Washington State Park will hold several events in coming weeks to draw more people to the park as they begin to wrap up their summer.
Washington State Park Natural Resource Manager Sharon Hultberg said this weekend is the Perseid Meteor Shower Showcase. She said they will have a camp-out Saturday evening on the petroglyph parking lot and so far they have approximately 20 campsites signed up.
“It’s an open air or tent-only camping, but they will be able to stay overnight on the petroglyph parking lot,” Hultberg said. “They will spend the night there and try to catch the Perseid Meteor Showers.”
Hultberg said this is the first time they held an event like this and reservations are required through the park office. On Sunday at 8 a.m. they will have a bird walk at the Petroglyph Glades.
“Our Friends of Washington State Park are going to do a biscuit and gravy breakfast fundraiser from 7 to 11 a.m. in the campgrounds,” Hultberg said. “The suggested donation is $2.50 a plate and the breakfast includes biscuits, gravy and coffee.”
Hultberg said they will have several events Labor Day weekend as well, which will include nature hours, a petroglyph tour and more.
“On Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will have Archaeology Day at the Big River Day Use Area just below the Thunderbird Lodge,” Hultberg said. “During the day we will have a variety of activities and demonstrations, as well as displays.”
Hultberg said it is being held in conjunction with the Three Rivers Chapter of the Missouri Archaeological Society. They will bring in some artifacts to display. They will have some youth activities and an atlatl throw, which is a spear throw.
“Visitors will have an opportunity to try that. There is actually a gentleman with the Three Rivers Chapter who hunts with the atlatl,” Hultberg said. “We will also have a flint knapper here who is going to be creating arrowheads and he will be demonstrating how they produce arrowheads with flint knapping.”
Hultberg said they will also set up a big box where kids can dig in the sand for various artifacts, such as bones and arrowheads.
“They will also be able to try their hand at corn grinding, play Native American games and make a petroglyph necklace,” Hultberg said. “We are looking forward to the event and hope everyone comes out.”
Hultberg said on Sept. 15 they are celebrating National Cleanup Day and are going to have some cleanup projects within the park. She added for anyone who would like to volunteer, registration is at 8 a.m. at shelter 1.
“The cleanup projects will begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon,” Hultberg said. “It will be followed with a lunch provided by the Friends of Washington State Park.”
Hultberg said they have had good visitation at a majority of their event this year and they have tried some new things. She said they are a hidden gem that people are discovering.
“As people are experiencing our events, they continue look for other events here at the park,” Hultberg said. “We also have a ‘Seniors to State Parks’, which is a grant through the Missouri Parks Association.”
Hultberg said they have two visits set up this year, Sept. 18 and Sept. 20, and they are being handled by the Park Hills Senior Center and De Soto Library. They have to be registered for the event and there are a limited number of seats available.
“I believe the De Soto one has already filled up and I am not sure how many have registered with the Park Hills Senior Center,” Hultberg said. “It is a free event and these seniors will board a bus and will travel to St. Joe State Park, Missouri Mines State Park, and Washington State Park.”
Hultberg said the seniors will also be provided with a lunch at some point in the tour. She stressed that this tour is strictly for seniors.
“We will also have a few other weekend events in August, which are regular programming and people can check our website and Facebook page for upcoming events,” Hultberg said.
The park will also host their 9th Annual Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 13 and a Turkey Trot hike on Nov. 24.
Washington State Park is located 10 miles south of De Soto on State Highway 21. For more information about any of the events contact the park office at 636-586-5768 or visit their Facebook page: Washington State Park. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.