JOPLIN — Saturday will be a fun-filled day, as the 10th annual Shoal Creek Water Festival will be held at Wildcat Glades, Joplin.

JOPLIN — Saturday will be a fun-filled day, as the 10th annual Shoal Creek Water Festival will be held at Wildcat Glades, Joplin.

Recently, the Neosho Daily News caught up with Chris Pistole, conservation and education coordinator with the Wildcat Glades Friends Group about the event. Events will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a wide-range of events including educational booths, a kids fishing derby, inner tube float, a shoebox boat race and cardboard boat race. It is open to anyone.


NDN: What is the main purpose of this Water Festival.

Pistole: The main purpose of this event is to help educate the public about our water resources and how they can help take care of them. We all depend on clean, reliable water. We also want people to learn about ways to have fun and become more active using our local streams through boating and fishing activities. It’s also a great way for families and friends to connect with each other in a fun outdoor setting.


NDN: How many boats will be in the water?

Pistole: I only knew of seven cardboard boats registered so far. We have the shoebox boats for kids in the Wildcat Spring again this year, and we often have 20-40 of those that race. This year we also have the Joplin Kayak and Canoe Facebook Group that will be set up and letting people try out various kayaks and canoes on Shoal Creek. They have quite a following and have been hosting “swaps” or tryouts in Wildcat Park at least once a month this summer. We are excited to have their participation this year!


NDN: Anything new this year with it being 10 years?

Pistole: For activities, we’ve added the water balloon volleyball competition this year. Last year we added food truck vendors, and we have more of them scheduled this year with a greater variety of food and drink available. We’ve switched the order having the duck race before the cardboard boat race instead of after. We hope this will get more people to stick around until the end of the event. The cardboard boat races are probably the most popular activity for the spectators. It’s fun to watch people sink! We also have a members-only tent this year where members who have joined the Friends Group can get some special pampering and stay hydrated and cool. They also get a parking hang tag allowing them access to closer parking spots.


NDN: How pleased are you and others to have this event going on? Pistole: We’re very glad the event could continue this year, especially in light of the National Audubon Society pulling out of the partnership with the MDC and City of Joplin that formed the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center which opened almost 11 years ago. The new non-profit group, the Wildcat Glades Friends Group, developed as a result of this action and it’s very encouraging to see all the volunteers that have stepped up to help plan this event this year. We actually had a larger planning committee this year than we’ve had for a number of years, and I think part of it is the concern area residents had about the future of this event and all the great things that were done under the previous nature center.