The 50th Arkansas Folk Festival in Mountain View Set for April 20-22

Organizers of the Arkansas Folk Festival in Mountain View are planning a big celebration for the 50th annual event the weekend of April 20-22, 2012.

Music and handmade crafts still take center stage in this celebration of local heritage, and special events that recall personalities of the 1963 festival are being planned. Parade organizers are challenging school alumni to recreate the atmosphere of large floats that were popular in years past.

Music programs are scheduled for the outdoor courthouse stage, while impromptu music groups offering a wide variety of music styles will spring up around the downtown area throughout the daytime hours, and play late into the evening. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and stay for the duration. In addition, a variety of professional music shows in local theaters will be open during the festival.

This year’s event will again feature the Artisans Market on the Square, with booths of handcrafted goods from Stone County and the surrounding region. Craft shows are a tradition in Mountain View, and the Artisans Market represents some of the best artisans from organizations such as the Mountain View Art Guild, Ozark Folk Fiber Guild, and Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour. Members of the Arkansas Craft Guild and Ozark Folk Center crafts interpreters, as well as other exceptional artisans, will join in the juried show, which has restored handmade arts and crafts as a focal point of one of Arkansas’ longest-running festivals.

An annual tradition since 1963, the festival has its origins in a Folkways Festival held in 1941 at Blanchard Springs. Stone County Extension Homemakers Clubs had a goal of  preserving and reviving the traditional expressions as part of the cultural heritage of America. The hope that it would become an annual event at that time, however, was interrupted by war. Thousands of visitors and residents now reserve the third weekend of April as a time to renew a kinship with traditions.

A highlight of the festival is the parade on Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. Floats sponsored by local organizations and businesses, dignitaries, the school’s marching band, antique cars, horses and many more entries offer something for everyone as it travels down Main Street.

Other events in the planning stages are the Folk Festival Talent Show, Stone County Saddle Club Rodeo and more.

The Ozark Folk Center state park kicks off its season offering free admission to the craft grounds Friday through Sunday, and free shuttle rides will be offered between the park and downtown both Friday and Saturday. Visitors may park at the Folk Center and avoid trying to park in limited space in the downtown area.

Other activities available in the area include tours of Blanchard Springs Caverns, mountain biking, camping and hiking in the Ozark National Forest, and fishing on White River.

The Arkansas Folk Festival is sponsored by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce. To contact the Chamber of Commerce about the festival or other local events, call 1-888-679-2859 or visit For more information about Ozark Folk Center activities, contact the state park at 870-269-3851 or visit