The Ozark Folk Festival returns to Eureka Springs celebrating its 67th anniversary this October. This 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. There will be free music in the park, contests a parade and a headliner show at the Auditorium on Saturday night. This year’s Ozark folk festival will run from October 7th through the 11th.
The Barefoot Ball, held at the Basin Park Hotel in the Barefoot Ballroom, continues to be a favorite event among participants. This event gives participants the opportunity to dance the night away. 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 Thursday, October 9th with doors opening at 7:00pm and music at 8:00pm. Guests are invited to come in costume and leave their shoes at the door. This year’s entertainment is The Cindy Woolfe Band featuring Mark Bilyeu of Big Smith. Tickets can be purchased online and run from $12.00 to $32.00.
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 year’s 67th annual Queen’s Contest will feature The Hedgehoppers. The event will be at the Auditorium on October 8th beginning at 7:00pm.
Friday, October 10th and Saturday the 11th, free folk music begins at Basin Spring Park. Ozark folk music acts and other special guests will be the entertainment and begin at noon. Saturday morning, 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 the opportunity to perform at next year’s 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, the headliner show at the Auditorium will be The Ozark Mountain Daredevils with special guests Danny Cox and Brewer and Shipley. Doors open at 7:00pm with music starting at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $35.00-$45.00 depending on the seat location.
With the events within walking distance, Arsenic and Old Lace bed and breakfast is the ideal place to stay when visiting Eureka Springs for the festival. This Queen Anne Victorian style mansion is set in the hills of the Ozark Mountains and offers five private guest suites. 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. While you are in town for this historic event, be sure to check out a stay at one of Eureka Springs favorite B&B’s.
Photo courtesy of MDIANEM