New Madrid Fall Festival full of fun and fishing

Thursday, October 3, 2019

NEW MADRID, Mo. — New Madrid’s Fall Festival comes with a catch — especially for those interested in fishing.

This year’s Fall Festival, set for Saturday, will again include a free fishing rodeo for youngsters ages 1 to 12. For the second year it will also feature professional fishing in the Twisted Cat Tournament.

The fishing events begin and end a day full of activities for the entire family, according to Christina McWaters, executive director of the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce.

“We have a lot going on this year. It will be a busy day with something for everybody,” she said.

Vendors, including those offering a variety of arts and craft along with food, will set up their stands along Main Street from 6 to 9 a.m. McWaters said she still has spaces available and those vendors wanting to take part can contact her by calling the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce office at 573-748-5300.

At 8 a.m. Saturday, registration begins for the youth fishing rodeo which will be at the city pond, just off Highway WW. McWaters noted the pond is stocked to give the young anglers the chance to pull in some prize catches as they fish from 9 to 11 a.m. She emphasized children taking part must be accompanied by an adult.

While participants need to bring their own bait, the fishing rodeo’s sponsor, the

Riverbend Ducks Unlimited Chapter, will provide free fishing poles to the first 70 youngsters who register.

Laura McVey with the Riverbend Ducks Unlimited Chapter explained sponsoring the youth fishing rodeo is another way for the group to promote conservation.

“We want to get kids involved in the sport of wildlife whether by fishing, hunting or both,” she said.

She added the chapter members enjoyed assisting with the event last year, especially watching the youngsters reactions. “Seeing the excitement, surprise and sometimes even the shock when the kids actually catch a fish was the most enjoyable part,” she said with a smile. “We are looking forward to seeing that again.”

In addition to the vendors gearing up at 9 a.m., McWaters said their will be several free activities beginning as well. The Lazy L Safari Petting Zoo will set up along Main Street and free wagon rides will be offered until 4 p.m.

The public can test their skills in an escape room provided by Escape Cape. The escape room will be set up at the former city police department from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the characters Woody and Jessie from the “Toy Story” movies will visit with youngsters attending the Fall Festival and pose for photos.

Also available will be a miniature golf course.

Registration for the public to show a car, truck, tractor or motorcycle is from 8-10 a.m. with judging set for 12:30 p.m. Winners will be announced in each category and be awarded trophies at 2 p.m.

Categories of competition are: People’s Choice, Best of Show, Pre-1965 Stock, Pre-1965 Custom, 1965 and Later Stock, 1965 and Later Custom, Street Rod, Trucks, Motorcycles and Tractors. The pre-show entry fee is $15 and $20 the day of the show with all proceeds donated to charity.

Entry forms for the vehicle show are available through the Chamber’s Facebook page or by emailing

Fall Festival activities will wind down as the weigh-in of the catch by the anglers in the Twisted Cat Outdoors Fishing Series (see sidebar) gets underway at 3 p.m. in front of the Bank of New Madrid.

With the prospect of good weather for the day, McWaters said she expects a large crowd at the Fall Festival, estimating it could bring as many as 2,000 people to town.

“I think it promotes community spirit,” she said about the annual event. “It is a chance to come out and see your neighbors, have a good time with family and friends and just enjoy the day.”

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