WATCH: 55th annual Carthage Maple Leaf Festival

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Watch the full parade stream here

CARTHAGE, Mo. — An annual tradition is wrapping up in Carthage.

Saturday thousands of people were in the city celebrating the 55th annual Maple Leaf Festival.

“This is a way for our community to come together and celebrate each other and just show our pride in our town,” said Rita Waynick, Carthage resident.

Saturday’s 55th annual maple leaf festival was bigger than ever and back to normal after it was impacted by the pandemic last year.

The day started with the 41st annual car show, Automotive Swap Meet, then the Maple Leaf Parade from the Historic Carthage Square up to Centennial avenue.

“We came out to watch the amazing Carthage High School band play,” said Waynick.

“My grandson played the cymbals today. So exciting to see him,” said Barbara Johnson, Saint Louis resident.

Families lining the parade route to cheer on family and friends.

“We just came because my sister is in the Joplin High School marching band. And we came to support her. And also my dear friend Kevin Fields or his nickname K-Flow he’s performing today and he does breakdancing. It’s very fun,” said Nick Tarr, Joplin resident.

After the parade the party continued on the square with live music and more than 80 vendors.

“Everyone from town is out and taking part in the festival. Not only that but class reunions, family reunions, weddings. People wait all year long to make sure theyre here this time of year for the festival,” said Neely Myers, Carthage Chamber.

The festival started as a marching band competition 56 years ago and transformed into a two-week long celebration.

“People are always happy this time of the year. They love Maple Leaf. It sort of leaves them on a high note for the year,” said Myers.

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