John Kelleher Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The population of tiny Joplin will quadruple this weekend when more than 1,000 people are excepted to converge for the town's 100th birthday. "People are coming from California, Washington, all over the country," said Judy Wood, who is coordinating the community-wide effort. Joplin, which touts itself as "the biggest little town on Earth," has been hit with some hard times, Wood said. Only four businesses remain on Front Street. But lots of people have been invited back to recall the good old days. "We contacted all of the alumni and as many old residents as we could find," she said. Plus, people from all around the Hi-Line will come, she said. "We will have lots of fun for everyone, especially the kids, because when they have fun, adults have fun," she said. The Joplin Commercial Club came up with the idea for the celebration and reached out to the community for support. "At first, we had 30 people on the committee, but now we have about 50," she said. "Usually committees get smaller, but this one got larger because people wanted to get involved." Festivities begin tonight with the Welcome Back to Joplin dance and buffet dinner at the Joplin Community Hall. Admission is $5 per person or $15 per family. Dancing will continue until 1:30 a.m. Festivities begin again Saturday morning when the centennial celebration joins up with the eighth annual Joplin Car Show and the Art in the Park. The Hi-Line Relay for Life team will serve a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats, juice and coffeeFrom 7 to 10 a.m. The price is $7 for adults and $3 for those 10 and under. Car show registration runs 9 to 11 a.m. at Wood Enterprises building on the west side of the park. Entry fee is $10. In the past, up to 60 cars have been entered. Awards will be given for the best Ford, Chevy and Mopar along with the judge's choice and the people's choice. Most of the activities continue through 4 p.m. There will be a magic show by Dan Jimmerson at 2 p.m. The Montana Pioneer & Classic Car Auto Spring Tour will arrive around 2 p.m. with an additional 60 to 80 antique and classic cars. There will be arts-and-craft vendors, souvenirs to commemorate the centennial, food, a beer garden, a horseshoe tournament, a kids activity park and kids' crafts. A historical display will be set up at Bethel Lutheran Church. At dusk, there will be an outdoor showing of the classic 1969 movie "Herbie the Love Bug." The evening will be capped off with a fireworks display.