Started in the late 1960's as a marching band competition, the annual Maple Leaf Festival received its name thanks to Mother Nature. Every year, surrounded by an array of glorious fall colors, the city of Carthage proudly welcomes 80,000+ visitors to this wonderful call celebration.
Every year, on the third Saturday of October, the biggest day of the festival begins with the largest parade in Southwest Missouri. This keystone event begins at 9 a.m. and ends around noon. The parade route begins on the Carthage Historic Square and ends at the Carthage Middle School. Numerous events are scheduled throughout the day to entertain young and young at heart including Willie Arthur Smith's Marching Cobras, an arts & crafts festival, car and dog shows, quilt show, food vendors and live entertainment. The rest of the festival is filled with a variety of activities including a 5K/10K/family fun walk, beauty pageants, baby and toddler contests, dog skill competition, chili cook-off, gospel sing, and a lip-syncing competition. For over 45 years, the Maple Leaf Festival continues to offer family style fun in a hometown atmosphere.