Bob Mitchell: Here comes another year

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ready or not, we'll drop into 2016 this week, come what may.

There are many unknowns that will fall before us during the next 12 months. Hopefully, there are some that occurred during the previous year that won't be happening again.

But, there is one thing for sure: Average Americans doesn't have to dwell extensively on those undesirable events in their past, especially in this neck of the woods. Not that we are immune from any destructive event such as has occurred in our nation. So far, rural areas have not experienced those types of bad events.

What will we do?


When 2016 does arrive, what will Cassville do to make life a little easier and more enjoyable for her residents? Our past is chock full of events that once brought attention to our community, which was known for getting things done. Once these events had run their course, nothing seemed to come along to replace them. If it did, the past event would go away.

Generational differences could be a major contributor to the passing of these events, since they seem to pass after being enjoyed for a few years.

Industrial Fair

One of the most interesting events that for a few short years brought big crowds to the public square, subsequently to Cassville, was the Industrial Fair.

When Cassville was in the top level of her industrial strength, most of the local manufacturers had some kind of professional designed exhibit that they were using in their particular line of business. These were designed to express the quality of production coming out of the plants.

During the Industrial Fair, these exhibits -- many of them of the working variety -- were erected around the square for all to see. The exhibits were especially of interest to classes from the R-4 schools and provided an opportunity for all residents to see what was coming out of the plants. The reason for discontinuing this event is unknown, but this informative and pride-producing event went away after a few short years.

Fescue festival

Back in the days of high prices for Fescue seed, Cassville was declared the Fescue Capitol of the USA by local interest, who along with firms interested in the crop, joined together for one of the most involved events of the past. The involvement of just the annual dinner was a production within itself.

Cooks would dig a pit at Memorial Park and work several hours preparing large roasts that would later be carved to feed hundreds who would come to take part and enjoy the meal.

At the same time, recognitions would be provided for those who had been involved in the fescue seed industry during the previous year.

We especially enjoyed that first recognition year that a one-time editor of the Cassville Democrat was acknowledged, through my mother, Mrs. Kathryn Ray Mitchell, the publisher, for having received the first seed to arrive in the county several years previously. Means Ray, editor -- through an acquaintance with Dr. Will Talbert in Kentucky -- had received several sacks of seed for trial plantings. They were distributed to several area farmers -- Democrats and Republicans. The grass became a three-way crop, seed, pasture and hay, that has been a valuable asset to the important beef industry of Barry County.

4-H Achievement Show

A program that was of much benefit to the young people of Barry County, the 4-H Achievement Show, at one time filled the American Legion Building with projects from the entire list of clubs that dotted the country. This was an event that graced the Old Soldiers' and Settlers' Reunion for a number of years.

The demise of many of the 4-H organizations, which were administered by the University of Missouri Extension Service, resulted in cutbacks of 4-H participation in district judging toward state recognition for the youthful members. All these clubs had adult folks who would guide the activities of community-focused organizations.


Then there is the Cassville Reunion, which fell by the wayside with the days of carnival organizations that wanted to show in small towns. This and other reasons resulted in the American Legion canceling the summer activity that had become one of the oldest such gatherings in the State of Missouri.

From the days of carnivals setting up at the Flat Creek location that is now Rocky Edmondson Memorial Park, to a year or two at the site of the old Green Hills Drive-In, now Able 2 Products and later to the American Legion Grounds, there are no longer local participants interested in the event.

Add others

Put others, like the Harvest Shows of nearly 80 years ago, in Cassville's history book, and then turn to the future in guessing what will happen.

It might be that 2016 will see a revitalized Cassville find new beginnings for many things.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.