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A Walk in the Park

As you know, 573 Magazine is a BIG supporter of getting out there...

It's important to experience the physical world as much as possible. The outdoors offers many therapeutics and natural locations to help with both physical and mental wellness. Even the CDC recommends being outdoors rather than indoors during this time for any kind of socialization and/or events and activity.

Outdoor activities generally are lower risk than indoor activities” - CDC

I can’t help feeling so blessed that there’s so many places here in the 573 to escape to for a quick breather, some exercise, or a fun family adventure. And now is definitely the time to be getting out there, as beautiful as the weather has been, but don’t let the incoming cold chase you indoors! Keep getting out there and staying active!

One place we found that has you more than covered is Festus, Missouri.

We recently traveled to Festus to meet up with Barb Lowry and check out some of their many parks...and we were highly impressed.

Sunset Park at 816 Parkview Dr. is a great place to start. Nestled right in the heart of Festus, the park is a hub for not only family recreation and team sports, but live entertainment as well.

Sunset Park boasts a brand new basketball court, tennis courts, ball fields, multiple playgrounds, a band stand (where the Sundays at Sunset concert series is held every Fall), a wooded outdoor Byrd Sanctuary, a beautiful vintage stone arch bridge crossing a small trickling brook, and the Heuby E. Moore Band Building.

A wonderful place to bring the kids, see a concert, take special pictures, hold an event, or just walk and think, Sunset Park is a quiet, peaceful place that was a pleasure to experience on such a beautiful and warm fall day.

Jokerst Memorial Park at 525 S. Mill St. is the picture perfect example of a small town neighborhood park. The park was named for the late Catherine M. Jokerst, who was elected in 1987 as the first female councilman and served several terms before being elected the first female Mayor of the City of Festus.

Jokerst Park is home to the Jim and Michelle Berger Pickleball courts which are the standard for pickleball courts in the state of Missouri. Along with this awesome feature, there are also basketball courts, a large playground, a 9 hole disc golf course, and a large variety of trees supplying cool shade in the summer.

This park is welcoming and family friendly. It’s exactly the kind of park I used to live by and go to as a child, and exactly the kind of place I always liked to take my own children to play.

Schneider Park

...a bright and shining star...

While we were in town we got to see the City putting up their Holiday decor on the streets of Festus, but none so magnificent as the beautiful larger than life Christmas tree in Schneider Park at the corner of Main and Mill. A tiny green oasis in the heart of bustling downtown Festus, Schneider park isn't very big, but this time of year it is the star of the Festus Parks. And just like a bright and shining star, it becomes a beacon, bringing travelers into town to enjoy the season of giving while browsing the many local shops and boutiques up and down Main Street for Christmas trinkets and treasures for loved ones.

Larry G Crites Memorial Park, formerly called West City Park, was recently renamed to honor the Parks Superintendent who passed away on April 30th this year and was credited with serving the City of Festus Parks Department for 39 years and having a hand in nearly all of the additions, renovations, and general care taking of the Festus Parks for over 20 as first the Park Foreman, then as Superintendent.

"...there’s nothing in this park that happened that he did not have his fingers in.”

“He started working for the city in 1981 which is the same year that the city obtained this park from the Peterein family.” Said Barb as she told us about Mr. Crites. “I think that’s kind of cool that we’ve had the park as long as Larry was here and there’s nothing in this park that happened that he did not have his fingers in.”

In an online article from, Mayor Sam Richards was quoted in regards to Crites as saying, “He treated all of the parks like they were his own yard. He worked tirelessly to make sure the parks were maintained...This City was very fortunate to have an employee like Larry.”

...something for everyone...

“There is something for everyone at Crites Park,” said Barb. And she wasn’t kidding!

Amazing features of Larry G Crites Memorial Park include numerous pavilions for BBQs, picnics, and small events, Al Brown lake for fishing or feeding the migrating geese...

...Joachim Creek (which runs along the eastern border)...

...multiple baseball fields, soccer fields, and an 18 hole disc golf course...

...several playgrounds, a large stage for events like the Blues and Funk Festival and the Firecracker Festival, a 1.5 mile biking/jogging track...

...hiking trails...

...the old red barn still standing from the Peterein family farm...

...and several outdoor exercise equipment stations.

...come and exercise for free...

"...get outside and do something different.”

“We’ve got a great exercise trail through here. Different spots have you stop and run in place, do jumping jacks...there’s different movements that you can do. So, it’s a great way that someone who doesn't have a gym membership can come and exercise for free with something to guide them. It’s a great way for someone who DOES have a gym membership, but just wants to get outside and do something different.” Barb explained about the outdoor fitness stations.

Not just a park, but a huge walk-through outdoor gym, Larry G Crites Memorial Park has over a dozen different stations along the bicycle trail. With weather resistant gym equipment, and both exercise and health tips posted at each station throughout the park it’s easy to feel both motivated and confident that you’re getting a healthy workout.

Other health tips I saw include managing pain and stress, adjusting posture and body mechanics, eating healthy, back strengthening, and preventing osteoporosis. Exercises with equipment and/or instructions include standing push ups, arm pedaling, seated curl, bench stepper, Tai chi instructions, and spinning (stationary bicycling).

Larry G Crites Memorial Park can be found at 2232-2292 Old State Hwy A, Festus, MO 63028. Be sure to check it out along with the other amazing parks in Festus Missouri.

"...just get outdoors!" - Barb Lowry

"Parks in Festus are very important, parks anywhere, for that matter, are very important. It gives people a place to go and play! And to get outside. Lots of people have homes and yards, but there's just as many people that live in apartments or condos, and everybody needs green space where they can go and stretch their legs, and just relax... just get outdoors!" - Barb Lowry

Thank you Barb, for another fun adventure in Festus Missouri. We'll be back real soon. Until then 573, be happy, be healthy, be well!

More Festus Parks to Visit

Words by AJ Koehler

Pics by T. Smugala


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