Popular attractions in Charleston are stately old homes surrounded by beautiful gardens. Brilliantly colored azaleas twinkle beneath a canopy of luminous pink and white dogwood blossoms. View plantings that are the result of an on-going effort of over 50 years. Two dogwoods have attained such great size that they have been declared State co-champions. The tour is 5+ miles in length. A free shuttle will run continuously between event locations during the weekend.

Dogwood - Azalea Festival

We invite you to join us each year in April for the Dogwood-Azalea Festival! Tour the 6 mile Dogwood-Azalea Trail when Charleston glows with the beauty of magnificent dogwoods and azaleas at peak bloom. Our dogwoods and azaleas are the stars of this festival but read on for a list of other exciting events!

The theme of our 45 th Annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival is A Growing Tradition. We invite you and your family to come help us celebrate the floral spring beauty, and enjoy the wholesome hospitality of our fair community!

Here are just a few of the events you won't want to miss: home tours, candlelight tour, plant sale, arts and crafts bazaar, a parade (one of the area's largest), an old-fashioned ice cream social, art show, piano concerts (featuring 16 pianists), carriage rides, and more!

Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo

SIKESTON, Mo. -- When choosing the entertainment for this year's Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, entertainment chairman Craig Templeton prioritized bringing in acts that he knew the community would like.

"I wanted to bring in people that we knew those who attend the rodeo would enjoy," he said. "More of the new country, mixed with the music they know -- a lot of songs that are on the radio now. We want a sellout crowd every night."

Templeton said that during the performances, Jaycees always want the crowd to get involved -- to sing and dance. And he thinks that's what the group will accomplish with the acts booked for this year's event, set for Aug. 10-13.

The entertainment lineup for this year's event, announced during a noon news conference held in conjunction with the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Thursday, is: Xtreme Muzik The Tour, with Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson and special guests Cowboy Troy and Two Foot Fred for Aug. 10; Craig Morgan on Aug. 11; Pat Green on Aug. 12; and Rodney Atkins on Aug. 13.

Cal Crader, general chairman, noted the organization has worked to get Big and Rich and Pat Green to come to the rodeo for a few years now. He agreed that this year's lineup is top-notch, and will appeal to all.

"Our goal is to deliver world-class entertainment at a value price for our patrons," said Crader. "I think that we have an A+ lineup that will do that for another year for us."

Tickets this year will be $20 for bleacher seats and $30 for box seats. They may be purchased online through , in person at the box office, or by calling 1-800-455-BULL.

Crader noted that while having multiple entertainment acts in one night in the past has led to choppy transitions, that won't be the case with the Wednesday night acts.

"They all have one band," he said of Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson. "The music will never stop, and they'll just go from one to another and back and forth."

He called Wilson's appearance "a value-added part of getting Big and Rich. She was a sellout for us [last year] and we think our patrons really enjoyed it."

Templeton said he anticipates the show will be "event-filled, and you'll never know what's going to happen next."

Comprised of Big Kenny and John Rich, Big and Rich met in 1998, and years later began writing songs together. Friends, they jammed at each other's shows, and clambered onstage with other singer-songwriter friends, according to a news release. These casual sessions turned into a weekly Tuesday night gig, known as Muzik Mafia.

In 2004, the duo debuted with "Wild West Show." Later that spring, the "Horse of a Different Color" album arrived and topped the Billboard Chart, thanks to the breakout single "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."

Other top songs are "Comin' to Your City" and "8th of November," for which the music video received a CMA nomination.

In the late '90s Wilson met Big and Rich and she soon began singing demos and became part of the Musik Mafia, singing on Tuesday nights in ever-bigger clubs and pitching herself to record labels. Her song "Redneck Woman" is said to have turned the corner for Wilson's career, and helped her become an across-the-board phenomenon, spending six weeks at No. 1

Wilson's debut album, "Here For The Party" sold more than 5 million copies and she has won across-the-board awards including a Grammy and ACM, CMA and AMA nods for best female vocalist.

Plant Sale

Since 1952, the Molly French Garden Club has been supplying area gardeners with azalea varieties hardy to the region. The sale will be held Thursday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m.


Home of Mr. & Mrs. G. Clay Shelby
307 North Main Street

Dogwood Azalea Parade

he Dogwood-Azalea Parade is one of the largest in the area! Find your viewing place downtown or along Commercial Street Saturday morning before the 11:00 a.m. start time.

The Parade begins at City Hall. It will process southward on Main Street to Commercial Street then turn to march eastward on Commercial Street - all the way to the Bazaar at Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park!

Limited group seating in a special viewing area downtown is available for charter groups.
Special Parade Seating: $5.00 per person.

Dog Show

Certainly, no proper Dogwood-Azalea Festival would be complete without the Kiwanis Club Dog Show!

What is Fido's finest feature? You'll find out as Blue Ribbons are awarded to each family pet.

Be there Saturday at 4:00 p.m. to witness the most entertaining canine competition to be found anywhere between Poplar Bluff and Paducah!

