Dogwood Parades in Camdenton, Missouri

by Bethany Wieman

It's not every day that you have the opportunity to attend a festival honoring one of the most lovely North American trees, the flowering dogwood. While several cities across the country have dogwood festivals of their own, you just can't beat the small-town charm and natural scenery that abounds around the Camdenton, Missouri Dogwood Parade.

Camdenton, Missouri

Camdenton is located in scenic south-central Missouri in the Ozark region. The town is just south of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri's premier lake destination. The resort atmosphere around Lake of the Ozarks offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, dining, hiking and shopping. This growing, vibrant community has experienced great population growth recently as more people discover its many positive attributes.

Dogwood Festival Overview

Camdenton has been holding the annual Lake of the Ozarks Dogwood Festival for more than 60 years. The event is held the third full weekend of April, unless Easter falls on that weekend. More than 7,000 people typically take in the sights and sounds of the event's old-fashioned acitivies over the weekend. The festival is free to attend and enjoyable for people of all ages. Miss Dogwood is crowned early in the event. Senior (65 +) Queen and King Dogwood are decided during a later contest. In addition to the pageants, there's also an extensive arts and crafts show, a carnival with rides, an art sale, evening melodramas, a fish fry, a silent auction, church garage sales, a quilt show and live entertainment on stage almost every night.

Dogwood Festival Parade

The Dogwood Parade is the highlight of the festival for many of its attendees. The parade is held in downtown Camdenton. Spectators enjoy seeing shiny classic cars and military vehicles, traditional floats, marching bands, tractors, tiny Shriner cars and animals ranging from dogs to horses. Of course, Miss Dogwood, Little Miss Dogwood, the Senior King and Queen Dogwood and all of the royalty in between get to participate in the parade, too. Children receive massive amounts of candy, leaving them sugared-up for the rest of the day's activities.The parade is an excellent chance to see the members of the community at their most creative. A perfect way to spend a nice spring day, it draws people from all over the state.

Missouri's State Tree

All of these events are set against the backdrop of Missouri's beautiful state tree. Dogwoods are one of the most common trees in the Ozark forests, their white blooms a stunning spectacle amongst the shaded understory. Dogwoods grow 15 to 30 feet tall. Many Missourians also plant them in their yards for spring color. After the flowers fall off, shiny red berries follow. The berries are an abundant food source for both birds and squirrels. It's only fitting that this beloved tree gets its own festival and parade every year in the small town of Camdenton.

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