When I first knew I’d be moving from my turn-of-the-(last) century home that I loved, in a community that I loved (Midtown, Kansas City), leaving a job I loved (with an environmental education organization) and moving to Warrensburg, I must admit, I did wonder.
I wondered: what is there, exactly, in Warrensburg? Will I find anything to do for fun there? Will I be going back to KC every weekend for cultural and gastronomical fixes? Will I ever find a job there?
Thanks to my wonderful (then) fiancé, now husband, I was fortunate enough to have some time to explore my new world without the pressure of immediately needing to find a place to work. So, I took advantage!
I began by figuring out what places might need an extra set of hands for a few weeks. Volunteering is, I think, the absolute best way to get to know a community. Though I could have chosen from nearly 100 different charitable organizations, I found the Teachers’ Warehouse of Johnson County, not long after they’d moved from a local school to a space donated by Arwood’s Furniture & Gifts. It was perfect timing, as it was August and they needed help getting the place ready for the onslaught of teachers who’d be coming through their doors soon for free school supplies.
Then, I set out to find some food, because really, what’s the point of living without great eats?!? Being vegan, I knew that it might be a bit more challenging to find the kind of grub I was used to in “the city” (as locals call Kansas City). And yet, not only were there two Chinese restaurants to choose from (always friendly to us plant-eaters), but a fabulous Thai place, Siam Restaurant. I am now officially addicted to the Matsaman Gai with tofu.
I also found a great Mexican place that doesn’t put lard in their beans (Copper Coyote), the wonderful Monetti’s, home to local celebrity chef Giuliano as well as pasta, pizza and calzones that are dee-lish “veganized.” Two newcomers to the culinary scene in the ‘Burg are South Side Grill, with just-right-spiced black bean burgers and sweet potato fries, and Café Blackadder, a funky place where co-owners Julie and Andrea always make sure there’s at least one vegan item on the menu. As I was writing this piece, I finished off a bowl of their Sriracha Squash Soup with coconut milk – yummers!
Alright, so you can see I spent (and do spend) quite a bit of my time eating. I clearly need some exercise to balance all that indulging…
Warrensburg Parks and Recreation to the rescue! I was thrilled to see the wide variety of classes available at the Warrensburg Community Center, and now I’m a regular at the weekly yoga classes. And, when I need to shake what my momma gave me (which is at least weekly), I head over to Warrior Jujitsu for Zumba. It’s right downtown, which means it’s close to my job and therefore I’m much more likely to actually go.
And cultural events? Sheesh! I could have a full-time job just going to everything that the University of Central Missouri offers. My head spins from the range of choices: everything from Broadway musicals and one-act plays to big band dances and ice cream socials … from mind-expanding gallery exhibits and marimba concerts to trying out a sumo wrestling suit and attending a buffet dinner of international foods.
Then let’s talk about the rest of the community’s annual events … a downtown Trick-or-Treat that brings thousands of kids (of all ages) scavenging for candy; Easter egg hunts for kiddos, teens and grown-ups; a benefit salad luncheon that needs about 12 tables to hold all the selections; a Scottish Highlands event (men in kilts!); an antique car show; a poetry festival that features Missouri’s poet laureate; free community band concerts; an all-day July 4th celebration; a county fair and county rodeo; a garden tour; craft shows; and even a croquet tournament.
And so as you can see by my title, in answer to my own question I did indeed find a job, and it just happens to be one in which I get to brag about everything there is to do in Warrensburg!
Written by Suzy Latare, Visitors Center Coordinator, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.