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!


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!