Downtown Springfield Association
A crowd watches a movie at Founders Park in Downtown Springfield
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Founders Park is the place to be for free fun in June and July

June 06, 2019

Tucked away on Water Street, between Jefferson and Boonville, is Founders Park. The average Downtown Springfield visitor might not even see it. But during June and July it becomes a hot spot of activity in the heart of the Queen City.

The Wednesday Concerts at Noon bring a lunchtime crowd in May and June. A free movie series provides weekend fun for families in June and July. Never been to either of those events? Want to go? Here’s what you need to know.

About Founders Park

The 0.7-acre parcel of land, at the corner of Jefferson and Water, has served as many things in its history. It’s been a stone quarry, a blacksmith shop, the Herman-Sanford Horse Collar Factory, the Sisby Stove and Hardware Company, a lumberyard and a railroad right of way. The site is not far from where, in 1829, John Polk Campbell staked his claim to homestead what soon became Springfield by marking trees near a spring.

But now it’s an urban park, designed to resemble this historic Phenix Quarry, near Willard. Founders Park includes a historical timeline, an upland woods area and an area for native prairie grasses which existed on the nearby Kickapoo Prairie.

There’s also a 250-seat amphitheater with an 18-by-30-foot stage. It’s wired for sound and light equipment. The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Downtown Community Improvement District put it to good use.

Wednesday Concerts at Noon at Founders Park

This free series is sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. It takes place every Wednesday in May and June from 12:15-12:45 p.m. (weather permitting). You can bring your lunch and enjoy the show from the amphitheater. The CID provides some chairs and umbrellas, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring your own chair or blanket, just in case.

There are still three shows left in this year’s Wednesday Concerts at Noon at Founders Park. They’re all of the “can’t miss” variety.

  • June 12 — Springfield Little Theatre’s YES Troupe
  • June 19 — 135th Army Band Bear Brass
  • June 26 — Quinton Patterson Briggs

Movies at Founders Park

Grab a seat under the stars and see a contemporary version of a drive-in theater setting during the Movies at Founders Park series in June and July.

The park’s amphitheater is a great place to set up your lawn chairs or blankets and watch a flick on the big screen. Even better: admission is totally free. There are concessions available for purchase on site, or bring your own. But please don’t bring alcohol, pets or tobacco.

All films are recent blockbusters and are rated PG or PG-13. Friday night is Family Night and Saturday night is Date Night. Both nights are open to all ages. Movies begin at dusk, about 9 p.m.

What if it rains? The movies may be postponed or canceled if the wet stuff is falling during the screening. Movies will proceed as scheduled unless they are rained out.

Ready to pick your flicks? Here’s the lineup.

  • Fri., June 7 – Mary Poppins Returns, PG
  • Sat., June 8 – The Greatest Showman: Sing-Along, PG
  • Fri., June 14 – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, PG
  • Sat., June 15 – Green Book, PG-13
  • Fri., June 21 – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, PG
  • Sat., June 22 – Bumblebee, PG-13
  • Fri., June 28 – Ralph Breaks the Internet, PG
  • Sat., June 29 – Isn’t It Romantic, PG-13
  • Fri., July 5 – Smallfoot, PG
  • Sat., July 6 – Second Act, PG-13
  • Fri., July 12 – The Goonies, G
  • Sat., July 13 – Jurassic Park, PG-13
  • Fri., July 19 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, PG
  • Sat., July 20 – Crazy Rich Asians, PG-13
  • Fri., July 26 – Incredibles 2, PG
  • Sat., July 27 – Solo: A Star Wars Story, PG-13

The Park Board puts on the movie series, which is presented by CoxHealth. The City of Springfield, Ozarks Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, Tuthill Corporation, Missouri Care and CarGO Technologies are also partners in Movies at Founders Park.

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