Rural Missouri Magazine

A Party For Walt
Marceline Celebrates Disney's 100th Birthday

by Bob McEowen

School children from Walt Disney Elementary School raise the Mickey banner in front of the school. The flag was a gift from Walt Disney and featured colors and a design which only flew over the school and Walt's personal apartment. The school is one of many Disney sites visitors will see during the Disney 100th birthday celebration.

Mickey Mouse will be in Marceline Sept. 21-23 but the most recognizable character in the world will not be the star. Instead, the small north-central Missouri town will celebrate the creator of the cartoon mouse and the years he spent in Marceline.

"We're promoting the man and not the mouse," says Richard Switzer, chairman of the Walt Disney's Hometown 100th Birthday Celebration. The events and attractions scheduled for this three-day event center on the five years Disney spent in Marceline and his subsequent visits home.

The 50,000 people expected to attend will tour Disney sites, see performances of a locally-produced operetta based on Disney's life, view early Disney films and hear presentations from Disney authors and historians. Also scheduled are a barn raising and a "Rural Olympics" which will test participant's skills in farm chores.

There will also be parades, a crop maze, apple pie baking and eating contests and even a horse sketching contest based on Disney's first income-producing artwork.

The whole event is steeped in small town traditions Ð from a fiddle jam session to the Marceline High School football game on Friday night. It is an event more in the spirit of Walt Disney the tow-headed farm boy than the creator of one of the world's largest and most sophisticated entertainment empires.

"We're not glitz and glamour," Switzer says. "In fact, some of it is a little bit corny but I think people will enjoy that."

For more information, write the Marceline Disney 100th Birthday office, 207 North Main Street USA Marceline, MO 64658; phone: (660) 376-WALT or email:


Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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