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Living Life to the Fullest In Southwest Missouri

Third Thursday

Third Thursday

A few years ago, when I first heard a friend throw out the term “Third Thursday,” I thought she was merely referring to a day that was near the weekend, and near the end of the month – kind of a weekend wannabe. I had no idea that she was talking about an actual organized event held in downtown Joplin.

But times have changed.

These days, most everyone I talk to in Joplin has either heard of – or been to – Third Thursday. This event’s popularity has grown, along with its number of vendors and attendees.

But if you’ve never been to a Third Thursday and are wondering what all of the excitement is about, here’s what you can expect.

There’s art, music, dancing, food, shopping, giveaways, a car show, activities for kids – you name it. It’s a day when the spotlight is on downtown Joplin, highlighting the unique businesses, restaurants and cultural amenities that make our city vibrant.


third thursday 2016


On the third Thursday of each month from March through October, Main Street is blocked off from car traffic and transforms into a pedestrian area between First and Seventh Streets, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Performance stages, vendor tents and food trucks are set up on the street, and downtown buildings open their doors to feature art displays.

One thing that really impressed me on a recent Third Thursday was the multitude of food trucks and vendors that now participate in the event.


third thursday harvs bbqHarv’s BBQ!


These vendors offered a wide range of food choices, from traditional festival food like King’s Kettle Corn, to creative fare like mac-and-cheese hot dogs from Sweet! which are topped with chili, bacon, and corn chip crumbles.

Dinner for me was a made-to-order incredibly delicious gyro from Pick Me Up Catering, which also served Mediterranean yummies like organic hummus and baklava.

Other vendors that I saw included AJ’s Eatery (BBQ), Sweet Emotion (hand-dipped chocolates and fruit), Carmine’s Wood-Fired PizzaTacO the Town (tacos, of course; Sweet! is also owned by this vendor), Angel Cakes Bakery, and SnowFlakes Shaved Ice.

Tip: If the you see the Pineapple Bliss truck at Third Thursday, get in line immediately!


third thursday pineapple bliss


We initially walked past it when there was a handful of people anxiously anticipating their fruity soft serve treats, and we thought we’d come back when the line went down. Ha ha! Later on, the line was snaking halfway down the street.

In addition to the food trucks, downtown restaurants are open during Third Thursday, and several of them offer extended patio areas that spill out into the streets, like this one from the hip lounge and restaurant Infuxn.


third thursday infuxn


When we were done grazing through the food vendors, we walked around and checked out the artists on display. Here are some that caught my eye:


third thursday barrel werksBarrel Werks home furnishings made from retired wine barrels.


third thursday penny fairmanPenny Fairman Art (Penny is a Kansas City artist with family in the Joplin area)

third thursday downingCorey Downing creates art from vinyl LPs. Do you recognize the figure in the upper right?

third thursday hannah snowJoplin artist Hannah Snow


If seeing this artwork awakens the inner artist in you, there are several downtown studios open during Third Thursday to accommodate your burning desire, including Firehouse Pottery, RSVPaint, and (a few blocks south on Main Street) Local Color Art Gallery.


third thursday rsvpRSVPaint Studio


Art is not only something to appreciate visually; sometimes we drink and eat it. Some of the Third Thursday artisans offering ingestible art were:


third thursday bearded ladyBearded Lady Roasters


third thursday home brew Joplin Home Brew Club (crafting beer is an art, too).


third thursday grannys goodiesDog treats from Granny’s Goodies


I think Granny sold out of her dog treats within the first hour due to the incredibly high number of canine attendees that night. Hey, doesn’t everyone – and every dog (on a leash, of course) – deserve to have fun night out?

Going to Third Thursday also gives me the chance to browse through my two favorite downtown boutiques, since they keep their doors open during the event: Sophie and Blue Moon Boutique. For people who are into fitness, a downtown store worth visiting is Runaround Running & Lifestyle Co., which has an experienced and helpful staff that can help with your running/walking needs.

So with looking at artwork and browsing through stores, it sounds like kids would be bored stiff at Third Thursday, right? Wrong! There were bounce houses, interactive booths, a man making animals out of balloons, and the Art Feeds’ bus which is there each month with a fun art project for the kids to do.


Third Thursday Art Feeds


Another Third Thursday tradition is having your picture taken in 9art Photography’s themed photo booth. Can you guess what the theme was for our session?


third thursday 9 art photo


My facial expression might lead you to think that it’s “I just bit into a sour lemon” day, but the theme was actually “Windy Day.”

Another fun Third Thursday photo op is having your picture taken in this ginormous rocking chair in front of the Joplin Public Library.


third thursday rocking chairHanging out with Downtown Joplin Executive Director Calli Hudson.

For vintage and muscle car buffs, there’s a section near First Street that’s reserved for displaying cars. It was also a big hit for people whose favorite color is orange.


third thursday orange carShe loves orange!

While walking between exhibits, we passed several performance stages where local dancers and musicians were entertaining the crowd.


third thursday twirlSometimes the music just moves you…

We detoured off of Main Street to catch a performance of one of my favorite local singers, high-schooler Olivia Wu, who was playing at Joplin Avenue Coffee.


third thursday olivia wu


My middle daughter and I chilled out in the comfy coffee house chairs and listened to Olivia’s mindblowing voice while my husband took my youngest daughter to the bounce houses – again.

At Third Thursday, everybody’s happy, and everybody wins.


Third Thursday sunset

butterfly pic


Third Thursday events are organized by the Downtown Joplin Alliance.


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This article was commissioned by the Joplin CVB, however the opinions expressed are purely my own. The purpose of Joplin MO Life is to highlight all the best that our area has to offer, and when an article is written about a restaurant, business, attraction, or event, it is because I have had an enjoyable experience and want to share it with others.

Click here to visit the Joplin CVB’s Facebook page.


Living Life to The Fullest!

Joplin MO LifeI love seeking out new experiences and finding places off the beaten path. I started Joplin MO Life in August 2013 as a way to share my discoveries with others in the Joplin community so that they can learn about the resources that exist right in their own backyards.

I have worked in education and event planning, and have always loved to write. I hold a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Tulane University.


  1. I would like to know how I would go about setting up a craft booth.

    • I am not affiliated with Third Thursday; I just wrote about my experience at this event. To register as a vendor, you will need to contact Downtown Joplin, which manages the event:

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