Still looking for some fall entertainment within driving distance? Looking for some history of the Old West? St. Joseph houses the National Pony Express Museum. It partially consists of the Pikes Peak Stables that housed the original ponies used in the mail transfer across the west. This weekend the museum hosts the PumpkinFest, an annual family arts festival held every year during the second full weekend in October. It is family friendly, and of course, includes food! If you would like to see a picture of the lit pumpkins, please go to: http://ponyexpress.org/.
For a little history, William Russell, William Waddell, and Alexander Majors founded the Pony Express which began operation in April 1860. The threat of the Civil War and the need for faster communication with the West accelerated the implementation of the service. The relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail ran across a 2,000-mile trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, covering 250 miles in a day. Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The service lasted only 19 months until October 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence. Despite the need, the service was never a financial success, resulting in bankruptcy for the founders. However, the romantic aura surrounding the Pony Express has endured in American West lore.
During the 1950s, a portion of the neglected Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph was transformed into the Pony Express Museum. After rehabilitation and renovation, new exhibits were installed and the stables were opened to the public. In 1993, the museum underwent even more renovation to restore the remaining portion of the stables to its original size. Modern, interactive and educational exhibits are now in place. If you can't make the PumpkinFest, it is still worth the effort of visiting at another time.
NOTES: The website still indicates a go for this year's PumpkinFest. With this and all similar attractions, it is worth your time to check, probably by phone, to make certain all is operational. In this time of the federal funding crisis, it is better to be safe than sorry, because a federal connection could ruin your plans! Unfortunately, and not related to the federal budget, The Shepherd of the Hills Theater is shutting down. October 19 will be the last show. The shutdown affects only the outdoor theater: other features, such as Old Matt's Cabin summer hours will continue. Please check their website for details: http://www.oldmatt.com/.
A WORD OF THANKS: This week I attended the Missouri State Assessors' Association at the Lodge of the Four Season at Lake Ozark. It was great to see my old colleagues, and to receive an unexpected recognition: the assessors gave me their Legislator of the Year Award. I am greatly honored to receive their award and wish them all the best for the future!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working me to make Missouri a great place to live.