The Black Walnut Festival in Stockton, MO
The Black Walnut festival is a surprisingly big festival in a small town, and by big, I'm talking about shops lining both sides of a street, filling the city park, craftsmen of leather, metal, and even fudge, and a carnival!
I visited the 54th Black Walnut Festival in Stockton, MO and I was not prepared for the amount of amazing shops and even better food they had in store for their festival-goers. Some of the many craftsmen at the festival included a metalworker, who had cutout signs, fire pits, and trinkets set around his truck. He even offered knife sharpening, if you needed a blade fit to whittle out your next walking stick or wooden statue. Under the stable roof of a concrete pavilion, a fudge-maker demonstrated his craft to chocolate loving onlookers, and sold the very fudge he was making less than five feet away.
- Tour of the largest processor of Black Walnuts
- Handmade Crafts
- Live Entertainment
- Children's Activities
- Great Food
- Car show
- Bluegrass Music
- Art & Photo Contest
The shops held a variety of knick knacks and statues, as well as crocheted clothes, purses, and all types of jewelry. Walking into the festival, I was caught by a number of dragons in the form of salt and pepper shakers, bottle holders, incense holders, candle houses and plain cool statues! The shop also sold wolves, skeletons, buffalo, and pretty much anything else you could imagine. In another shop, I saw more dragons and skeletons, but in the shape of end tables, and motorcycle riders with cool shades on. Puppy bottle holders, bear toilet paper holders, and carved canes and walking sticks were everywhere, and they were all amazing to look at! In another shop just down the way, purses hung on every surface in every shape, color, and pattern I could imagine. Bright blues, camouflage, pink with diamonds, and numerous other styles were visible before you even went inside to look around. Boots in varying shades of brown were also available. Not only were these shops amazing, but they were affordable too!
- Black Walnut carved items
- Wood Crafts
- Soaps and candles
- Flower arrangements
- Leather goods
Everyone has to take a break from all of the excitement and shopping for some food. At the Black Walnut Festival, there is a food style for every picky eater in your group. BBQ trucks, turkey legs, hot dogs and even vegetable soup were on the menu at, at least, one of the many stops around the festival. I stopped by Not'Cho Taco, because I'd been told by multiple people that they were the best stop, and the best tacos they had ever eaten. They have the best combinations, and sometimes some strange combinations, that you would never think would, or could, be put into a taco. I got a BBQ Pork taco, made to order with avocado puree, onion straws and coleslaw on top. The flavors were all so complimenting of one another, it's no wonder they were one of the most popular places to eat at the festival! After you've had your fill, you can grab some ice cream, or even a fresh lemonade to serve as desert as you sit back in the shade and watch any of the musical entertainment present at the festival.
- Black Walnut Candies
- Black Walnut Cookies
- Black Walnut Cakes
- Black Walnut Pies
- Black Walnut Ice cream
There are a ton of activities for the kids as well! My absolute favorite was the carnival attached to the festival. Just before the sunset, the food trucks open up and the rides begin their test runs to welcome all of the kids, and kids at heart, to ride and play to their hearts content. Admission is free, but you must purchase tickets to ride or play. Some of the rides included a small, kids roller coaster called the Dragon Wagon, where you ride on the back of a mighty green dragon around a track full of turns and humps. There is a small Ferris wheel, as well as a kids Ferris wheel that stood barely 25 feet tall. There were racing games, duck pond games, and balloon popping games everywhere you turned, and enticing stuffed animals that begged you to try for a win!
- Ferris Wheel
- Duck Pond
On the opposite side of the festival, you could ride one of many painted ponies, decorated with flags on their rump and red, white, and blue streaks in their manes and tails. Your kids will also love the Pet Parade, where pets of all shapes, sizes, colors, and species all line up and show the crowd how adorable they are for prizes. Among the most interesting was Raider the Gator, who measured less than 4 feet long, and among my personal favorites, was Bacon Bit the teacup piggy. There were more interesting critters involved in the parade, including bunnies, kittens, puppies and all kinds of dogs, even ponies dressed like soldiers. Pants, jacket, helmet and all!
When taking a quick water break in the shade, a magnificent duo named Makenna and Brock took the stage just across from where I had been sitting, and sang country favorites from Little Big Town and Lorde, as well as some of their own songs. They were a fantastic vocal duo, and had a sound that matched their style perfectly. Another music group that took the same stage a couple hours later was Kentucky 31. They are a bluegrass band that knows their stuff! They took some song requests, and played songs like the Cherokee Shuffle and Man of Constant Sorrow. For someone who doesn't typically listen to bluegrass, I enjoyed their performance so much I was tapping my feet through the show.
- Main Stage Live Entertainment
- Street Performers
Another amazing musical group that stopped by was Members Only, an 80's tribute band that plays anything from Journey to AC/DC to Michael Jackson, and they put on an amazing show. I was singing along to every song as if I were singing them in my car on the highest volume. They were great with audience participation, and even got down off of the stage to dance with some of the crowd members, who were dancing with their kids and families to their favorite 80's tunes. Be sure you visit the Black Walnut Festival this season, next season, and every season after that! They have all of the shopping, entertainment, and food you could hope for , and more. I'll definitely be going back next time the festival is in town!