Cherry blossom festival draws presidential families and pop culture to Missouri

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MARSHFIELD, MO - It was Mary Jean Eisenhower who sent us down a presidential path.

“There`s a little cherry blossom festival in Marshfield, Missouri and the director of that always gets as many presidential families together as he possibly can,” says Mary Jean Eisenhower, Granddaughter of 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In Southwest Missouri sits the tiny town of Marshfield, population 6,600.

It's home to an event that starts off the summer of fairs and fests and unique gatherings, the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival.

“I always say it`s like you put history in a blender and it blows up for three days,” says Nicholas Inman, Cherry Blossom Festival President.  “The goal of the festival is to celebrate and preserve American history.”

“I am the Granddaughter of Grover & Francis Cleveland and Grover was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States and Francis was the youngest first lady of the United States,” says Margaret Cleveland.

“Yes, Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th president of the United States and he`s my great-grandfather,” said Margaret Hayes Clark.

“Dred Scott is my great-great-grandfather and Harriet Scott is my great-great-grandmother,” says Lynne Jackson.  “She has her own fame as well.”

“I love it because I learn so much about other presidents and other history and the people here are so nice, I love it, says Clark.”

Near the Lake of the Ozarks, the town of Marshfield, has been collecting stories, first family relatives, pop culture and classic television and film stars for the past 13 years.

“Well I think they know this little tiny fairy about this big known as Tinker Bell,” says Margaret Kerry, Actress.  “I did all the acting and personality for her for Walt Disney for the movie Peter Pan.”

“It`s founded on the history of Missouri to start with,” says Jackson.  “That was the foundational reasons, as well as Nicholas, wanted to have cherry blossoms all over town.  They won`t grow here to well so he settled for a festival with the walk of fame.”

“Marshfield is the middle of the country and we`ve just planted cherry blossom trees for beautification,” says Inman.  “I thought you think of cherry blossom trees you think of the nation’s capital.  What would be better than coming to Marshfield, having a festival when the trees bloom and celebrate our history?”

Host families in town offer up spare rooms for the speakers and descendants of American history.

You never know who you`ll run into, like cast members from the TV show `The Walton`s.`

“For us, or for me, it`s just meeting a bunch of people who love us to death and what more could you ask for,” says Michael Learned.

“The cherry blossom festival is amazing,” adds Mary McDonough.  “What Nicholas has put together and how it`s grown over the years.  It`s truly incredible because there`s so much history, pop culture and then there`s the presidential element.”

“I`ve met presidential people,” says Ginger Alden, who was engaged to Elvis.  “Some gentleman sat down next to me today and said I want to sit down next to Elvis` fiancé and he was a descendant of George Washington.”

“There`s a peace about it that takes you back a little bit,” says Kerry.

“We call it the Marshfield bug,” says Kerry.  “You get bit and you just come back.  We have famous movie stars who have come and thought they`d never be back and they`re on their third and fourth year.  It`s not about being famous.  It`s about our history and sharing and caring.”

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