Celebrating its 66th anniversary, The Ozark Folk Festival returns to Eureka Springs this October. With only a select few festivals that have been running longer, The Ozark Folk Festival is America’s longest continuously running folk festival. Otto Rayburn and other business owners in Eureka Springs held The Original Ozark Folk Festival in 1948. Each year the event provides local artists and musicians a stage to showcase their talents.
What’s a folk festival without dancing? From square dancing to clogging, there is plenty of opportunity to grab your partner and do-si-do. The Barefoot Ball, held at the Basin Park Hotel in the Barefoot Ballroom, continues to be a favorite event among participants. The Barefoot Ball began after honeymooners Mr. and Mrs. Howard Forehan won a honeymoon provided by a radio show. The consequences of winning this trip were that the couple was not to wear shoes on the duration of their trip. At the end of the week, manager Joe Parkhill started the Ball in their honor. This year the Ball will be held on Wednesday, October 23rd with doors opening at 7:30pm. Guests are invited to come in costume and leave their shoes at the door. The HillBenders are this year’s entertainment. For more information on tickets, click here.
Each year, the Folk Festival crowns a new queen to preside over the day’s events. The local teen girls compete for the crown and title as they model Victorian gowns and tell of their love for Eureka Springs. This event will be held this year on October 24th.
Beginning Friday, October 25th and into Saturday, free folk music begins at Basin Spring Park. Ozark Folk Music Acts and Michael Johnathon take the stage on Friday at noon. Saturday starting at 11:00am, six top finalists will take the stage in the The Ozark Festival Singer/Songwriter Contest. Each finalist will have fifteen minutes to perform their original song to a panel of judges. The first place winner will receive a two hour recording session at Winterwood Studios and a chance to perform at the next year’s Folk Festival.
Saturday’s events continue with a Folk Festival parade at 2:00pm. Horses, homemade floats, antique cars and bands will make their way down Spring Street to Basin Spring Park. Judges will award prizes in a variety of categories. Saturday evening, folk music lovers can become a part of two WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour shows. Broadcast worldwide, WoodSongs has featured hundreds of musicians from the folk music genre over the years. This year’s broadcast is hosted by Michael Johnathon and special guest Michael Martin Murphy. Doors open at The Auditorium at 7:00pm with music starting at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $35.00-$45.00 depending on the seat location.
With the festival events within walking distance, Arsenic and Old Lace Bed and Breakfast invites you to relax in one of their five cozy guest rooms on your visit to Eureka Springs. In a Queen Anne Victorian mansion sitting on the Arkansas Hills, the hosts at the Inn are waiting to attend to each and every need as you escape the stresses of your every day. Complimentary gourmet breakfast is served daily with selections including fruit, homemade bread, a sweet or savory main course with accompanying side dish and juices, coffee and tea. Be sure to check availability and reserve your stay while you are in town for this historic event.
Photo courtesy of Brandi Rinks