Artsfest draws crowds on sunny weekend in Springfield (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

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Artsfest returns to downtown Springfield for its 44th year, transforming Walnut Street into a dreamscape for art lovers of all ages.

The annual festival returns May 4-5 and expects to have more than 120 vendors and more than 30,000 attendees from across the country. This year’s theme is “Creativity Unleashed.”

Events run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are available at the entrances for $5. Admission is free for kids ages 5 and under.

Proceeds from festival admissions benefit the Springfield Regional Arts Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “transforming lives through the arts.” Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street also supports the Downtown Springfield Association, a community development organization focused on enhancing the downtown experience.

Art of all sorts

Artsfest draws crowds on sunny weekend in Springfield (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Whatever you might be into in the way of art, from fine art to pop art and everything in between, is probably on display somewhere on Walnut Street. The mediums represented include paints, fibers, printmaking, clay, glass, jewelry, wood, metal and mixed media.

Several nonprofit organizations and arts-supporting businesses will have booths where patrons can learn more about supporting the arts in Springfield.

This isn’t just museum-style viewing. Much of the art you’ll see on display at Artsfest is for sale. The best way to support your favorite artist is by buying a piece of their work, and there will be ample opportunity to spruce up your space with some new art.

Live entertainment on three stages

A five-member band performs onstage
Springfield-based band Toxic Teeth regularly plays the Queen City Shout music festival. The band is part of the lineup for Artsfest 2024 in downtown Springfield. (Photo by Mark Odom)

Artsfest has three stages for live entertainment, so if the act on one stage isn’t for you, walk down the street and see who else is playing.

On Saturday, you can see a cornucopia of Springfield favorites like Shaun Munday, Drifters Mile and the Paper Moons. You can also catch the bluesy, jazzy and sometimes improvisational tuba sounds of Ralph Hepola and HepTones.

If Corporate America designed a website for a band, it would be the website for alternative rock band Toxic Teeth. The band’s “synergistic strategies” and “forward thinking by keeping current with emerging trends using statistical market research” had us laughing so hard we simply must see and hear more.

Saturday’s lineup concludes with Eddie Gumucio and the Electrics, a group certain to take deep dive exploration of indie and alternative rock, as Eddie says on his radio show, “from the pre-familiar to the post-obscure.”

Sunday’s lineup has some instrument-based acts, like the Island Breeze Steel Band (steel drums) and Uke 66 (ukuleles), plus the refreshing sound of the Wandering Found and Brother Ray and the Sometimes Righteous, a bluesy-rock band with a sound that’s been taken on a walk in the country.

Check out the full Saturday entertainment lineup here, and the Sunday entertainment lineup here.

Collaboration means ‘inclusivity like never before’

For the first time in its history, ArtsFest will be fully accessible to all attendees — the result of a collaborative effort to help every member of the community participate in Springfield’s celebration of art and culture.

Greene County has a property tax that supports Abilities First, a grant program dedicated to providing services and resources for people with developmental disabilities. Greene County’s development disability resource board worked with the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the Downtown Springfield Association, and with the Arc of the Ozarks to make ArtsFest more accessible to persons of all abilities.

About half of the booths will be fully accessible, accessible parking spaces and restrooms will be clearly marked and spaced throughout the festival, and accessibility volunteers will be on hand to assist any patron who might need support.

“While this may seem insignificant to some, it's often the first steps that are the most challenging to take,” Abilities First Director of Community Education Christopher Upton said. “This initial step towards improved inclusion demonstrates our region's dedication to fostering a better environment for all who live here. I couldn't be prouder of the individuals working tirelessly to make this a reality.”

Food and drink options galore

Artsfest draws crowds on sunny weekend in Springfield (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

More than 20 food and beverage vendors will be on hand for Artsfest. There will be beer from Heart of America and soft drinks from Ozarks Coca-Cola for sale, but let’s get into the eats:

Down South Fried Fish Co., Lae’s Egg Rolls, the Almighty Sando Shop, Xurro Handcrafted Spanish Donuts, Cellar + Plate, Crosstown BBQ, Greek Belly and Jamaican Patty Co. are but a few of the food vendors confirmed for the festival.

Want to go?

What: Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street

When: May 4-5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days

Where: Along Walnut Street from John Q. Hammons Parkway to National Avenue

Tickets: $5, with children ages 5 and under free. You can purchase tickets at the gate.

For more information: Visit the Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street website, find Artsfest on Facebook or download the event brochure.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 17 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger