Just as we celebrated the highly successful 2nd Annual Celebration of Nations last Saturday, the ever popular Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival and Missouri S&T Homecoming festivities will be held next Saturday on Oct. 8 in downtown Rolla.
But before I discuss those events, I’d be remiss not to mention what a delight and honor it was to participate with Dr. Warren K. Wray, Interim Chancellor of Missouri S&T in the Celebration of Nations Parade and festival. The event, which is planned and coordinated through the University’s International Affairs Office, has fast become one of the most unique, cultural, entertaining, and best attended events in the Rolla community. Just as the City of Rolla has traditionally partnered with the University during the St. Pat’s festivities, the Greek Week Games held annually at Rolla National Airport, Rolla Earth Day, and numerous student-lead volunteer projects at Ber Juan Park and The Centre, the City is thrilled to be partnering with the University to help host the Celebration of Nations in the City’s downtown festival lots and bandshell. I’d also like to express my thanks to all the City departments such as Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Police, Fire, and Environmental Services who contributed so much to the success of this great event.
Next weekend is another blockbuster weekend in Rolla where you won’t want to miss the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.), which will be held in conjunction with Missouri S&T’s Homecoming Weekend. There will be authentic crafts, artisans, beautiful art work and numerous booths providing many choices for guests as they stroll Pine Street. There will also be several food and beverage vendors set up along 9th and Pine for folks to have lunch or a snack next to the Rolla Public Library. The event is free, and a great way to start your early holiday shopping for that one of a kind gift. By combining these events on the same Saturday in October, there is not only a great turn out, but so many more festivities and events for folks to attend.
October is definitely what you might call the kick-off month leading into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so it might also be appropriate to mention the Grand Opening of the Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path which will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. near the bridge located at the intersection of Lions Club Drive and Southview Drive. In addition to a short program, and ribbon cutting ceremony, there will be a raffle for great prizes, healthy refreshments, a bike safety demonstration provided by VIPS volunteer and bike enthusiast Dennis Noel, plenty of free give-aways and opportunities to either walk, bike or stroll the beautiful Deible Loop Pedestrian Bike Path. We are hoping for a great turn out for this fun and recreational event that will help showcase our City’s wonderful bike trail network and Parks’ system.
Along with all the beautiful weather we have been having in the Ozarks, there has been a lot of construction activity as you have probably discovered while traveling along Kingshighway, Forum Drive and State Route 63 North where the new Kohl’s Department store is being built. I realize the construction of the two new roundabouts, and on/off ramps at the Kingshighway/I-44 Interchange have caused quite a bit of traffic congestion and I want to say how much the City appreciates your patience and understanding as the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) continues work on this area. It’s becoming evident that once this construction project is complete the area will be opened up quite a bit for both traffic flow and commercial development. The construction work, including the installation of new storm sewer pipe, box culverts, water mains, underground primary electric lines, and curb, sidewalk and gutter along Forum Drive and 18th Street has also been significant, and the new roundabout being constructed by the City’s Street Department is also beginning to take shape. I would like to again express my appreciation to the motoring public for your patience and understanding. Once completed, this area of Forum Drive between 18th Street and 10th Street, will not only have much upgraded infrastructure, but will help better accommodate this very busy corridor.
In closing I’d like to encourage everyone to take advantage of this beautiful fall weather we are having and spend time among the many beautiful parks, forests, bike and walking trails, springs, rivers and lakes that make up the Meramec Valley Region which Rolla is fortunate to be part of. And having the Mark Twain National Forest Headquarters, Rolla Visitor’s Center, Lane Spring, Beaver Creek Recreational Area, the Little Prairie Conservation Area, Lions Club Park, and Tanager Trail Ozark Nature Preserve in your own back yard is an easy way to plan your next weekend get-away or vacation. And don’t forget nearby Meramec Springs Park in St. James, award-winning wineries, and of course the amazing museums at Fort Leonard Wood just 30 minutes west of Rolla.
Have a safe week, and I hope to see you next weekend at the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival in downtown Rolla!