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Big Games, Big Fun

February 3, 2012
tags: basketball, Columbia, Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, Jayhawks, Kansas, Kostaki's Pizza, Missouri, New Englad Patriots, New York Giants, RagTag, Rock Bridge State Park, Shakespeare's Pizza, Super Bowl, The District, Tigers
by motravelguy

While a good chunk of the sports universe is focused on Sunday’s Super Bowl match-up between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, folks in the Midwest have their eyes set on a different game.

Missouri. Kansas.

Saturday night, the rival Kansas Jayhawks come to Mizzou Arena to face the No. 4 Missouri Tigers. With the Jayhawks ranked No. 8, and this being the last time KU will challenge the SEC-bound Tigers in Columbia in a Big 12 contest, the game has taken on added significance.

How big is this game? Well, the ESPN College Gameday crew is in town and Saturday’s tilt is nationally televised in prime time, 8 p.m. central.

This rivalry has seen its share of thrilling games (and some blowouts, too) over the years, and Saturday night’s contest is likely to go down as one to remember.

While the collective attention of Columbia will be focused on hoops Saturday night, there’s plenty to do during the day to stay occupied while waiting for tip-off.

If you’re going to be in the Columbia area, why not explore The District? Or you might enjoy seeing a movie at RagTag Cinema (Oscar frontrunner The Artist is playing). Don’t forget about Rock Bridge Memorial State Park; it’s supposed to be between 45 and 50 degrees Saturday, though rain is in the forecast. Hey, it’s February in Missouri, rain and 50 degrees is like being in the tropics.

At some point during the day, you’ll need to eat. Grab a slice of pie at either Shakespeare’s or Kostaki’s, or maybe check out what’s brewing (sorry, terrible pun, couldn’t help it) at Flat Branch.

You’ll find there’s no shortage of things to do, things to see and places to eat in Columbia. The best part: The more active you are the more quickly game time will arrive.

As for Sunday, the build up to the start of the Super Bowl can be soul-crushing. One of the networks begins its game coverage about six hours before the coin toss. Ugh.

Hopefully, Saturday’s Missouri-Kansas game will become an instant classic (with the Tigers winning, of course) that will be replayed throughout the day on the ESPN family of networks.

If that doesn’t happen, take heart; you’re in Missouri and fun is just around the corner. Go to to find adventure in your area, or plan a quick day-trip to someplace new.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the games!

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from → MOTravelGuy

Ozark Actors Theatre Celebrates 25 Years

January 31, 2012
tags: Cedar Street Playhouse, Les Miserables, Missouri's Ozarks region, Noises Off, Ozark Actors Theatre, Rolla, The Diviners, The Wizard of Oz
by visitmobistroguest

Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla celebrates 25 years of entertainment this year.

Ozark Actors Theatre’s 25th Anniversary season will open with the family favorite The Wizard of Oz, a musical never before seen on the Ozark Actors Theatre main stage. The side-splitting farce Noises Off, also new to the Ozark Actors Theatre stage, will be the second show. The professional season will close with The Diviners, a deeply moving drama that Ozark Actors Theatre last presented in its very first season, 1988 (click here to see the 2012 performance schedule).

After the close of the professional season, Ozark Actors Theatre will present its first annual OAT Jr. production, Les Miserables (school edition). The world-wide smash musical will be performed entirely by students from the region; cast members will be ages 18 and younger.

Producing Artistic Director Jason Cannon says of the season, “We are so excited to present these shows. The audience response to our 2011 season – which also combined comedy, musical, and drama – was so encouraging. Oz is a perennial favorite, Noises Off has often and rightly been called the funniest play ever written, and The Diviners is a lovely play that is our way of acknowledging the incredible vision and passion of Ozark Actors Theatre’s founders. The Diviners was one of the first plays Ozark Actors Theatre ever presented, in their first season, and now a quarter century later as a Silver Anniversary tribute we thought it only fitting to present it again.”


A scene from Ozark Actors Theatre's 2011 production of Annie.

