The Lighting of the Pump in La Russell, Mo.

A two block parade led by a group of ladies playing the kazoo, then a countdown to light the pump in the middle of Main Street!
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Santa takes a break to watch fireworks after the Lighting of the Pump in La Russell, Mo. November 24, 2022.

LA RUSSELL, Mo. — It’s the first parade of the Joplin-Area holiday season. It’s two blocks long and ends with the traditional ‘lighting of the pump’!

Did we mention the parade is led by the Humdingers? A group of ladies who play the Kazoo and march. Yeah it’s a lot to unpack if you’ve never been there.

La Russell was one of the first towns settled in Jasper County in the 1830’s along Spring River. And then it was solidified with a school as Union Pacific Railroad made it a stop on their newly-built tracks.

The original pump for the town water stood a few blocks away however the last 80 years or so it was in the middle of town — the middle of the Main Street — in front of the Post Office.

Tonight was another moment frozen in time at La Russell’s annual pump lighting, where folks gather each Thanksgiving evening for a short parade (complete with a kazoo band), fireworks, and the lighting of the old-fashioned water pump that still sits in the middle of the road,” states Kaitlyn McConnell of Ozarks Alive who attended.

It’s all fun, tongue in cheek and kind of campy!

After the parade, the pump is lit and the fireworks light up the sky. Kids then get a chance to talk to Santa as he sits on the pump pedestal.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s one of the most bizarre (in a wonderful way) and unique Ozarks community events I get the privilege of attending every year.”

Historian & Storyteller, Kaitlyn McConnell of Ozarks Alive

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