It’s a popular thought among Truman State University students and other community members that there is nothing to do in Kirksville. Those thoughts are likely linked to Kirksville being a small town in relation to bigger cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, which are places many students call home.
While some people say there’s nothing to do in Kirksville, the small city has many things to offer, like the Kirksville Kiwanis Farmers’ Market, Red Barn Arts and Crafts Festival and the Midwest Antique Fest and Flea Market. Sure, it’s not the same energy as nightlife in bigger cities, but that doesn’t mean these events aren’t worth exploring.
We, The Index Editorial Board, believe students and other members of the Truman and Kirksville communities can find many things to do in Kirksville if they are willing to recognize and explore the Kirksville culture, characterized by an appreciation of agriculture, arts and history.
Because Kirksville is quite rural, being mostly surrounded by farmland, much of the town’s culture is influenced by agriculture. The Farmers’ Market, which is open every Saturday during the summer and continues until Oct. 26, is a reflection of Kirksville’s culture. There is a sense of pride and value for the agricultural community and that is why many citizens of Kirksville go to the Farmers’ Market to support the local farmers and agricultural business owners.
Another group to whom Kirksville citizens are willing to give their support is local artists. We can see this each year as large amounts of people flood into the Red Barn Arts and Crafts Festival to buy and sell handmade items such as paintings, pottery, quilts, furniture and so much more. This love of art was also clear as citizens mourned the loss of the former Kirksville Arts Center and showed copious amounts of support for the new Sue Ross Arts Center.
While there is support for new buildings like the Sue Ross Arts Center, there is also an affection in the community for all things historical. Kirksville has three museums in the area, each dedicated to either Kirksville or Truman history. Also highlighting the town’s affection for history is the community’s demand for antique shops and festivals. Anybody who has gone shopping in Kirksville has probably noticed there are more antique shops than outlet stores. This desire for the antique and historical brings people from all over the Midwest to Kirksville for the Midwest Antique Fest and Flea Market, which is happening this Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With these aspects of Kirksville’s culture in mind, we encourage students and other members of the Truman community to go to these events and search for activities in Kirksville that allow them to embrace the town’s culture for however long they reside here.