Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mountain Home Folk Festival

Arkansas folk festival, Mountain home

My wife and I were staying in the famous Fairfield Bay Resort on the beautiful Greer’s Ferry Lake near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

While we lived there, many of my friends that lived in the area came to visit us. Are we met them or not our dinner. Many of them I had not seen for many years and it was an enjoyable thing to be able to reacquaint ourselves with them.

Actually, we had reserved a week at this resort during a time when there was not a lot of activity going on in the region. We did learn that there had been a folk festival the week before in Mountain View, Arkansas.

Therefore we decided that since the next day with free we would take the mountain curvy road, up through the little town of Shirley on our way to a well known resort and vacation area.

The town is located deep in the Ozarks surrounded by mountains and rivers offering boundless outdoor activities including Blanchard Springs Caverns and world class fly fishing. We had an opportunity to explore the Ozark experience at the Ozark Folk Center and browsed through our local shops filled with one of a kind crafts and unique gifts.

Even though the festival had end the week before, the banners and many of the street markers were still up. We found a place to park near the courthouse and started walking down the street visiting many of the stores and crafts shops.

The Stone County Courthouse is in the heart of a lively shopping district, home to a variety of craft, gift, and antique shops. Nearby is the Old Mill, built in 1914 and restored in 1983, which once supplied residents with fresh cornmeal and flour and still has much of its original equipment. Several restaurants and snack bars are around the square for us to take a break to enjoy home-style treats.

It did not take either one of us long until we had become of hungry and tired, so we spotted a corner drug store with a sandwich café therein. However this was not a normal day, or drug store, the callers. We saw in the soda fountain was at least 60 years old, and they still made milk shakes and sodas like was done years ago when I was a boy.

With our sandwich, we decided to add a soda shake, which was a real treat. Just like when we were children.

As we walked back to our car to leave, and were leaving from the town, and noticed that there were a number of men with playing at a little corner park, where we stopped temporarily and watched and listened to them play.

Mountain View is a place where you can experience scenic natural beauty, exciting outdoor adventure and explore the unique Ozark culture.

Since it was about two hours to sun down, we decided we needed to leave because of the treacherous narrow road that we would be traveling to get back to Fairfield Bay. We arrived safely, but I began to look at some of the history of the city that we had been to and found it a fascinating study.

While we did not get to be in the middle of a Folk Festival, I did learn that each year hundreds of folk musicians and thousands of folk music fans arrive at Mountain View Arkansas for the annual Folk Festival to celebrate and enjoy old time country and blue grass music. The streets are lined with arts & craft booths, food wagons, and very few parking places. Everywhere one looks you find small groups of musicians gathered together making music.

While crafts shows are a tradition in Mountain View, artisans from all organizations such as the Mountain View Art Guild, Ozark Folk Fiber Guild, and Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour will provide a variety of unique handmade items. This is one of Arkansas' longest-running festivals.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”-- Isaiah 12:2

Taken from my weekly column.

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on

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