The annual Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival is held the third Saturday of September in California, Mo. It began in 1990 in honor of the small town's two biggest employers, Burger's Smokehouse and Cargill. The festival, sponsored by the California Area Chamber of Commerce, features an early morning parade through downtown, arts and crafts vendors, live music, a 5K walk/run and a classic car and antique tractor show. There is also plenty of food, such as turkey drumsticks, ham sandwiches and the world's largest sub sandwich. My fiance's father works for Cargill, and he drives the turkey float in the parade. I rode in the float this year with my fiance and our miniature pinscher, Maggie, who was a big hit with the crowd.
Watch my video below to experience The 2013 Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival.
In 2011, I started a tradition with two of my best friends from college. Every August, we all get together for the weekend in Columbia, Mo. to attend a wonderful event called Boone Dwaddle. It's a summer extension of the annual True/False Film Festival, another one of our traditions, which takes places in February. The Boone Dwaddle consists of a leisurely 16-mile bike ride on the Katy Trail from Columbia to Les Bourgeois Vineyards & Winery in Rocheport, Mo. Along the way, there are a number of "trailside surprises," such as snacks and performances. Upon arrival to the winery, you are treated to a buffet-style local foods picnic, live music and a documentary film screening. All of this takes place on a gorgeous blufftop overlooking the Missouri River. I must admit that my friends and I have never actually done the bike ride portion of Boone Dwaddle. Each year, we briefly consider it, and then opt out in favor of the shuttle bus. The event organizers hinted that they might add canoeing as a form of transportation next year, in which case, we will definitely participate.
Boone Dwaddle was on Saturday, but we kicked off the festivities early on Friday evening. I drove to Columbia, and met my friends at our accommodations, The Gathering Place Bed & Breakfast. We stay here for every Boone Dwaddle and most of the time for True/False. Besides the beautiful guest rooms, impeccable customer service and mouthwatering breakfasts, it is also within walking distance of downtown. I would live there full-time if I could! For dinner, we went downtown to Pizza Tree, an eatery that specializes in creative pizza styles made from fresh, local ingredients. We started the meal with an order of fried dough sticks that were served with chile oil for dipping. The appetizer was perfectly crispy and light, and we wasted no time devouring them. Our entree was the Banh Mi pizza, which is inspired by the popular Vietnamese sandwich of the same name. It consists of pizza cheese, sriracha braised pork belly, kimchi, chile aioli and cilantro. This filling combination is delicious and easily the prettiest pizza you have ever seen. We ended the night with frozen cocktails at Tropical Liqueurs before going back to the B&B.
Saturday morning started with breakfast at the B&B. I had fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with spinach, mushroom and feta cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, roasted red potatoes, and toast with the smoothest, creamiest butter I've ever tasted. In fact, the butter was so good that I asked for more toast just so that I could have more of the butter. After breakfast, we headed downtown. We did some shopping at Maude Vintage and New Beginning Consignment Clothing before having lunch at CJ's, a well-known spot for Buffalo wings. Next, we ventured over to Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar. The innovative menu, stylish atmosphere and spacious outdoor patio makes Bleu one of our favorite places to dine in Columbia. On this visit, it was all about desserts. I ordered the triple chocolate mousse bomb. The mousse is made from locally produced Patric Chocolate. It is covered in a ganache shell and served on top of a chocolate cookie. It is a decadent treat, but unfortunately, I couldn't finish it because of its richness. You need a serious sweet tooth to conquer the whole thing. My friend ordered the mango creme brulee, which was divine. I'm a connoisseur of creme brulee, so I was excited to try it in a different flavor. It comes topped with fresh fruit and lavender short bread cookies on the side.
At 5:30 p.m. we boarded the Boone Dwaddle shuttle bus for the 20 minute trip to Les Bourgeois. Our first stop was the registration table where we were given our passes for dinner and two beverages. Joshua Smith, Les Bourgeois' executive chef, presented a large spread of wholesome cuisine that included items such as Uprise Bakery baguettes topped with shaved Missouri Legacy Beef prime rib, arugula, and Norton vincotto braised onions; vegetarian lasagna with Pierpont Farms swiss chard; chickpeas and smoked paprika besciamella; and house made Chaurice sausage and red bean "chili" over rice. With so much to choose from, even a small sample of each was enough to completely fill my plate. The evening proceeded with a concert by the bluegrass band Yes Ma'am from New Orleans. I became a fan of theirs when they performed at this year's True/False, so I was happy to get another chance to see them live. When the sun went down there was a short, but spectacular, fireworks show, and then a screening of the film Lunarcy!. The director, Simon Ennis, and the main subject of the film, Christopher Carson, were both there to do a Q&A session after the screening. The movie is about a group of people who center their lives around finding a way to live on the moon. I found the film to be heartwarming and encouraging with its message of following your dreams no matter how crazy the world might think they are.
Sunday began with another fabulous breakfast at the B&B. The main course was Belgian waffles with whipped cream and blueberries. I also had fresh fruit, hickory-smoked bacon and eggs over easy. After breakfast, we checked out of the inn and decided to spend the rest of the morning at the North Village Arts District Farmers & Artisan Market. There were several vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, jewelry, clothing, artwork and other wares. I wasn't very hungry after our big breakfast, but I couldn't resist trying the truffle pizza at the Playing With Fire Wood Fired Pizza food truck. The yummy pie is made up of mozzarella, Pecorino, garlic, herb and truffle oil. The day was extremely hot, so we cooled down inside at The Root Cellar Grocery, where we picked up some refreshing Fresh Beet Gourmet Ice Pops, and at the Artlandish Gallery catacombs. One of the highlights of the market, was a performance by a very talented singer named Benjamin Joseph who entertained the crowd with his guitar and rock-soul vocals. We delayed heading home because we didn't want to stop listening to him play. He was that great.
