Maple Leaf Festival returns to Carthage for 55th year

CARTHAGE, Mo.–What started in the ’60s as a marching band competition, has now evolved into a yearly tradition, bringing people from all over Southwest Missouri to Carthage.

“There are people that, a lot of people come back to Carthage for maple leaf,” said Shelby Baugh Bruner, President of the Carthage Rotary Club. 

The maple leaf festival in Carthage is celebrating its 55th year of family fun, with a hometown vibe.

“This is our biggest event so I would say this is one of our holidays here in Carthage so, everyone partakes in it everyone has their places that they go.  everyone has their people that they see …it’s a good time,” Baugh Bruner said. 

The event gets its name from mother nature, as it occurs around the same time that the leaves start to change, and the area welcomes in the fall. 

“It’s awesome I mean I love it, the trees are starting to turn colors, so it matched up perfectly, you know maple leaf parade, it’s just a really good time to come out and enjoy the cooler weather,” said attendee Flint Spencer.

The festival has been going on for over a week now, but attendees say the parade, with a “fall into Carthage” theme, is what people really come out for, especially the music.

“Love to see the bands, it was a lot of fun, thought web city’s band was awesome, just listened to them come, get some corndogs, see the booths just a good time,” said Spencer.

“Probably the bands, seeing a lot of places coming around like even far away coming to this parade,” said Gabe Shockley, another attendee. 

Whether it was someone’s first or fifty-fifth time at the parade, people in attendance were ready to welcome in the fall season.