Ozark Actors Theatre is a hidden jewel in the rolling hills of the Ozarks. OAT is one of only two professional summer stock theatres in out-state Missouri.  Located in Rolla, OAT is a non-profit organization.  Founded in 1987 by Gail Andrews-Hintz, a Rolla native returning from New York, and F. Reed Brown; along with a founding Board of Trustees consisting of citizens from Rolla, Cuba, Waynesville and other communities in south central Missouri, the desire of these interested citizens was to bring quality live professional theatre to the Ozarks.

OAT first opened its doors to area audiences in 1988 with the production of Godspell in the historic (and converted) First Baptist Church known as the Cedar Street Playhouse.  In 1989, Ozark Actors Theatre achieved status as an Equity Small Professional Theatre affiliated with the national union of professional actors and stage managers.

Ozark Actors Theatre will also present their rendition of So You Think You Can Dance: Rolla Edition, a dancing talent show based on the popular hit TV show.  The show starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Cedar Street Playhouse, 701 North Cedar St. in Rolla, home of Ozark Actors Theatre.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.  While there will be a panel of judges, the audience will also be invited to vote for the winning performances.

For more on Ozark Actors Theatre, find them on Facebook, and visit their YouTube Channel.

Written by Aimee Campbell, tourism director, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

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from → VisitMoBistroGuest

Interest in Missouri State Penitentiary Tours Heating Up

January 24, 2012
tags: Ghost Hunters, ghost tours, History Tours, Jefferson City, Jefferson City Magazine, Midwest Living, Missouri State Penitentiary, tours, visitors
by visitmobistroguest

Explore the Missouri State Penitentiary during a History Tour, or take a Ghost Tour ... if you're brave enough.

In 2011, visitors came in droves to get locked up inside the Missouri State Penitentiary. The 2011 season saw a 47 percent increase in tour attendance – more than 17,000 people stepped through the Missouri State Penitentiary gateway and heard the cool clang of the metal bars slam shut behind them.

What happens once inside the walls of the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) is different for everyone.

Some people come to tour MSP because of the extraordinary background and history of the site. Opened in 1836, the prison operated continually for 168 years, until 2004 – longer than any other prison west of the Mississippi. Dubbed the “most historical place in the Midwest” and the “bloodiest 47 acres in America,” MSP housed tens of thousands of prisoners during its tenure.

The History Tours are led by various guides, many of whom once worked at MSP as prison guards and wardens. The guides bring their own unique, first-hand perspective of their experience while employed at the penitentiary.

In 2011, History Tours accounted for more than three-fourths of the total tours given at MSP. Though the History Tours still clearly bring in the most visitors at MSP, a new type of tour was offered last year and is quickly gaining in popularity.

Rumors swirl amidst former MSP employees and those who have toured the prison in recent years – some claim the penitentiary is haunted by spirits of prisoners who lost their lives inside the walls.

Level-headed, reasonable, trustworthy individuals share spine-tingling stories of ghostly images and inexplicable occurrences witnessed at the mysterious site. In response to the interest in the possibility of supernatural activity at the prison, MSP launched a selection of Ghost Tours in 2011.

Visitors can now choose from a variety of paranormal options, including guided Ghost Tours, Ghost-Hunt Classes and even an Overnight Paranormal Investigation which involves searching for scientific proof of supernatural presence in the dead of the night.

In 2011, the SyFY channel featured the Missouri State Penitentiary in an episode of its hit show “Ghost Hunters.” The show generated national exposure for MSP and sparked an immediate desire in paranormal enthusiasts to see the site in person. The show aired at the end of the 2011 tour season and left many on the edge of their seats waiting for the gates to re-open in 2012.


Inside The Walls, at Missouri State Penitentiary.

Local, regional and national media have taken notice in the increase in traffic at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Midwest Living, a nationally recognized publication, recently listed MSP No. 3 of its Top 25 New Places to Stay, Eat and Play. The magazine credited the prison’s Ghost Tours for “pushing the interest in the creepy complex to a stratospheric level.”

Jefferson City Magazine, a local publication, awarded MSP in their “Best of 2011” issue with the No. 2 Best Place for Tourists. Headlines have proclaimed “Popularity of prison tours escalates,” “Big House proves big draw,” and “MSP listed as top new destination.”

