Journey 141: Third Thursday Fun


Tonight was my first time downtown this year, for the event called Third Thursday. Main Street closes to traffic, from A Street to 7th, and people take to the streets instead, visiting booths, participating in a variety of fun activities, sampling an assortment of foods. It’s a great time of strolling and connecting with people. 

This evening Greg, Linda and I joined the throngs of people, enjoying the sunshine and seizing the opportunity to be outdoors on such a gorgeous day. This is the perfect time to catch up with friends, as we meet on the street, and chat with total strangers. We three did both! When an older man joined Linda and me on a bench she engaged him in conversation and found out he was a photographer, who snapped pictures for the enjoyment of it. 


I got to experience a first downtown. We stopped by a small but popular hamburger restaurant, called Whistler’s, offering old fashion burgers, a bag of chips and a drink for $3.50. I’ve not eaten here before. 

Tonight  they were set up on the sidewalk, taking orders and calling out your name when your burger was ready. People stood in groups, chatting and laughing together, waiting for their food. The burgers were great! And what a great deal, price wise. 


There is always much to see during Third Thursday! The stores and restaurants on Main Street stay open late and often have product displayed or offer food and seating outdoors. There are blocks of activities for kids, dancing and acrobatics in the street, and a whole section set up with stages for various singers, musicians and performers.

We saw medieval knights engaging in sword fights, ladies with outrageous hair dos promoting a show, a Star Wars storm trooper, and masked men handing out fliers for short films being judged tonight. This is a family friendly event, as evidenced by parents pushing strollers and the number of children in line for balloon animals. It’s pet friendly too, with many walkers accompanied by a dog on a leash. 

I love Third Thursdays! What a great way to get in a walk, see new sights, connect with friends, invest in Joplin.  The best part is, we have five more such opportunities this year. I’ll see you downtown! 


Day 261: Zumba in the Street

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Tonight was Third Thursday. I always enjoy milling around downtown, chatting with people, checking out booths and art, and listening to music. The Joplin Y took over the corner of 3rd & Main Streets this evening and cranked up the Latin music. For my first today, I joined in with other enthusiastic dancers and did Zumba in the street.

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Dave takes the stage

It was a busy day with several unexpected twists and turns, work wise, that kept me on the phone or in the car for a good part of the day. I did get to enjoy the company of granddaughter Aubrey for a short time. After dropping her off at home, I met my mom and sister downtown to watch other groups perform Zumba and wait for my instructor, Dave, to take the stage.

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The Y had 8 of their instructors downtown, putting willing participants through a variety of moves, much to the enjoyment of the crowd gathered to watch. When Dave’s turn to lead the dances arrived, Mom and I joined in, front and center. There was at least one other woman from my class present. I arrived downtown straight from Carthage, so I didn’t exactly have on Zumba clothes, but I had a great time. Dave shines as an instructor. Fun and very expressive, he had the dancers moving, clapping and whooping in no time. My sister held our stuff and snapped pics while Mom and I danced through four routines. I’m very proud of my mom, who faithfully attends class three times a week and showed up tonight ready to give it her all. She has rheumatoid arthritis, but you’d not know that from her energy and ability. She inspires me to keep going as well!

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There’s my mom, two down from me dressed in black. Go Mom!

We finished with the Chicken Dance, which is a high energy routine, even though it isn’t one of our usual numbers. I unfortunately pulled my Achilles tendon on my right heel having a blast on that one and have my foot soaking in warm water with Epsom Salts. I’ve aggravated this heel before and I know it will be fine shortly. It didn’t help when I added insult to injury and stumbled over a parking curb in the dark, walking to the car!

I am grateful to Dave for his patience with the Zumba Gold class, and for his playful sense of humor. And I am thankful for this excellent form of exercise. It is not only fun, it is good for me, on so many levels. I’ve just got to beware that Chicken Dance!

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Great finish, Dave!

Day 198: Meet Artist Alice Lynn Greenwood

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Tonight was July’s Third Thursday, in downtown Joplin. The light rain falling didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the people walking about, participating in this fun event. I was delighted to see a good turnout, undeterred by the weather. I always enjoy Thirds Thursdays, however tonight, I had a very specific purpose in mind as I strolled down Main Street. Artist Alice Lynn Greenwood had an exhibit set up at the Post Memorial Art Reference Library and was present at another exhibit located at RSVPaint. I had been looking forward to meeting her. For my first today, I had the opportunity to do so.