From being in the company of friends who I adore, to indulging in two days of food, film, music and art, Boone Dwaddle weekend 2013 couldn't have been better. This is a tradition that I look forward to continuing for many years to come.
Posted by Porcshe N. Moran
The 2013 edition of the True/False Film Fest wrapped up Sunday night in Columbia, Mo. after four days packed full of documentary films and live music from around the globe. This was my fourth year attending the festival and, as always, it was a phenomenal experience. Here's my take on the weekend:
Films & Events
True/False is considered to be one of the world's premiere film festivals. Sandwiched in between Sundance and SXSW, it has become a coveted destination for directors on the festival circuit. This year, 42 films were screened in eight downtown Columbia venues. One of the highlights of seeing films at T/F is that the directors and often times the subjects of the documentaries are in attendance. You are able to ask them questions at the end of each screening or even bump into them at a coffee shop for a one-on-one chat. It is always a treat to be able to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of how each film was made straight from the people involved.
I purchased a Simple Pass for the festival which allowed me to reserve up to 10 different films in advance. The pass also gave me the ability to "Q" (stand in line and try to get into a film that is sold out) throughout the entire festival. I ended up getting tickets to seven films. My plan was to also "Q" for two films. Due to my personal schedule, I wasn't able to follow my original plan, but here are the five films that I was able to watch:
Beyond the films, T/F also puts a premium on showcasing music from various acts from across the country and around the world. Before each film, audience members are treated to a performance from one of nearly 40 solo and group buskers who are part of the festival. Throughout the weekend, musicians can be found playing on street corners and at parties and events. My favorite act at the festival was a string folk band from New Orleans called Yes Ma'am!. I heard them for the first time before the screening of Crash Reel and then later that night at the Toast/False Saturday Busker Showcase. Side Note: While they weren't officially tied to the festival, Columbia, Mo.-based band Jenny Teator and The Fevers played a show on the first night of True/False at a downtown venue. Their set was amazing, and I really hope that they can be incorporated into T/F next year.
The Food & Drink
I consider myself to be a bit of a foodie, so what I eat during T/F weekend is as important to me as the films. Beforehand, I prepared a list of Columbia dining establishments that I wanted to try for the first time or revisit during the festival, and I was able to get to most of them. Several restaurants catered to movie-goers by providing discounts for pass holders and a selection of dishes that could be ordered quickly between screenings. These are the restaurants that I visited during the festival:
To see more of my photos from the T/F Film Fest follow PNM Media on Instagram (@PNMMedia). For more information about the T/F Film Festival go to www.truefalse.org
Posted by Porcshe N. Moran
Watching movies is one of my favorite pastimes, and the Oscars are one of the few award shows that I enjoy watching each year. It is nearly impossible to not get swept up in the glitz, glamour, and pomp and circumstance of Hollywood's biggest night. This year, my fiancé and I hosted a small Oscars viewing party at home. While our gathering was not quite as extravagant as the Governor's Ball or Vanity Fair's annual soiree, it was still a lot of fun!
Our living room was party central which meant bringing in some tables and adorning them with red tablecloths, silver tinsel and sparkly balloon weights that served as centerpieces. To keep post-party clean up simple without sacrificing style, I purchased plastic black plates, black paper napkins and disposable cutlery that had a sterling silver finish. I used Google Drawing to create signage for the "snack bar" and "dinner & cocktails" areas.
I had the intention of preparing some homemade gourmet appetizers for the party, but my busy schedule got in the way. I opted instead for catering from a local supermarket which was much easier, and tasted great. The menu consisted of boneless buffalo wings, Italian bruschetta, vegetable pizza and a fresh fruit platter with watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and fruit dip. For drinks, I served Barefoot Bubbly's Moscato Spumante and Stone Hill Winery's Spumante Blush. We also set up a movie theater inspired snack bar complete with candy (Junior Mints, M&Ms, Sour Patch Kids and Airheads), popcorn and soda.
A party centered around a three hour TV event can get a little dull, so I planned some games to liven up the evening. During the red carpet coverage and the main show, we played Oscars themed bingo. We also filled out Oscar ballots before the show to track how many of the winners we guessed correctly.
I wanted my guests to feel just as special as the celebrities that are feted on Oscar night, and the best way to do this was with swag bags. My female swag bag was a glittery silver box topped with a bow. I filled it with a bar of lavender soap, a fresh linen scented candle, some white chocolate truffles, and an elegant black and gold magnetic notepad. The male swag bag was loaded up with goodies such as a mini LED flashlight, a couple of nice pens, a notepad, an LCD cleaning kit and an 8-in-1 multi-use knife.
How did you celebrate the 85th annual Academy Awards? For more photos from my Oscars viewing party follow @PNMMedia on Instagram.
Hello! I am Porcshe N. Moran. My nearly two decades of professional experience covers print and digital journalism as well as strategic communications, content marketing and copywriting.