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There’s no place like Country Days

A tradition 40 years in the making will be continued this weekend in Farmington, with the return of the ever-loved Farmington Country Days festival in the city’s downtown. This year’s theme, “There’s No Place like Home” is a clarion call for the sons and daughters of Farmington to return home for the annual festival.

“Farmington Country Days is filled with history and nostalgia,” said Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Director of Events and Program Marketing Laura Raymer. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the past and the future with our 40th anniversary. This year more than most, our theme of ‘No Place like Home’ is an invitation to come home and celebrate summer with family and friends.”

This year’s Country Days returns with a full lineup of activities, events and entertainment sure to include something for everybody.

“Country Days offers something for everyone in the family,” said Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Director of Member Engagement and Business Development Candy Zarcone. “The parade is a favorite of kids of all ages and it’s wonderful to see so many of the families taking advantage of all the free activities.”

The celebration will kick off Thursday night with a movie in Long Park at 8:30 p.m., sponsored by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce and Farmington Parks and Recreation Department.

The traditional KREI Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning at the Coldwell Banker Hulsey Realty Gazebo in Long Park, with music, refreshments and a brief message from Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe.

At 10 a.m., Merchants’ Day will begin with multiple businesses throughout the downtown area participating and offering deals or free treats.

Participating locations include New Era Bank until 2 p.m., the Farmington Press until 2 p.m., U.S. Bank until 2 p.m., The Printing Co. until 5 p.m., White Weddings until 2 p.m., Southern Sins Boutique until 2 p.m., The Copper Lantern until 5 p.m., Dress 2 Impress until 2 p.m., First State Community Bank from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ozarks Federal Savings and Loan from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Belgrade State Bank from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The concession vendors in Long Park will open at 5 p.m., along with the Parkland Health Center Country Days Marketplace on Columbia Street, which will present a wide variety of craft and gift vendors.

Also opening at 5 p.m. are the rides and amusements on East Columbia Street, the Blue Star Saloon Beer Garden and the Hornets Nest on the south side of St. Joseph Elementary School, which will all be open until midnight.

“I’m proud to be a part of Country Days,” said Blue Star Saloon Chairperson Jessica Horton. “It’s a great time to spend with friends and the free concerts make it an affordable weekend of fun!”

The STARTEK/J98 Country Days Talent Show will begin at 6 p.m. on the Long Park Mainstage, with contestant sign-in at 5:30. The talent show will feature 10 youth contestants and 15 adult contestants performing alongside Route 67, with the final round being held Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

The Little Caesar’s Moonlight Bike Ride will get started at 9:30 p.m. with riders meeting in the Country Mart parking lot behind Farmington Little Caesar’s at 9 p.m. Riders will have a police escort and will need to have a light attached to the bicycle.

Friday night’s concert at the mainstage will feature Maggie Rose and Brennin, beginning at 9 p.m.

Saturday will begin with the “Country Days Stampede” 5k or 1 mile fun run at 8 a.m. at Wilson Rozier Park, Pavilion 1. Contestant registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. and all proceeds from the stampede will go toward Kevin Thurman and his fight against cancer. Thurman and his wife Karri were 2015’s Mr. and Mrs. Country Days.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., the First State Community Bank “Sand Bank” will give kids aged 10 years and younger the chance to dig for free money at the bank’s parking lot downtown. From 9 to 10 a.m., First State Community Bank will also host the “Diaper Derby” and decorated diaper contest with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The Parkland Health Center Country days Marketplace and concession vendors will be open for the day Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.

The Servpro Farmington Country Days Parade will kick off at 10 a.m., beginning at the Farmington Civic Center, proceeding down Columbia Street to Henry Street, then returning on Liberty Street. With more than 200 entries, this year’s parade is sure to be one to remember.

Carnival rides and amusements will open for the day at 10 a.m., the Hornets Nest will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight and the Blue Star Beer Garden will be open again from 12 p.m. to midnight.

The Country Days Classic Car Cruise-In, sponsored by Sam Scism Ford Lincoln and hosted by the St. Francois County Rotary Club will be held at the First State Community Bank parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“SK8 Jam 2018” will be held at the Farmington SK8 Park beginning at 12:30 p.m., with contestant registration at 12 p.m. The competition will include bike and scooter riders, rollerbladers and skateboarders.

At 3:45 p.m., the Little Miss and Master Coronation will be held at the Long Park Coldwell Banker Hulsey Gazebo, sponsored by the Farmington Women of Today.

Saturday night’s concert will feature Jameson Rodgers with Faren Rachels and guest Route 67 beginning at 6 p.m.

The final day of Country Days 2018 will kick off with Farmington Ministerial Alliance Church in the Park from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., with a message from Pastor Art Menard of Farmington Nazarene Church and music by First Steps Church of God.

The marketplace and concession vendors will open at 10 a.m., with the rides and amusements opening at 12 p.m. The Hornets Nest will be open again from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday’s “Faith and Family Concerts” will feature the Lesters and the Berry Brothers with Celebrate Jesus-Ron Allen and Friends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Long Park Coldwell Banker Hulsey Realty Gazebo.

For the first time at Country Days, a beard and mustache contest will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Long Park Blue Star Memorial Park, with registration for the seven categories beginning at 11 a.m.

Farmington Ministerial Alliance “Faith Games,” including a pie-eating contest, old-fashioned sack race and more will take place in Long Park at 3 p.m.

“Faith and Family Sunday continues to grow and add more events each year,” said Church in the Park and Faith Games Chairperson Shannon Skinner. “It’s a great time to spend with family, whether at the rides, the free gospel concerts, Church in the Park or the new Beard and Mustache Contest. The Faith Games are a nod to the old picnic games we played at the first Country Days with tug of war, sack races and more. It’s a great day for the whole family!”

First aid, cooling, nursing and diaper-changing and phone charging stations will be available during the festival.

For more information and a complete Country Days schedule, visit the Farmington Country Days website.

“There’s No Place Like Home” is the theme for the 40th anniversary of Country Days, set for June 1-3 in Farmington. With ruby being the official “gift” for 40 years, organizers thought the Wizard of Oz theme would be a perfect fit for the weekend celebration.

“There’s No Place Like Home” is the theme for Country Days 2018. This year’s main stage artists include (top row) Maggie Rose on Friday and Jameson Rodgers on Saturday. Faren Rachels, left center, and Route 67, bottom left, open for Rodgers on Saturday, with Brennin (right, third from bottom) opening for Rose on Friday. Also pictured are Faith and Family Day concert acts The Berry Brothers and The Lesters.

This year's Country Days ambassadors are Janet Douglas and Jon Cozean. The Farmington natives are well-known for their work in preserving the history of the community.

This year’s Country Days ambassadors are Janet Douglas and Jon Cozean. The Farmington natives are well-known for their work in preserving the history of the community.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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