The Amish are known for helping their neighbors in times of need. Rescuing an entire town from obscurity would have seemed to much to ask though, even for the Amish. But that’s essentially what they did for Jamesport.
In 1985 a group of Jamesport merchants got together in the back of a local antique store and brainstormed on ways to keep their town from quietly slipping off the map, like so many other rural communities. Shop owners Gary and Carol Ellis spearheaded an effort to initiate a Christmas festival. The idea was to draw tourists attracted by the Amish families who comprise the largest Amish community in Missouri. That festival was a success.
Today an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 tourists come to the four or five annual festivals hosted by Jamesport. Many come to get a look at yesteryear’s farm life and see Amish roaming through the town in their simple, hard-sewn clothes. The black, horse-drawn carriages are common along Highway 190 and Highway 6 as well as on the various gravel roads. Other tourists come to browse through the antique shops and crafts.
There’s nothing in North Missouri like a Branson nor is there much interest for such here. But what visitors find here is authenticity and simplicity “in a perky little small town atmosphere!”