A Fall display welcomes guests to Missouri Town 1855.

Missouri Town 1855 – Welcoming Fall

As Autumn descends on the Midwest, people will find an abundance of harvest-themed festivals. Welcoming Fall brings a change in the air, that signals the shortening of daylight hours. We find ourselves trying to savor every moment. Scanning the Kansas City calendar of events, we noticed the annual Fall Festival at Missouri Town 1855. Since we had never visited this particular outdoor venue, this seemed like the perfect destination for our first 2021 autumn excursion.

Visitors explore the various buildings that are found on the grounds of Missouri Town 1855.

Frozen in Time

Missouri Town 1855 has a fairly self-explanatory name. The idea was to create a crossroads town that would be common around the start of the Civil War. There was no specific region chosen to be represented, as these types of villages existed all across the country. The buildings at Missouri Town were all brought here from other small towns. Each structure would have a specific purpose during life in 1855. Visitors are encouraged to explore the buildings and interact with the volunteers that inhabit each one. On festival day, the population swells with the excited throng of guests.

Live music is a big part of the Missouri Town 1855 Fall festival.

Traveling Back in Time

The act of welcoming Fall, at Missouri Town 1855, includes some down-home entertainment. After navigating parking, we made our way onto the grounds. One of the first buildings we came to would have been the residence of the local military leader. While the staff is in the process of refurbishing this structure, the interior is restricted. Instead of tours, they were using the building as a backdrop for an entertainment stage. As the day progressed, a variety of entertainers captivated those passing by with their musical prowess.

A musician entertains the crowd during the Fall Festival at Missouri Town 1855.

Festival Atmosphere

Wandering the grounds, we found that musical entertainment could be found in abundance. Keeping to the time period, we found ourselves being beguiled by unfamiliar sounds. Being country music lovers, we were familiar with the instruments being played. It’s easy to find yourself transported back in time when you are surrounded by the sounds of guitars, banjos, fiddles, and dulcimers.

One of the volunteers at Missouri Town 1855 teaches visitors about life in the 1800s.

Living History

Scattered around the grounds, we found an assortment of buildings that held various craftspeople. Each was more than happy to converse with us and the other visitors. They would fill us in on their role in Missouri Town, and how it would have fit into daily life in 1855. This guy was in the process of making wood shingles for roofs. This labor-intensive task would have been imperative for the maintenance of roofs on the buildings.

A team of oxen take a break to nibble on some hay.

Farm Life

The layout of the village is easy to navigate, as it follows one main road. We made our way towards the back of the property, where we landed on a small farm. Here they were letting the oxen rest up from a day of heavy labor. Places like Missouri Town 1855 are an excellent opportunity for city dwellers to learn more about life on a farm. It is also a chance to pet a full-size Holstein bull.

Volunteers at Missouri Town 1855 work on this years harvest of sorghum.

Harvest Time

Welcoming Fall includes lots of labor on the farm. While crops are maturing throughout the summer, there is an abundance of harvesting to be done in autumn. At Missouri Town 1855 they grow a small number of various crops, to be used for educational purposes. One of their key crops is sorghum, which is used in the production of molasses. During the Fall Festival, staff members harvest the crop and will usually show some of the steps for making molasses. There are a couple of places in the town that sell this thick sweetener produced by the staff.

The crowds are encouraged to take a hands-on approach during their visit to Missouri Town 1855.

Engaging the Public

Visitors can find other opportunities to engage and practice their skills. Harvest season has long been associated with apples. At Missouri Town 1855, this fruit is not overlooked. We spotted one area where apples were being crushed into a mash. A line of kids anxiously awaited their chance to hammer the large wooden pestle into the trough filled with apples. Nearby, staff members were busy creating apple cider with some of the mashed apples. Another group was in the throws of boiling down the mash for some creamy apple butter. The smells of autumn hung in the air.

A volunteer spends time preparing an apple pie for the other workers at Missouri Town 1855.

Welcoming Fall

Not all of the apples would end up being crushed. At a nearby house, we found a volunteer busy with the task of pie-making. She walked through how she did it and then we spent some time just conversing. We discovered that the foods produced during the day are used to feed staff and volunteers. This seemed like a perfect reward for a busy day filled with activity. We can imagine that they have quite a feast when the workday is done.

Rows of tents and booths provide plenty of holiday shopping opportunities to visitors.

Holiday Shopping?

Fall festivals have a lot to offer visitors. Besides the educational and engaging activities, there is usually a good selection of vendors. This is the perfect time to do a little early holiday shopping. A large number of the booths were filled with handmade crafts from local artists. This adds a homegrown touch to gifts for friends and family. We also keep an eye open for things that would fit in our own homes.

The baby of a demonstrating couple takes a nap after a morning of activity.

Wrapping Up a Full Day

With so much activity, as well as some tasty cobblers, we found ourselves tuckered out from our excursion. As we neared the parking lot, we spied the last few exhibits. At this one, the focus was on allowing visitors to learn about the pelts from different animals. Laid out in the midst of the display was the couple’s child. It looks like the day’s activities had worn this tyke out, as well. Time for us to rest up and prepare for more Fall events. We need to make hay while the sun shines since winter will be here sooner than we realize.

the authors signatures.

4 thoughts on “Missouri Town 1855 – Welcoming Fall”

  1. This was a very good article about Missouri Town 1855. Is it a real town, or was it just set up for fun? Thanks for sharing.

  2. michele peterson

    I love how Missouri Town 1855 has included music as a part of the festival experience. It’s the best way to bring a festival fully to life. We have a similar village in Ontario but I can’t remember ever hearing any music or seeing performers.

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