Democrats from across southwest Missouri gathered in Springfield over the weekend for their annual Democrat Days of the Ozarks.

Image courtesy of Democrat Days of the Ozarks

It started Friday night with a kick-off celebration. Different seminars and panel discussions took place Saturday.

Organizers say it’s a chance for those who support the party to come together, celebrate and to spread the message that things can change.

“If people watch the news, if they read their newspaper and they say “no that’s not the country that I want,” then they have an option,” said volunteer coordinator Vicky Trippe.

The keynote speaker at the Democrat Days of the Ozarks Banquet was former President Barack Obama’s Press Secretay Josh Earnest. Earnest held the position from 2014 through the end of the Obama’s second term. He ‘s a native of Kansas City.

Both Democratic statewide officeholders, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway spoke at a Saturday morning brunch during the event. They’re both seeking re-election this year.

With 97 years of history, organizers say this is the oldest gathering of Democrats in the state of Missouri.

Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed most of the content for this story