Whatever the personal reason for touring the Missouri State Penitentiary one thing is clear: the site has become an incredibly enticing attraction for tourists visiting Jefferson City. Visitors have come from 43 of the 50 states and countries such as Germany, India, and Canada. The positive response is indicative of great things to come when tours re-open in March of 2012.

For more information on the Missouri State Penitentiary, visit or For direct inquiries, call 866-998-6998 or email

Follow the Missouri State Penitentiary on Twitter at @MissouriPenTour.

Submitted by Ryan Winkler, communications manager, Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau; Photographs of the Missouri State Penitentiary used with permission from Michael Schlueter.

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from → VisitMoBistroGuest

Mark Twain, For President?

January 19, 2012
tags: Hannibal, Mark Twain, Planters Barn Theater, Sam Clemens, the Guilded Age, Twain for President
by motravelguy

A new candidate has emerged in this year’s presidential race, and while his thoughts and theories aren’t always politically correct, they are always entertaining.


The Twain for President Campaign is underway and picking up steam.

The Mark Twain for President Campaign is making its way across the U.S., and a lengthy promotional tour is scheduled this summer in Twain’s hometown, Hannibal. You can hear Twain’s political views at the Planter’s Barn Theater – where there’s no such thing as “equal time” for candidates from other parties.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to reform,” is the slogan you find printed on the Twain for President T-shirt worn by his supporters, many of whom are frenzied during his stump speeches at local fairs and festivals.

Although Twain won’t declare a political party – in his words, “I’ve voted for Democrats and Republications; I like to call myself an American” – he will make clear his thoughts on everything from foreign policy to patent legislation, which are among his key platform issues.

Twain, also known as Richard Garey, is a veteran stage actor entering his 10th season of performances at Hannibal’s Planters Barn Theater. Through his Twain for President shows, Garey offers lively presentations filled with Twain’s best material on all things political. Garey says Twain actually “ran” for president a couple of times, as a joke – a joke that examined serious issues of the day, including topics modern candidates still address.

“It gave him an opportunity to talk about the things that concerned him,” Garey says. “Sam Clemens was the vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League … He didn’t think we should have troops or colonies or bases overseas, that everything we had should be for defense. It’s amazing that Ron Paul is making those same arguments today.

“I think more than anything else, he wanted people to think about politics and to think about what they were doing, about how it would affect the future.”

Garey’s stage performances and stump-speaking engagements are designed to entertain audiences with Twain’s humor, while also making people stop to think about the content of his messages.

“He’s taking shots at politicians and how they live and the graft and corruption, which was rampant in the 1890s — far worse than today,” Garey says of Twain’s political writings and lectures. “We sometimes think, in the past, it was better, but it wasn’t.”

Garey draws upon many of Twain’s works, including “The Guilded Age” (which satirizes politics in post-Civil War America) for his performances, and all of the material is Twain’s.


Veteran stage actor Richard Garey as Mark Twain.

“The most frequent question I get is, ‘When did you write that?’” Garey says. “But it’s all Mark Twain … What I have to do is pull it from letters and essays and various sources of the material. It’s all there, in his body of work. You just have to pull it together.

“The great thing about Sam,” Garey continues, “was that he had the gift of saying things we may have thought about, or considered before, but he puts in such memorable language. He just has that gift. And over and over, he does that, on almost every topic.”

With performances tailored for a variety of audiences, Garey is sure to generate a response with his stories, memorable quotes and anecdotes. He especially enjoys performances where he can participate with the audience, whether it’s a question-and-answer session with college students or having a little fun with someone in the crowd.

One popular bit involves selecting someone from the audience, portraying them as a congressman and then pulling out one of Twain’s famous quotes from Century magazine: “You know what a congressman is? A congressman is someone who goes to Washington to make laws. A senator is someone who makes laws when he’s not serving time.”

Like Twain, Garey strives for his presentation to be humorous, but he also wants people to know Twain was a lot more intelligent than he’s often credited as being.

“Mark Twain was an extremely intelligent man,” Garey says, “but his persona as a humorist kind of disarms that. An example of his intelligence was that he spoke French, German and Italian, in addition to English. When I tell people that, they are just shocked; their image is the Good Ol’ Boy from Hannibal.”

