The George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond celebrated their 69th birthday on Saturday with their annual Carver Day Celebration.


The George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond celebrated their 69th birthday on Saturday with their annual Carver Day Celebration.

Organizers say the event, which ran from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., draws approximately 800 people annually.

Saturday’s celebration featured music from Lem Sheppard and area church choirs, storytelling from Emmy award winner Bobby Norfolk, who performed as George Washington Carver, guest speaker John Ferrell, arts and crafts and numerous children’s activities.

“Carver Day is the celebration of the establishment of this national park,” explained Diane Eilenstein, GWC park ranger. “It was quite a deal in 1943 when Congress passed legislation, it was historic and groundbreaking to establish George Washington Carver National Monument.”

Eilenstein said the first Carver Day was celebrated in Joplin, as the land for the monument had not been acquired yet.

Curtis Gregory, GWC park ranger and main organizer behind the event, said he was pleased with how Saturday’s event turned out.  
“Traditionally it’s largely attended but for some reason it seems like it’s a better crowd this year,” Gregory said.

Among the numerous children’s arts and crafts, one booth gave kids the opportunity to paint with natural dyes, and then hang their painting on a clothesline to dry, while the booth next to that allowed children to use flowers to make cards.

Among the many attendees Saturday afternoon were Chris Alexander and his three children, all of whom are junior rangers.
Though his children had been there before, Chris said it was his first time at Carver Day.  

“I thought it would be nice to come out and check out some of the activities,” he said.

For his daughters, the best parts of the event weren’t outside.

“I like going inside and looking at the science lab and all the stuff inside,” Kylie Alexander said.
Her sister Lillian agreed.

However, for their brother, Christopher, who proudly sported a junior ranger badge, the best part of Carver Day was checking out the old gravestones outside.

There were also numerous booths set up throughout the area, some featuring woodcarving, and others with a focus on conservation.

Coming from a nearby tent was music from Sheppard and local church choirs.

Eilenstein said the choirs also celebrate an aspect of Carver.

“We like to celebrate the spiritual aspects of Mr. Carver, his faith, his Christianity,” she said.

The George Washington Carver National Monument was established to preserve the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver, a scientist, educator, and humanitarian. The GWC National Monument is located two miles west of Diamond on Route V, then a quarter mile south on Carver Road.