Find a Festival For Every Season in Columbia

This article is presented in partnership with the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Every season is festival season in Columbia. Entertaining events fill the calendar, much to the delight of locals and the thousands of visitors who come to take in fine art, delectable food, good books, historic attractions, inspiring music, and extraordinary films.

The Heritage Festival & Craft Show in Nifong Park (Sept. 15-16, 2018) is a genuine blast from the past. Crafters and tradesmen dressed in period attire will demonstrate their old-fashioned artistry and sell their creations. There’s also an area for contemporary crafts, plus food, music, storytelling, and tours of the historic Maplewood Home and the Boone County History & Culture Center.

Now in its second decade, Columbia’s Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is a celebration of music, food and culture. The 2018 festival runs from Sept. 28-30, and turns Stephens Lake Park into a musical mecca with genres that include roots and blues, naturally, but also gospel, soul, rock, bluegrass and more. This year’s headliners include The Avett Brothers and Sturgill Simpson.  

Stephens College launched the Citizen Jane Film Festival with a mission of promoting and empowering female filmmakers. What began as a lecture series in 2005, quickly expanded into a four-day film fest, and now includes a camp for young filmmakers. This year’s Citizen Jane Film Festival takes place Nov. 1-4.

In 15 years, the True/False Film Fest went from obscure upstart to one of the most respected documentary film festivals in the country. For four days in late winter (Feb. 28-March 3, 2019), downtown Columbia transforms into a film lover’s paradise where filmmakers, actors, musicians and fans mingle to share their appreciation for the art of the documentary.  

Local author Alex George opened the book on one of Columbia’s newest festivals in 2016: The Unbound Book Festival. The one-day festival in April brings in nationally and internationally acclaimed authors for Q&A sessions, interviews, children’s events and book signings.

Rain or shine, it’s always a lovely June weekend for Columbia Art League’s Art in the Park, where festival goers can  view art, buy art, and make art. There are paintings, sculptures, fiber art—every booth celebrates the imaginative spirit of the artists. The creative vibe of the event and the natural beauty of Stephens Lake Park make Art in the Park an inspirational way to spend a summer day.