Flashlight history tour one of many events taking place this weekend in the area

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Back by popular demand, and just in time for Christmas, the second presentation of the Old Joplin Flashlight Walking Tour will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, a collaboration between the Downtown Joplin Alliance and the area’s premiere ghost hunting group, Paranormal Science Lab.

The first downtown tour, using flashlights to lead the way into shadowed corners, cracks and crevices, was held in October.

“It received great feedback, including requests to repeat the event,” said PSL’s Lisa Martin. “This is the first Christmastime walking tour we have hosted.”

Sure, ghosts are often associated with late October, but there’s been a long and rich history linking ghosts and ghouls to the “most wonderful time of the year,” dating back to the Victorian era. After all, the most famed literary ghost of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Past, was spawned from the beloved Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic.

“The primary focus of the (tour) is history,” Martin said, “but we do highlight some of the ghost stories associated with particular locations, particularly as they correlate with events that occurred in the past.”

The tour covers a route of slightly less than 1 mile, Martin said, over approximately two hours. Details stories are told during the tour and buildings are open to the group that are normally closed to the public.

The flashlights “evokes the sense of days gone by. It is also good for safety as we walk sidewalks. We encourage the use of flashlights.”

One building the tour will investigate is Blythe Mercantile, 107 W. Second St., a newer business that offers various coffees, teas and antique merchandise.

“The building has a long history beginning as a saloon and other enterprises,” Martin said.

Another visit will be the former Columbia Traders building at 420 S. Main St.

The flashlight history walking tour “is a fun addition to our events calendar,” Martin said. “People are interested in history, particularly the history that isn’t obvious walking down the sidewalk during the day. It is a way of appreciating our shared past and celebrating the architecture Joplin has to offer, that sometimes can be overlooked in our continuing mad dash for new development. Downtown has a lot to offer in way of experiences.”

Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children younger than 14.

Details: 417-622-8997.

Other events

Here are some other Christmas-related events this weekend:

Today

• Night Market Before Christmas, Empire Market, 931 E. Fourth St., 6 to 10 p.m., live music, market cocktail bar, Fezziwig’s Marketplace, local brews and foods.

Saturday

• The annual Holiday Homes tour showcasing nine private homes: four in the historic Murphysburg District, three in the Northern Heights Neighborhood and two in downtown Joplin. The tour, which launches at Unity of Joplin, 204 N. Jackson Ave., takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Details: 417-483-3116.

Sunday

• Kansas City Southern Holiday Express, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Joplin Union Station, downtown Joplin. Free to the public.

• “Light the World” community Christmas concert, 6 to 7:30 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel, 2101 S. Indiana Ave., Joplin. Performers include Divisi Chamber Chorus, Joplin High School’s Strolling Strings and local musicians. Free to the public.

• David Phelps, “It Must Be Christmas 2019” tour, presented by Connect2Culture, 7:30 p.m., Joplin High School Performing Arts Center, 2104 Indiana Ave., Joplin.

Today and Saturday

• The Country Christmas Dinner Theatre, an annual event put on by the Horses of Hope Riding Center, Inc., 6968 SE 20th Street in Baxter Springs, Kansas, with Hearts & Hands, will take place tonight and Saturday night. Enjoy live music, homemade snacks and a silent auction during the social hour starting at 5:30 p.m. each night. Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be the country Christmas dinner, a live auction and the production of “All I Want for Christmas.” Tickets are $40 or $280 for a table of eight. Details: 620-674-3458.

Throughout the weekend

• The Way of Salvation light display, the annual drive through event that draws thousands, 1900 Grand Ave. in Carthage.

• Choirs and soloists will fill the Precious Moments Chapel with Christmas music, 4321 Chapel Road in Carthage.

• Holiday light flights by the Joplin-based Alpha Air Center will fly above Carthage, downtown Joplin and more, for visitors to take in the varied Christmas light displays. Flights are $75. Details: 417-623-3113.

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