Born in Little Rock, AR, Alice Lynn earned her art degree from Hendrix College. She moved to New York, with her two children and two cats, to study at the General Theological Seminary and the Art Students League. After her children grew up and left the nest, she returned to AR to care for her aging parents. She remained in AR for 10 years, creating a studio and a life, gardening and painting, active in her community, grateful for the many changes in her life that had guided her. Alice Lynn’s journey most recently brought her to Carthage, MO, where she has set up a studio in an artist cottage beside historic Route 66.

Alice Lynn is an artist with an amazing eye for beauty and something somewhat unusual for an artist….a strong love of language and words. Her passions combine to create imaginative, bold works of art that enchant the viewer. I first encountered Alice Lynn’s work through a Joplin Globe article featuring her art and highlighting one of her exhibits downtown. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the show. A couple of months later, while eating lunch at Cooper’s, I admired the beautiful paintings hanging on one wall. I was particularly captivated by one that used vibrant, fall colors and contained the words, “Let the beauty of what you do be what you love.” Greg surprised me and bought the painting for me.

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At home, I looked up the artist online, and realized this was the same gifted woman whose exhibit I had missed. I love how opportunities have a way of coming to us again. I friended Alice Lynn on Facebook. When I posted a blog link and a picture of my vintage suitcase vignette, featuring the art piece I had picked up downtown, Alice Lynn recognized her work and commented. We have enjoyed following each other’s journeys since, via Facebook.

It was a privilege and a joy to meet Alice Lynn Greenwood this evening and chat for a few minutes about her art, our journeys and life. She graciously allowed a picture to be taken of the two of us, and wrote a lovely inscription in her recently published book, “The Beauty of Change”, which I purchased at the exhibit. Alice Lynn not only captures beauty in her artwork, she embodies it. Her book furthers her love of words and art and is an invitation to travel with her through her journey of changes. I accept that invitation and I look forward to Alice Lynn’s continuing journey, captured so brilliantly through her art.

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Visit Alice Lynn’s Facebook page


Day 170: Furballs Launch Party


Third Thursdays are always fun. Thousands of people wander about in downtown Joplin, between 7th and A Streets on Main. Vendors, performers, artists and organizations are set up along Main and in storefronts. It’s a great time to connect with friends and meet new people. It’s a very festive atmosphere, which is perfect for a Launch Party!

Today, for my first, I attended the launch party for Furballs, a new game app. A year in the making, Furballs is the baby of creator Les Olsen. His company, Wise App Inc., is located in downtown Joplin along with his other company, Sidecars Inc. Les embodies entrepreneurial spirit and creative energy. His vision was to create a modern day Duck Hunt with cute little woodland characters who inflate themselves with an air compressor and float around the screen. The player shoots them to deflate them, knocking off their fur and sending them to the ground. There are multiple levels, that increase in difficulty as the player progresses, making this a game that appeals to all ages.

After sharing the idea with colleagues and friends, Les says, “I knew by how excited everyone was that this was a good idea and from there, it was a matter of finding out HOW to get this done.” Thus began a long and not always easy journey of bringing his vision to reality. Using a post production team from Bulgaria and a support team of collaborators here, the project evolved from an idea to character development to storyline to the app that released today.

I downloaded the game app, from the iTunes store, before attending the party this evening. I confess that I enjoy playing games on my iPhone. It is my guilty pleasure and after a long day of work and play, it is a way for me to unwind. I’ve played Angry Birds and a variety of arcade style games. I still play Candy Crush. So I am not a game novice. Furballs is a FUN game. I played for 40 minutes before needing to leave the house and I laughed and learned and progressed. The graphics are amazing, the music catchy without being annoying, and the game easy to figure out as I moved along. I love the movie quotes that the main character, Beemer, shares after each round of play. And I laughed the most when, after a poor round on my part, Beemer came out and shook his head, saying “No, no, no….”.


This app is available now for iPad and iPhone and will be available for other platforms soon. At a price of $2.99 this game joins a movement against in-app purchases. There is an option to purchase coins for those who want to take a shortcut, but it isn’t necessary to progress in the game.

My daughter, Elissa, works for this amazing company. I’m looking forward to spending a day with her at work soon and learning more about this product and other upcoming adventures. I’m excited about this game, not just because it is so fun to play, but because it is inspiring to witness a dream come true.


Learn more about Furballs below:

Day 135: Origin of Painting for Jose


My first for today was so interesting and moving. Artist Marianne Evans-Lombe, currently from Tulsa, OK, brought her unique performance art to Joplin, in connection with Third Thursday. I had read about this upcoming event, which has a special connection to Joplin, and made sure I was there to witness it. Linda accompanied me, and we not only enjoyed watching the performance, we participated.

