The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and the Neosho Rotary Club will kick off of the 56th Annual Neosho Dogwood Tour this weekend.
The dogwoods are starting to bloom, and an invitation is extended to everyone in the four-state area to come and enjoy the beauty that this time of year boasts in the Neosho area.
Tour maps and dogwood information are available at the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce or online at www.neoshocc.com. Dogwood tour signs will be posted along the route for this special event. The tour is a free, self-guided tour.
The dogwood tour was initiated in 1961 by the Rotary Club and over the years has brought thousands of visitors into the community to share in the beauty of Missouri’s official tree, which graces many of the hills and hollows of the Neosho area.
The Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will host their Open House on Sunday, April 9, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the fish hatchery located at 520 E. Park Street. The Rotary Club plans to set up their information booth during the Open House.
The fish hatchery will be giving tours throughout the day. Festivities will include free lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (hot dogs, chips, cookies, drinks, dessert). The Missouri Conservation Department will be giving away free trees.
There will also be a book signing inside the visitor center. There will be special music along with conservation and naturalist exhibitors such as reptiles, bee charmers, herbalists, etc.
Recently, Lauri Lyerla, executive director of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, heard a fascinating story from lifelong Neosho resident Sharon Warden Eidson.
Eidson recounted that in 1946, Hazel Warden started the Camp Fire Girls which included her daughter, Sharon, Marilyn Land Walker, Margie Johnson, Joan Leonard, Jane Elrod, Peggy Moore, Norma Lue Smith, Betty Keeling, Lane Dix, Phyllis Morgan and Paula McCright.
As a fundraiser and a community service project they sold dogwood trees, she thinks for probably a dime. The girl that sold the most trees would be crowned the “Dogwood Queen.”
As you can imagine, every one of them wanted to earn the crown so there were a lot of dogwood trees sold.
Eidson said that this was their first opportunity to dress in formal attire and was a very big event in their lives.
Most of these girls lived in and around Central School, so that is why there are so many beautiful dogwoods in Neosho.
These girls even helped plant many of them.