47. PARTY IN THE STREET
There are two weekends every year when you know you won’t be able to drive down Historic Walnut Street in Springfield. During Artsfest in May and Cider Days in September, that road is reserved for foot traffic only as thousands of people gather under the trees and beside the beautiful late-19th Century homes to peruse booths full of juried art. Among the pottery, paintings and crafts, you can mingle with pups on leashes, exuberant kids and art-savvy grown-ups who are all taking in live music and tasty food. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities at both of these events, too. It’s a fun-for-the-whole-family chance to get out and enjoy the start of summer or the first days of a 417-land fall. Learn more about the festivals at springfieldartsfest.org and ciderdaysonwalnut.com.
48. PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS AT A SPRINGFIELD CARDINALS GAME
We have to admit, this is a pretty elite club. It’s not every Springfield Cardinals fan who gets to go on the field and take part in that most sacred and solemn of baseball pastimes: musical chairs. The competition is fierce. The music is loud. The chairs are inflatable. As far as on-field promotions go, this one is a favorite. And if you’re able to enter the laurels of musical chairs history at Hammons Field, you should consider yourself fully initiated.
49. BECOME A PENSMORE CONSPIRACY THEORIST
In the Highlandville countryside sits one of the biggest homes in the United States with a whopping 72,000 square feet of sprawling space. It has been called Pensmore Mansion, Chateau Pensmore and Pensmore Castle, but the name isn’t as interesting as the conspiracy theories that have popped up around it. Is Steven Huff’s disaster-resistant estate a laboratory for sustainable building materials? Or is it an Armageddon stronghold for the Illuminati? The world may never know.
50. NIBBLE PIZZA AND HOPE FOR A BRAD PITT SIGHTING
Any 417-lander worth their salt knows that Inglourious Basterds star Brad Pitt is a native of Springfield and a Kickapoo High School graduate. And almost as well known is his apparent love for Arris’ Pizza (1332 E. Republic Road, Suite J, Springfield, 417-881-7260). Whenever the city gets wind that the actor is in the area for a visit, locals in the know set their sights on that little Greek-ish pizza joint on Republic Road. He has popped in for meals on more than one occasion, so it might be your best bet to catch a glimpse of that brooding mug. But if you miss him, don’t worry. All is not lost. Just order up a gyro sandwich or a pizza topped with Greek sausage and feta to sooth your soul after that crushing disappointment.