Marianne creates drawings called body drawings. Light and shadow are important elements of her art and she uses these elements to tell a story. Origin of Painting is the tale of the Greek Maiden, Dibutade, who traces her lover’s shadow, cast upon the wall before he departs,  thus creating the first drawing. During the performance, members of the audience participate by having their shadows traced as well, contributing to the story being told. Marianne has performed this show many times, including a 2009 production in Pittsburg, KS, in which Jose Alvarez, of Joplin, participated.


After the May 22, 2011 tornado struck Joplin, Marianne learned that Jose, who was a professor at Missouri Southern State University, had died during the storm. She realized she had a photo of Jose and his shadow drawing. Using that image, she created a life sized silhouette of Jose.

This evening, as dusk approached, a fire was lit in a portable fire pit, and Jose’s silhouette was attached to a large brick wall near Main and 3rd Streets. As Marianne traced around his paper silhouette with chalk, the story of Dibutade was read by another woman. The artist then handed the chalk to another person and posed in front of the wall, her hand stretching out to touch Jose’s paper hand. As her outline was finished, Marianne stepped away and the man who traced around her shadow then struck a pose and another member of the audience stepped forward to trace around him. As each person completed the tracing, he or she then posed quietly, hand reaching out to touch the outlined hand of the previous person. Down the wall, the silhouettes progressed, person after person stepping forward to first trace another’s shadow and then be traced as well.


Linda and I each took our turn in the production, tracing and being traced. Darkness fell and a man graciously continued to hold a flood light so that the shadows were cast starkly against the brick wall. Some of the younger participants were very creative in their poses. One young man did a handstand. Another wore a jaunty hat. Still another balanced a ball on his palm. Live music provided a soft and gentle background for the performance being carried out before us.

As the last silhouette was traced onto the wall, we all picked up pieces of colored chalk and drew in and around our outlines. I drew a large green heart within my silhouette and added symbols from my last three years: a butterfly, a dragonfly and a bird. Linda also drew a heart and wrote the word JOPLIN within her silhouette. We were both so glad we attended this very special performance and stepped forward to participate as well.

I will return tomorrow, in daylight, to take a picture of the long line of silhouettes moving down the wall. Jose’s white paper figure stands at the head of the line, a beautiful silent reminder of a life loved and lived here in Joplin.


Day 79: Visit New Businesses During Third Thursday


Today’s first took place during the kick off of Downtown Joplin’s wildly popular event, Third Thursday. Held each year, from March until October, on the third Thursday of the month (hence the name), this event is located from 7th Street to A Street on Main Street. Roads are blocked off, stores and restaurants stay open late and vendors, performers, musicians and artists line the streets and inhabit storefronts for the evening. Thousands of people stroll up and down Main and spill over onto neighboring avenues, viewing art, listening to a variety of music and catching up with friends.

The first day of spring was perfect, weather wise, and people turned out in huge numbers for the first Third Thursday of the year. Greg, sister Linda and I were some of those people! I’ve attended many Third Thursdays so that couldn’t be my first today. Therefore, I made a point of visiting a couple of businesses that I’ve not been to before.

Blue Moon Market, located at 613 S Main, features clothing, jewelry, accessories and distinctive home furnishings. My sister and I LOVED this store. I believe they have been open for a little while, but I had not made it by yet. What a lovely and eclectic mix of product. Linda and I just missed the hippie era, but we love the look of smocked oversized tops and loose comfy pants. Perfect yoga clothes are available here! Vintage items and jewelry caught our eyes as did painted signs and banners. There were even old doors for sale at the back of the shop. They truly do have a little bit of everything here. The store was very crowded with ladies ooohing and aaaahing over the merchandise so we intend to visit again very soon and shop.

The second business I visited during Third Thursday was RSVPaint, located at 420 S Main. Tonight was the Open House for this new venture in Joplin. Originating from Springfield, MO, where they have been very successful, RSVPaint offers a place to relax, sip, visit and paint. Classes are offered Thursday – Saturday in the evenings. In two hours, you can create a work of art to take home. It was fun to look at the sample pieces and classes offered. We passed this evening on the wine, that’s the sip part, but we did sign up for a class next week! It will be a great experience that we can share, and of course, a first for me.

What a great evening of strolling, looking, chatting with friends and listening to music. To my surprise and delight, there was even a young man, splendid looking in his kilt, playing the bagpipes. Now that’s not something you hear and see every day in Joplin! I’m glad I caught his performance. I look forward to the next Third Thursday, and the new adventures awaiting me there.