The Twain for President Campaign is underway, but will pick up steam in February 2012, when Garey begins a series of speeches all around the country; he’s booked from Ohio to Arizona and the New England area to California. Garey’s stage shows in Hannibal will resume in June and he plans to keep his regularly scheduled nightly performances at 5 p.m.

In addition to his stage show, watch for Garey, make that Twain, at various fairs and festivals around the Show-Me State; you never know where or when you might hear an unforgettable campaign speech.

Visit Garey’s website, for more information; if you’d like Garey – as Mark Twain, presidential candidate — to appear at one of your events, please call the Planters Barn Theater at 573-231-0021.

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from → MoGolfGuy

Mobile? Pulaski County has an app for that!

January 17, 2012
tags: Big Piney River, Devils Elbow, Ft. Leonard Wood, Gasconade River, Historic Route 66, Interstate 44, Mahaffey Museum Complex, Pulaski County, St. Robert, The Cave Restaurant and Resort, The Drynk, Waynesville
by visitmobistroguest

The evolution of the mobile device is causing a revolution for people who want to have everything literally in the palm of their hands.

So, if you are one of those people and if you are traveling to Pulaski County, Home of Ft. Leonard Wood, we have the solution.

spacer Pulaski County Tourism Bureau is very excited to introduce our app – Pulaski County, Missouri – a free, interactive mobile application that allows smart-phone users to carry Pulaski County tourism info in their vehicles, pockets or purses.

There are gazillions of travelers motoring on Interstate 44, with many of them destined for Ft. Leonard Wood for business purposes, to see their soldier graduate basic training or to tour the wonderful Mahaffey Museum Complex . Or maybe they are stopping in Pulaski County because of (attention foodies!) the unique dining establishment at a real restaurant in a real cave some sweet BBQ, real hot chicken wings or delicious ethnic food.

Whatever the reason to travel to Pulaski County, it just got easier to get around.


Enjoy a beautiful drive on Route 66 in Pulaski County.

Travelers might be following the antique trail or driving on Historic Route 66  trying to find that blasted Devil’s Elbow, looking for a (The) Drynk, exploring the historical attractions along the way or they are escaping the big city looking for a relaxing cabin get a-way or scenic campsite along the Gasconade or Big Piney rivers.

Historic Route 66 travelers will enjoy the all-new audio tour, available for download from the app. It is specifically designed for those tourists wanting to explore the original 33 miles of Route 66 in Pulaski County on their own.

The tourism app easily allows access to mapping and contact information for tourism-related businesses, such as places to stay, dining, night life, shopping, attractions, and things to do for our guests in Pulaski County.

Our community calendar with event information for festivals, such as Route 66 Fests and Frogtoberfest, can also be found there as well as info about concerts, performances and local programs.

The free app is downloadable from our mobile website, or the tourism website,

Written by Karen Hood, Marketing Relations Manager for the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau

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from → SeeMoMan, VisitMoBistroGuest

Historic Homes Offer a Peek at Private Lives

January 12, 2012
tags: Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, Capitol Mural, John Homer Bothwell, Kansas City, Sedalia, Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site
by visitmobistroguest

Personal items are scattered throughout the castle-like home of John Homer Bothwell.

Snooping around a grand old house can be a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, especially if the long-gone owners were interesting people, and all their stuff is still there.

I recently had the opportunity to investigate two such residences: the castle-like home of John Homer Bothwell, just north of Sedalia; and artist Thomas Hart Benton’s home in the Westport area of Kansas City. Both are now state historic sites and open to the public for tours.

You can’t miss Bothwell’s home; it’s perched on a bluff looking down on Route 65. Bothwell, a lawyer and businessman, built the home in four phases, using native limestone; the last segment completed in 1928.

Bothwell’s life had a tragic turn. He married his law partner’s sister, but she died two years later, after giving birth to a stillborn child. He never remarried, never had children. Instead of being consumed by grief, Bothwell opened his home to friends and relatives; the 10 guest bedrooms often were filled on weekends.

After his death at age 80, Bothwell left the estate to a group of 38 friends and relatives for the creation of Bothwell Lodge Club. When the original 38 fell to below five in number, the will stipulated the house and land go to the state for charitable and educational purposes. The house was opened to the public in 1991 as the Bothwell Lodge State Historic is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.