Admission: Free


On the Tennis Courts
Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park

Miss Dogwood-Azalea Pageant

Little Miss Dogwood-Azalea: Girls Ages 3-5 Years
Petite Miss Dogwood-Azalea: Girls Ages 6-8 Years
Pre-Teen Miss Dogwood-Azalea: Girls Ages 9-12 Years
Junior Miss Dogwood-Azalea: Girls Ages 13-15 Years
Miss Dogwood-Azalea: Girls Ages 16-18 Years
OPEN TO: Residents of All Communities
LOCATION: Clara Drinkwater Newnam Auditorium
DATE: Date to be announced in early spring 2013
TIME: 6:30 p.m. (Doors will open at 5:45 p.m.)
DOOR ADMISSION: $4.00 per person (Contestants & children under 2 free)
SPONSORED BY: Charleston Merchants' Association

Arts & Crafts Bazaar

Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park will be filled with arts and crafts, food booths, and live entertainment. Park events run Friday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This year we've added a second location selling jewelry and crafts in an indoor environment.

Indoor events run Friday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Outdoor Location:

Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park
1100 block of East Commercial Street

Indoor Location:

First Assembly of God Church
608 South Main Street

Art Show - Charleston Society for the Arts

This show will feature the works of some of the area's finest artists. Many are award winners who regularly show in galleries. Oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, pen and ink, and more will be on display. Some items will be for sale!

See it all Thursday 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday Noon 'til 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: The Scout Cabin

Corner of Cypress and Stark
Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park

Candlelight Tour

The Saturday evening Candlelight Tour is exquisitely enchanting! As day turns to dusk volunteers edge the sidewalks with some 6,000 white luminarias encompassing the whole of the Dogwood-Azalea Trail .

Residents turn spotlights on banks of brilliant azaleas and dazzling dogwoods as a softly suffused candlelight blazons beckoning footpaths beneath the arboreal foliage festooning the thoroughfares. Many view the Candlelight Tour idling over the streets in the repose of their vehicles. Others see fit to saunter betwixt the luminarias - meeting friends old and new while celebrating the sights and sounds of merryment emanating from private porticos looking out on the Trail. Featured entertainment along the way extends to the Candlelight Tour an aura even more agreeable.


Along the Dogwood-Azalea Trail


Bring the children and enjoy all of the rides and games! The carnival runs on Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.


East Marshall Street

Carriage Rides

Tour the lovely tree lined streets in a horse-drawn carriage. Rides begin at the corner of Cypress and Smith Street. Saturday Noon 'til 8:00 p.m.

Price: $8.00 Adults, $4.00 Children

Dolls: Late 1800s to Present

Photograph by Noah Smith, Smithville Photos.

Come see a childhood favorite of little girls, young and old, throughout the years.

This exhibit runs Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. 'til 4:00 p.m.

Free Admission


Clara Drinkwater Newnam Library
105 East Marshall Street

Fish Fry (and Motorcycle Show)

A scrumptious fish fry with all the trimmings is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.

Reservations are required for groups and bus tours.

As an added bonus this year a Motorcycle Show will be on the high school parking lot!


Student Commons
Charleston High School
606 South Thorn Street

Charleston's Beautiful Historic Homes

There are more than 200 historic homes in Charleston. They are surrounded by 50 year old dogwoods, azaleas and older oaks, maples, pecans, and walnuts that form a canopy over the streets.

Warren E. Hearnes Museum

View items and memorabilia from Charleston's native son Missouri Governor Warren E. Hearnes' 22 year tenure in elected office Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. 'til Noon.

Free Admission


109 S. Main St.
Charleston, MO 63834

Joseph Hunter Moore Home (Mississippi County Historical Society Museum)

Built in 1899, the Historical Society's Moore Home is a lovely three story home furnished with pieces authentic to the period. In 1977 the generous heirs of Joe and Carrie Moore gifted this beautiful Victorian country home to the benefit of the Society. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the seventeen room house contains seven fireplaces, and is fully furnished including the original dining room furniture and gas chandelier.

Tours are available Thursday and Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Admission: $4.00

Picnic on the Porch

Enjoy a box lunch during the Dogwood-Azalea Festival while seated at your table on the sweeping front porch or the colorful grounds of this unique home.

The Society will serve lunch Thursday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Lunch: $8.00

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Visitors Center

The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Visitors Center is located at Whipple Park in Charleston. This site features a black granite map, flags, and large mural paintings based on Meriwether Lewis' journal while camped at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1803.

Lewis and Clark set their feet on Missouri soil for the first time at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in what is now Mississippi County, Missouri, on November 16, 1803. The captains encountered the Bird's Point American settlement, and also found "som Shawnees and Delewars incamped." One of the Shawnees, "a respectable looking Indian," offered to purchase Lewis's dog, Seaman, without success, for "three beverskins."

Today, visitors on the Missouri side enjoy a dramatic view of the meeting of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. There the Missouri Department of Natural Resources maintains a Lewis and Clark informational kiosk on the high bank of the river beneath the bridge carrying U. S. Highways 60/62 over the Mississippi. The site is accessible by motor car during dry weather.

Dorena-Hickman Toll Ferry

The Dorena-Hickman Toll Ferry is one of the few remaining riverboat ferries in the United States, and is the only operating ferry crossing the Mississippi River between Missouri and Kentucky. Ride the Dorena-Hickman Toll Ferry and take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of the mighty Mississippi and America's Heartland, an area rich in heritage and natural beauty.