Benton County offers events throughout the year to gather the whole community! Bring the whole family and your friends out to any event for a day full of fun. Whether you want to celebrate Oktoberfest or attend a Second Saturday open market, we hope you will join us and enjoy all that Benton County has to offer!

Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Festival

August 3 & 4, 2019

2017 was the first annual Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival and it was a huge hit!  So much so that the American Blues Scenerated this festival the #4 of the Top Five Blues Festivals in Missouri!  2018 was even bigger and better!

This two-day family-friendly event will feature nationally-recognized musicians playing their hand-made instruments featuring all different genres of music!  The music festival is located overlooking beautiful Lake of the Ozarks at the Drake Harbor outdoor amphitheater and will be held Saturday, August 3rd 1-8pm and Sunday, August 4th 11am-5pm (times subject to change).

Artists and musicians feature their homemade cigar box guitars, which are made of recyclable materials.  As the name implies, the body is made of an empty cigar box.  The head and neck can be made out of anything from broom handles to wooden slates or sticks and the actual body out of bedpans, skillets and anything in between.  These cigar box guitars will be showcased for sale during the event.  The musicians sell their creations starting at $50 and go up to around $500 on average.

International touring artists, nationally-recognized and amateur musicians will be playing live bluegrass, rock, country and blues music using their handmade cigar box guitars.  Food and merchandise vendors will contribute to the festivities and there will be a Beer Garden and KCBS sanctioned Back Yard BBQ Competition and Tasting Contest.

Ryan Mackey, owner of Moonshine Designs has been making the cigar box guitars for many years and sells them online.  “You create this unique masterpiece with your own two hands”, Mackey says.  Mackey is also the organizer of this event and says “bring your family, friends, lawn chairs and tents and join us for one of the best music festivals in the Ozarks”.  He anticipates the attendance around 1500 people for their second year due to the following of the Cigar Box Guitar enthusiasts and live music.

We’ve will have a smokin’ hot line-up this year, which will be announced once the schedule is finalized.

Come hungry, thirsty and ready to listen to LIVE MUSIC and be sure to bring your pop-up tent and lawn chairs because this is an open-air music festival!

For more information, please contact Lynette at 660-438-2090 or Ryan at 660-233-1671. Or visit the Facebook page.

Smokin’ on the Harbor Barbecue Competition

Benton County Tourism & Recreation and the City of Warsaw are proud to bring you the second annual Smokin’ on the Harbor Back Yard KCBS Sanctioned BBQ Competition August 2-3, 2018 (two-day) at Drake Harbor, Warsaw!  This competition is being held in conjunction with the 3rd annual Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival (8/3-8/4).

Three categories:  chicken, pork ribs and beef brisket
Estimated cash prizes: *Prizes subject to change no less than 90 days before the competition

1st place:  $150 each team for 3 categories

2nd place: $125 each team for 3 categories

3rd place:  $75 each team for 3 categories

4th place:  $50 each team for 3 categories
5th place:  $25 each team for 3 categories
Dessert:  1st ($75), 2nd ($50) and 3rd ($25)

Grand Champion:  $400

Reserve Grand Champion:  $200

Entry fee per team:  $100 standard entry fee with $20 entry fee for dessert
Space size:  20×20 plus $25 electricity *Limited Spaces available
If you have a generator, it will need to be a Honda or similar model that is quiet

Please complete the entry form here to be in the competition and mail to BCTR, PO Box 1245, Warsaw, MO  65355 or email lstokesvisitbentoncomo.com.

There will be three categories for chicken, pork ribs and beef brisket

Check-in times: 3-7pm on 8/2 (Friday) or 7-8am 8/3 (Saturday)
Meat inspections: begin as you arrive
Cook meeting: 8:30 AM 8/3

Turn-in times:  8/3 12 PM for chicken, 12:30 PM for ribs and 1 PM for beef brisket
Dessert turn-in time:  8/3 1:30pm

Award time:  8/3 2:30 PM

Note:  All meat can be trimmed prior to meat inspection.  The meat cannot be seasoned or injected prior to meat inspection.  Meat can only be cooked with charcoal or wood.  NOTE:  ONCE YOUR MEAT HAS BEEN INSPECTED IT CANNOT LEAVE THE SITE SO IF YOU’RE STAYING SOMEWHERE OFF-SITE FRIDAY NIGHT THEN THE MEAT MUST REMAIN IN YOUR BOOTH.  Once your meat is inspected, it is at your discretion when you can begin cooking.

Above times are subject to change at the organizer’s discretion with notice sent to all teams.  *Subject to change 60 days prior to competition with notice sent to all teams.

People’s Choice Contest:

We are looking into offering a People’s Choice Tasting Contest on Saturday from 3 – 6 PM if you would like to participate in this contest (either in addition to the Backyard BBQ Competition or just the People’s Choice contest), please email for more information.  Meat used must be purchased ahead of time or at a local grocery store. The goal is to sell 100 tickets for a 2 oz sample per person and prizes awarded for 1st – 5th at end of the contest at 6:30 PM.  More guidelines on the People’s Choice Contest can be found here.

Dessert Contest Rules:
1.  KCBS clamshell box is not required but will be provided to entered teams.  Teams will need to provide their own platter, tray, bowl, etc. to turn in their entries if they choose not to use the clamshell box.  Teams must also ensure that their team number (same as on clamshell boxes) appears somewhere on their dessert entry in a visible location.

2.  Entry trays, etc. used by teams to turn in dessert entries must comply with the recommendations by KCBS in that the trays, etc. will be no larger than 18 inches by 24 inches and the entire dessert entry must be no taller than 18 inches.

