the SEC. What have you loved about your time in Columbia?

Getting Around Columbia – Taxi Stands

If you’re in The District after a Mizzou football game this fall and want to grab a taxi, stroll on over to one of Columbia’s taxi stands!

From 9:00 p.m.-2:30 a.m., taxis on 9th Street, 10th Street and Broadway will only stop at designated stands. You can find them at these convenient locations:

-6th & Broadway

-9th & Elm

-9th & Locust

-10th & Cherry

-10th & Broadway

So next time you’re ready to head back to your hotel after the game, check out Columbia’s convenient way to catch a taxi from The District!

Get Your Gameday Gear!

One of the main traditions at Memorial Stadium is to Wear Gold. We all have that favorite black and gold sweatshirt, but maybe it’s time for some new game day gear.

The first stop you should make (online or while you’re in Columbia) is the Tiger Team Store. The physical location is adjacent to the football stadium and is open on game days, but you can also get a huge variety of items online to pack and bring with you.

Ranging from simple:

To Flashy:

And from dapper:

To those in diapers:

Also in Columbia is Tiger Spirit, Jock’s Nitch and Rally House…all stocked from top to bottom with Mizzou game day gear. You can also check out our Pinterest  to explore our Tiger themed boards. No matter where you do your shopping, get your gold on and be ready to cheer loud!

How To Get Here!

If you’re from out of town, and especially if you’ve never headed to Columbia before, this post is for you! Sure you have your tickets, but now you have to make your travel plans. So just how do you get here? We’re glad you asked.

By Land

Columbia is conveniently located right in the center of Missouri. We’re an easy two-hour drive from either St. Louis or Kansas City and the stadium is easily accessible from both Interstate 70 and Highway 63. If you’re flying into St. Louis or Kansas City, it’s easy to rent a car and make the trip! Then, bam….you’re in Tiger country.

In the Air

Columbia Regional Airport is located a fast 10 miles south and has Delta service through both Memphis and Atlanta. Every day it gets easier to fly right into Columbia and get your weekend started!

Of course, you can also fly into St. Louis or Kansas City, both of which are home to international airports. If you’d rather not have to navigate Columbia, MO-X Shuttle will take you from the gate straight to your hotel. These easy options make getting to Columbia a breeze!

By Sea

Ok, so you can’t really get here on the water. But if you want to learn how to navigate the sea of people (see what we did there?) on game day, check back next week for our post on getting around once you’ve arrived. See you then!