by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
For the past two weeks I have written about some of the theatrical events that brought “culture” to our town. From the files at the Historical Society, I found additional photographs of the Spring Festival, which was a yearly event until at least 1947-48. That was the last picture I found.
In addition to the festival, I found advertisements, programs and photographs from a variety of “cultural” events enjoyed by the citizens of Grain Valley. A couple of play scripts and some photos are proof of the plays performed at the Royal Playhouse during the 1920s.
Over the years, many groups did “community” theater, such as the womanless wedding. Although no year is found on the advertisement, Noel Wilkerson, “the Bride,” was the high school principal from 1929-1938, so I believe this particular event probably occurred around 1936.
Old yearbooks, dating back to the 1940s, contain pictures from band and choir concerts. The Junior and Senior Class plays were performed each year until the late 1960s when these twice-yearly productions became all school plays.
When the auditorium was built at the high school in 1996, a musical replaced one of the shows. And for a couple of years, the community could purchase a season ticket for Sunday afternoon musical performances by groups ranging from the Independence Symphony Orchestra to military bands and ensembles.
Over the years, there have also been other “cultural” events. Father Daughter Dances and Mother and Daughter Banquets have been around forever. They have been sponsored by various churches, civic groups such as the Lions Club and even the City of Grain Valley has been doing a yearly Father Daughter Event (until the recent pandemic!).
Whether to raise money or merely to provide entertainment, Grain Valley has been a mecca of culture and great fun!
Visit the Historical Society any Wednesday from 10 AM to 3 PM and see photos and memorabilia from these events from the past!