Scott Joplin Festival, Queen of the Prairies merge Saturday events


By Faith Bemiss - [email protected]



Mimi Blais plays a ragtime tune at last year’s Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in downtown Sedalia. This year the Scott Joplin Festival will run in conjunction with the Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 4.


Last year’s Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts was hosted in downtown Sedalia in September. This is the sixth year for the annual event that features arts and crafts vendors and music. QPFA will run this year on the first Saturday of June and is scheduled to be hosted at the same time as the Scott Joplin Festival.


By Faith Bemiss

[email protected]

Mimi Blais plays a ragtime tune at last year’s Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in downtown Sedalia. This year the Scott Joplin Festival will run in conjunction with the Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 4.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_TSD021016JoplinPrairie-1.jpgMimi Blais plays a ragtime tune at last year’s Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in downtown Sedalia. This year the Scott Joplin Festival will run in conjunction with the Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 4.

Last year’s Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts was hosted in downtown Sedalia in September. This is the sixth year for the annual event that features arts and crafts vendors and music. QPFA will run this year on the first Saturday of June and is scheduled to be hosted at the same time as the Scott Joplin Festival.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_TSD021016JoplinPrairie-2.jpgLast year’s Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts was hosted in downtown Sedalia in September. This is the sixth year for the annual event that features arts and crafts vendors and music. QPFA will run this year on the first Saturday of June and is scheduled to be hosted at the same time as the Scott Joplin Festival.

Two local festivals will be combining their artistic efforts the first Saturday in June, giving Sedalians as well as international visitors a new perspective on arts, crafts and music.

The Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts has moved its event to coincide with the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival on Saturday, June 4. For the last five years, QPFA has been hosted in late September but coordinator Madge Gressley said someone suggested they combine it with another festival. She agreed.

“When I was applying for the grant with the (Sedalia Area) Tourism Commission, they asked if we had considered that,” Gressley said. “I said, ‘no we hadn’t, but that is a really good idea.’

“I think our artists are really going to enjoy it much better,” she added. “The weather’s going to be so much nicer.”

This year QPFA will host its event near Second Street in downtown Sedalia.

“What we’re aiming for is to get that big L-shaped parking lot there at Second (Street) and Ohio (Avenue) where the Scott Joplin mural is,” Gressley said.

She added that they would be across from the Gazebo on Ohio Avenue, a popular Scott Joplin entertainment venue.

“I think it’s going to be a bigger and better market for our artists, because of the visitors who come to the Scott Joplin, they are international,” Gressley noted. “Last year we had people from England and Japan and Canada.

“I know they are all coming for the music, but we are offering something else too,” she added. “I think it will be a great thing.”

“I think it will be good, because the Queen of the Prairies draws local people and tourists,” Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation Director Terri Ballard said. “We draw both also, but it will also expose more local people and their children to ragtime.”

On Saturday, June 4, Ballard said the Scott Joplin Festival will have symposiums downtown as well as three free, outdoor venues. There will also be free dance lessons at the Liberty Center Association for the Arts on Fifth Street.

“We’ll have our fashion show, which will tie in really well with the Queen of the Prairies,” she added.

The Scott Joplin Parade is possibly coming back this year that Saturday, too.

“There will be a lot of activity and hopefully Queen of the Prairies will benefit by having their atmosphere set with the music playing,” Ballard said. “The Gazebo is right across the street, so that will be nice.

“I believe Madge is promoting it as the Scott Joplin weekend,” she added. “Hopefully the artists that come will make items that the ragtime audience might purchase.”

Ballard said former Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larry Melton, who was helpful in beginning the Scott Joplin Festival, designed the cover and theme art for this year’s festival.

“The way they choose the theme is by using a 100-year-old rag (title), but there wasn’t a 100-year-old rag for 2016,” Ballard said.

The cover art will feature a world with a tornado springing from it, depicting how America’s music began in Sedalia. Gressley also helped with the Joplin design.

“It was his concept, and then Madge brought it into a graphic,” Ballard said.

Gressley added the QPFA will be the same as last year with food, fine arts, fine art crafters and music. QPFA is seeking vendors and those interested may visit www.QPFA.org or contact Gressley at 826-7080. There is a $50 fee for the tent space. If the artist is new there is also a $20 jury fee.

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.

Sedalia Democrat

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.

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