Well-attended dedication ceremony an informative success
Midday torrential rains Friday, July 5, only slightly hampered the inaugural 50 Summers on Stockton Lake.
Inclement weather did not douse the spirits and participation of numerous government officials, vendors, volunteers and hundreds of event-goers alike.
At noon on the event’s first day, local community members, summer residents, lake-goers and arts supporters gathered to share in a formal dedication program which circled around all things Stockton.
After an invocation from lifelong Stockton resident Brian Hammons and a riveting performance of the national anthem by Rachel Merrick, all in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance and American Legion Post 230, Stockton, presented colors.
Following the opening ceremonies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operations Project Manager Rod Hendricks coordinated a mutli-faceted presentation featuring a number of local officials and touched on almost all things dam and lake.
Colonel Douglas B. Guttorsmen, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District Commander,
spent time speaking about all the history of the dam and lake created by the Corps of Engineers. Guttorsmen went on to highlight numerous amenities created by the lake — swim beaches, camping areas, boat ramps and 25,000 surface acres for water recreation, fishing and 30,000 acres of government ground for public hunting, just to name a few.
Guttorsmen also commented on the tremendous water quality and cleanliness of Stockton Lake.
Hendricks and Guttorsmen both conveyed a message of participation and appreciation for the high level of engagement shown by the community regarding the Corps’ relationship with the Stockton and Cedar County communities.
Stockton mayor Mary Norell spoke near the event’s closing and commented at length to the lake’s significance.
“Natural beauty, small town charm, our beautiful lake — these things all combine to make Stockton a real destination,” Norell said. “Our real challenge here is to further duplicate this success.”
Norell went on to thank the 50 Summers on Stockton Lake committee, Lake Stockton Area Arts Council, volunteers, donors and the Corps of Engineers for coming together to make the new event a successful reality.
After comments from all invited guest speakers, current and past employees of the Corps of Engineers were recognized and thanked by Hendricks for their years of service and the variety of roles each individual played in making Stockton Dam and Lake both successful and dependable amenities — all of which benefit the greater Stockton area on a number of levels.
Beth Cumins, Stockton resident and one of the event’s primary organizers, thanked all those in attendance for supporting the local arts, musicians and local vendors who attended despite the weekend’s forecast.
While the majority of the first day’s events were ultimately cancelled or rescheduled due to hours of heavy rain, spirits were far from drenched. Most all in attendance said the event was a unique, informative and largely successful venture for local artists, vendors, crafters and entertainers alike.
Staff from new area business Missouri River Valley Skydiving even made a celebratory jump which saw Steve Anderson, MRVS owner-operator, parachute in with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flag as a show of local support and partnership with the Corps.
Tours of the Stockton Power Plant also were offered from 1-4:30 p.m. Friday — a rarity which many attendees enjoyed during the rainy afternoon.
The city of Stockton, the Corps of Engineers and multitude of sponsors and event supporters collectively said their combined goal is to make the event an annual outdoor festival offering more vendors, more entertainment and locally-sourced arts — all of which will continue to highlight numerous creative and recreational aspects of Stockton, Cedar County and the Ozarks.