3.  It is not necessary for desserts to be cooked on-site.  We realize those without motorhomes with ovens may be at a disadvantage if we did require cooking on site.

4.  There are no garnish or KCBS rules that are applicable other than size limitations of the entry.

5.  There will be no store-bought desserts entered.  Components of the desserts may be storebought but no the entire dessert.

6.  It is NOT our goal to squelch creativity and fun in the dessert category.  Have fun, be creative but abide by the limited rules we have, please.

Dessert turn-in will be at 1:30 PM on Saturday afternoon.

Teams must pick up their dessert entry trays at the judging area between 2:30 PM – 4 PM on Saturday.  Entry trays not picked up by the teams will be discarded if not claimed.

Pay entry fee here or mail a check payable to Benton County Tourism & Recreation, PO Box 1245, Warsaw MO  65355.  Deadline to register for Backyard BBQ will be on or before July 26, 2019, and the deadline to register for the People’s Choice Contest will be on or before June 1, 2019 (to pre-sell tickets).

For more information on this event, please contact Lynette at 660-438-2090 or lstokes@visitbentoncomo.com. You can also visit the Facebook page.

Entry fee is non-refundable and the event will be rain or shine.  Ice will be available to participants at $1 per bag.

Warsaw Second Saturdays Open Market

August 10, 2019
Location: Main and Van Buren Street
Time: 8 AM – 2 PM

This event includes vendors of all kinds. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

October

Heritage Days

Date: Oct. 19th & 20th
This two-day festival hosted by the Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce is a two-day festival celebrating and honoring both the historical and modern-day crafts of our Missouri pioneers. Step back in time….see craft demonstrations from the 1800s at the Visitor Center while downtown’s Drake Harbor features modern-day crafts in large tents. Bus connections to and from Drake Harbor to the Visitor Center is available.
For more information or call the Chamber at 660-438-5922, or visit the Facebook page.

Kaysinger Pioneer Heritage Days

Date: Oct. 19th & 20th
Harry S Truman Visitor Center / Pioneer Village
29027 Visitor Center Rd
Warsaw, Missouri
https://m.me/PioneerHeritageDays​
Check Facebook for updates.

Kaysinger Bluff Pioneer Heritage Days (KBPHA) is an all-volunteer organization promoting the history of the Ozarks highland region.  We are also a 501 c3 non-profit organization.  KBPHA is the group that hosts Pioneer Heritage Days at the Harry S. Truman Visitors Center which we work in conjunction with the US Corp of Engineers to accomplish.

KBPHA has a little over 100 unique pioneer crafts.  We have quilters, spinners, weavers, lye soap making, log hewing, operating sorghum mill, grist mill and too many to mention! A few even travel from out of state to exhibit during Pioneer Heritage Days.  KBPHA has an original 1857 log cabin that used to set on the Butterfield Stagecoach route.  We have a reconstructed Ed Elmore cabin complex with a barn and an operating smokehouse during the events.  A general store with locally produced crafts.  Our original one-room Concord Schoolhouse from Quincy Mo built for the third time in 1899 after a fire destroyed the building on two separate events when it was a log structure.  We have the Hooper House, circa 1900 that was moved to the visitors center before the Truman Lake was flooded in the ’70s.

KBPHA’s Pioneer Heritage Days have an attendance rate averaging 7000.  Due to the influx of people for the two days vehicles are parked below Truman Dam at the East Bledsoe Ferry Park.  From there a wristband is purchased, $7 for adults, $4 for ages 6-12 and free for 5 and under.  This wristband is good for both days and takes you to Pioneer Heritage Days at the Truman Visitors Center and Drake Harbor for the modern crafts ran by the Chamber. We also sell wristbands at Drake Harbor to ride the bus.

I want to emphasize riding the bus is not free and we don’t allow pets at Pioneer Heritage Days due to the buses.  It is an issue every year for us as people have brought parrots, monkeys, pigs and goats in the past to ride the bus, to name a few.

$7 for adults, $4 6-12, and free for age 5 and under.

November

Warsaw Holiday Market

Date: Nov. 16, 2019
9am-3pm
Warsaw Holiday Market
Community Center

There will be various crafts, artwork, designs, and ideas to help you enjoy your holiday.  After shopping in the Community Center, take a trip down Main Street and visit the unique shops in Warsaw.  Many will have snacks, drawings, and special sale items.

For more information, contact Martha at Bill’s Repurpose 816-807-1496, billsrepurpose@gmail.com

Check Facebook for updates.

December

Kaysinger Christmas

Date: Dec 6th & 7th.
Kaysinger Bluff Pioneer Village
29027 Visitor Center Rd. Warsaw, MO. 65355
Presented by Kaysinger Bluff Pioneer Heritage Assn

Come join us for an 1800s Christmas Celebration
Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of days gone by. Enjoy hay wagons, singing of carols, fireplaces, wood stoves, candles, luminaries, buildings decked out in old-fashioned décor, hot chocolate, and hot cider! Find that unique gift at the Kaysinger General Store.
We will be serving food at the Food Barn.

Adults $____

Children 6-12, $_____
Under 5 free

Wristbands good for both days!

For more information, visit the Facebook page.

CHRISTMAS AT THE HARBOR           

Date:  Dec 13th & 14th

  • Chili/soup dinner
    Christmas Trees Charity Contest
  • Christmas Parade
  • Breakfast with Santa
  • The Grinch
  • Candy Cane Hunt
  • Hayrides
  • Thousands of lights and displays throughout the harbor and downtown Warsaw

Stay tuned for more information on times and details.

Butterfield 60