Spring Dogwoods on the Water
Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. - Springtime at the Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful time of year. As the weather warms, the area's forested hills and rocky shorelines become decorated with the delicate pinks and shocking whites of Missouri's state tree, the Flowering Dogwood. Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy the season, and these colorful perennials, is at the Lake area's oldest spring celebration, the annual Dogwood Festival, April 16-18, in Camdenton.


Now in its 65th year, the Dogwood Festival has evolved from a local, Camdenton-based event into a regional springtime tradition, regularly attracting crowds of between 8,000-10,000 people each year. 


"We always have a large number of visitors that make sure to attend just so they can see the dogwoods in bloom," says Trish Creach, executive director of the Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's right in the middle of the peak season, so it really is beautiful."


The festival takes place throughout Camdenton, and, aside from the stunning flora, offers many different activities that appeal to the entire family. "It's just a great event for celebrating spring and the culture and history of this community," continues Creach. "It attracts people of all ages. Whether you love carnival rides and parades, or learning about the history of an area, there's something for everyone to enjoy."


Although several pageants and a 5k run/walk take place in the weeks leading up to this springtime event, the Festival officially kicks off Thursday, April 16 with the crowning of its Senior King and Queen and the opening of the carnival area at the Camdenton Middle School.


On Friday, the Camden County Museum will host a Lake Area Woodworkers' display from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Festival-goers can attend a dinner theater production at the museum with dinner being served at 5:30 p.m. The production of the melodrama, "Peril at Pumpernickle Pass," begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for the dinner and play are $15 per person and reservations are suggested as seats are limited. The museum will be open all weekend for tours so visitors can get a real sense of the history and culture of the community. 


Friday evening's festivities at the Middle School begin with a fish fry from 4-8 p.m., where visitors can check out the display of Shoe Box Floats and other locally-made arts and crafts. The Middle School will be home to vendor booths offering typical carnival fare including corn dogs; funnel cakes; fried Oreos, Twinkies and brownies; kettle corn, and more.  There will be free, live musical entertainment from 6-9 p.m. and carnival rides from 5-10 p.m. Also on Friday, local area students will showcase their talents at the Elegant Evening pageant at the Camdenton High School from 6 until 8:30 p.m. 


Saturday's activities get underway with a pancake breakfast from 7-9:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, followed by a parade at 10 a.m. in downtown Camdenton.  At the Middle School, the annual Dogwood Dog Contest begins at 3 p.m. and judges will award prizes to the cutest and ugliest dogs. Live musical entertainment and carnival rides continue throughout the day into the evening. The Camden County Museum will once again showcase the Lake Area Woodworkers during the day and the dinner theater production that evening.

For more information on the Dogwood Festival, including a schedule of activities, locations of events and complete list of booths and vendors, visit the chamber's website at

For more information on other spring events, attractions, accommodations and dining options in the Lake area, please call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-Lake. Or, visit the CVB's award-winning website at


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