Fifty years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers changed life in the sleepy little town of Stockton. The corps built a hydro-power generation unit, a dam and Stockton Lake was born.

Lake Stockton Area Arts Council, in cooperation with the corps of engineers and Woody's Fast Stop, will celebrate 50 years of summer at a two-day festival Friday-Saturday, July 5-6, near the Old Mill Pond below the dam.

An opening ceremony beginning at noon Friday, July 5, will commemorate the building of the dam and Stockton Lake. Dignitaries from the corps, City of Stockton, Cedar County and others takes place between noon and 1 p.m. A skydiver will descend from the skies carrying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flag. 

Tours of the dam will be Friday only, beginning at 1 p.m. and the last tour will be at 4:30 p.m.

Not only does the event celebrate the dam, but also the arts. Visitors can stroll through vendor displays of fine and primitive art which acknowledge the Ozarks' roots. Chainsaw woodcarvers from Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa, will display their talents Friday and Saturday. A quick carve takes place from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, July 5, with more carving from 8 a.m-3 p.m. Saturday, including the large log carving event. 

Artists scheduled to display are Sally Bast, stained glass and jewelry; Pam O’Connor, pointillism; Kathy Roweton, various mediums; Larry Johnston, oil painting; Deby Gilley, Friday only, print making; Donna Tomas, whittlers and wood carvers; McNeal Artwork; Kevin Esterline, photographer; Addy Copeland, visual arts; Angie Meyers, painting; Bob Sturgeon, lures and ink drawings; Larry Wolfe, wire Jewelry; and Ginnese Ogesby, Chic in the Woods, primitive arts. 

Carvers' and art vendors' works will be available for sale. 

One of the art council's initiatives is to introduce children to the world of art and creativity. With that in mind, Saturday is all about the kids. Children's art activities will include a class in water color painting. Missouri Department of Conservation will be on hand to help children create entries to enter into its wildflower art contest.

Bo Brown will teach the youngsters survival skills. Entertainment by Professor Farquar and Polecat Annie, along with storytelling by Marideth Sisco should keep them enthralled. Dickerson Park Zoo is on tap to bring a bald and golden eagle to the event to teach children about these majestic birds, which can readily be seen around Stockton Lake.

What would a celebration be without music and food? Three bands are on tap for Friday including Robin's Hood, Stockton's own Kentucky 31 and headliner Marideth Sisco and The Blackberry Winter Band. Saturday's music features Sugarfoot Detour.

Food vendors will be on the grounds including Caplinger Mills Volunteer Fire Department with its world-famous fish and homemade chips, Slinging Stones serving tacos, St. Andrew Lutheran Church will cook up brats with fixings and Elks will provide refreshing snow cones. Get a burger, pork sandwich, fries, fried pickles, ice cream and drinks from Sarah Bock's food truck, as well as, breakfast offerings of biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls. Lake Stockton Area Arts Council will have Coke products available. Big D's Rib Shack is serving ribs, brisket, pulled pork, nachos and Pepsi products. Sample wine at 7C's Winery booth and Amvets Post 116 is serving beer, for those over 21. Beer only can be consumed within a certain area of the festival grounds and not while walking around the event. No coolers are allowed at the event. There will be plenty of beverages available.

Admission to the event is $5, cash only, each day with entry is the east side of the dam. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by a parent or adult.

Come out to celebrate the arts, Stockton Lake and 50 years of summer. See you there.

PULL OUT INTO A BOX

Schedule of Events 

Friday, July 5

9 a.m. Gates open

9 a.m. Breakfast with Sara

9 a.m.-noon Chainsaw wood carving artists quick carve

12-1 p.m. Dedication ceremony

1-4:30 p.m. Dam tours

2 p.m. Robin's Hood

4 p.m. Kentucky 31

7 p.m. Marideth Sisco and the Blackberry Winter Band

Saturday, July 6

8 a.m. Gates open

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Chainsaw wood carving artists – large log carving

9 a.m. Breakfast with Sarah

10 a.m. Dickerson Park Zoo and Eagles

9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Children's activities – three rotations through scheduled activities

2-3 p.m. Marideth Sisco's Ozark storytelling

3-4:30 p.m. Sugarfoot Detour

4:30 p.m. Wood carving judging and prize announcements

Note: This is a tentative schedule. Additions or deletions may occur prior to the event.

City of Stockton's fireworks display near Stockton High School's football field begins at dusk.

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