On Monday, June 5, quarters honoring Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri were officially introduced to the public.
Around 1,600 people went to the launch ceremony that was held at the site featured on the quarter and hosted by representatives from the United States Mint and National Park Service. Attendees included more than 700 schoolchildren who received an Ozark Riverways quarter for free.
U.S. Mint Senior Advisor Michele Satchell shared the stage with former NASA astronaut Tom Akers, who served as master of ceremonies of the event.
"Vital to the community here a century ago, the mill stands as a tribute to our ability to harness the power of the environment and reminds us of a way of life heavily shaped by the remote and rugged landscape in which it endured," Satchell told onlookers.
The Baker Family, an award-winning bluegrass band from South Central Missouri, entertained the crowd. The quarter’s designer Ron Sanders, an artist in the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program, was also on hand.
Other speakers included Congressman Jason Smith; Patricia Trap, Deputy Regional Director for the National Park Service; Paul Fitzwater, Missouri State Representative, who represented Governor Eric Greitens; Larry Johnson, Superintendent of Ozark National Scenic Riverways; David Stokely, District Director, SW and South Central Missouri, who represented Senator Claire McCaskill; and Caroline Yielding, Field Representative for Southeast Missouri, who represented Senator Roy Blunt.
Security Bank of the Ozarks sponsored a coin exchange that followed the ceremony. The local bank exchanged about $26,000 in P-mint mark quarters.
Another highlight for 72 collectors and local enthusiasts was a coin forum held on the evening before the ceremony where attendees listed to and asked questions of Mint officials.
Ozark Riverways quarters also started entering circulation on Monday. While the ceremony kicked off, the U.S. Mint released Ozark Riverways quarters in rolls and bags. Available options include coins struck at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints at prices that range from $18.95 to $46.95. (See photos of the quarter.)
The U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program was introduced in 2010 and will commemorate 56 national parks and other sites through 2021. The Ozark Riverways quarter is the 38th released and third of the five for 2017.