Recreation Programs & Community Events

Joplin Parks & Recreation is dedicated to providing programs that offer participants opportunities for social engagement. Our Recreation Division is responsible for planning and implementing a wide range of recreational, athletic, and cultural activities and events within the community. We encourage everyone to make recreation a part of their everyday life! 

We offer programs year-round at various locations throughout the city. Please visit the Department's Facebook events page or the online registration system for the most up-to-date program offerings.


Pre-registration for programs is generally required. Exceptions are made for some community events. To register for a program, visit our online registration system, call us at 417-625-4750, or stop by our office at 3301 W. 1st Street, Joplin.

We are constantly looking for new ideas for classes that the community would like to see offered. Please email us at [email protected] if you have a suggestion for a class or program you would like to see offered!

Fourth of July 2016 1

Joplin's 2023 Independence Day Celebration 

The 2023 Joplin Independence Day Celebration will kick off on Tuesday, July 4th at 5:30 p.m. at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, located on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.
This spectacular event will feature live music by The Mixtapes, food trucks and fireworks.
Schedule of Events:
• 5:30pm: Event Kick Off: Food Trucks Open
• 7:00pm: Stadium Opens to Visitors
• 7:30pm: Live Music by The Mixtapes
• 9:45pm: Fireworks Show (approximate show time is 20 minutes)
The show will be set to music, which visitors can tune into 88.7 KXMS to experience.
The football stadium is a NCAA regulation field and no one will be allowed on the football turf. Seating is available in the stadium and along the grass around the field.
Items allowed inside the stadium:          What NOT to bring:
• Water • Personal Fireworks
• Food • Alcohol
• Seat Cushions • Grills
• Folding Chairs • Pets (service animals allowed)
• Blankets • Tobacco
• Strollers
Plenty of parking will be available throughout the campus. A festivities map will be posted closer to the event as well as a list of expected vendors.
For more information about this year's celebration visit
Line Dancing

Line Dancing with Joy Kennedy

Line dancing is a great low impact way to have fun and keep fit. Using a variety of music styles, beginners can learn the basics and progress to become more experienced dancers. 

No partner needed, and new beginners are always welcome. 

Fall Session: Monday's, September 18 - October 23

  • Introductory class at 6:00pm and Regular class at 6:30pm. 
  • $5.00 per class, or $8.00 for both classes, paid at the door. 
  • For ages 16 & up.

For more details, contact 417-625-4750

Old Fashioned Hayride 2023
Letters to Santa 2023

Old Fashioned Hayride - October 20, 2023

This FREE event will be held at McClelland Park, located at 44th and McClelland Boulevard.

The event will feature many traditional family-friendly activities:

  • Family-friendly hayride
  • Hotdogs
  • S’mores
  • Yard Games
  • Bonfires
  • Hot Chocolate

New for 2023

  • Scary Hayride 
  • Hay Bale Trail
  • Bounce Houses from We Be Bouncin’ (Additional Fee)
  • DJ
  • Food Trucks

We will be handing over 1,000 hotdogs and s'mores to cook over the bonfires scattered around the park. These are first-come, first-serve to the event attendees. We'll have some roasting sticks available, but feel free to bring your sticks from home!

Hot cocoa will be provided to event guests while supplies last.

New for 2023, The Hay Bale Trail!

Be a part of Joplin's newest fall tradition the Hay Bale Trail experience at McClelland Park and help give the park for some fall fun! This is a unique opportunity for area businesses, organizations, and groups to do some team building, highlight their mission and services and bring extra fun into the park! Hay bales can have a theme, tie to the sponsor's mission, or be whatever you want to create! Park guests will have a chance to vote for their favorite hay bale from October 20-31. All you will need is a team, some paint, and a little creativity! The event will run from October 20 through October 31 and is free for the public to attend. Only 10 hay bales are available! The cost to reserve one is $25. An assigned hay bale will be provided.

Hay Bale Trail Sponsor Guide

For more information, please call Joplin Parks & Recreation at 417-625-4750.

2023 Letters to Santa Campaign

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s time for children to begin writing their letters to Santa! Joplin Parks and Recreation is proud to offer the “Letters to Santa” campaign again this year.
Children are invited to write a letter to Santa and drop it in Santa’s Mailbox at the Joplin Parks and Recreation offices at 3301 W. 1st Street or at Academy Sports & Outdoors, located at 1717 S. Range Line Road. An after-hours mailbox is also available at the Department's office.
Santa’s Mailbox will be available from November 15th – December 8th. Letters must include the child's first and last name, a return mailing address, and a few details about the child (school if attending, brothers or sisters, pets, friends, and a wish list).
The letters will be delivered to the North Pole and Santa will write back a personalized letter to each child who sends him a letter.
Please address letters to:
Santa’s Workshop
9 Reindeer Road
North Pole
If a response letter hasn't been received by mid-December, you can call our office (417-625-4750) to confirm the letter was received and was sent to Santa for a response. If we are notified after Christmas that Santa's letter wasn't received, we're able to contact him and he will write to a kiddo who was somehow missed.