46th Annual Arkansas Folk Festival Mountain View April 18-20

The return of impromptu musical gatherings on the courthouse square signals springtime in Mountain View, time for the Arkansas Folk Festival.

This year’s event April 18-20 will premiere the Artisans Market on the Square, featuring more than 60 booths of handcrafted goods from Stone County and the surrounding region. While crafts shows are a tradition in Mountain View, never before has one event drawn artisans from all 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 and help restore handmade arts and crafts as a focal point of one of Arkansas’ longest-running festivals.

Side streets adjoining the historic courthouse square in Mountain View will be designated as a pedestrian mall for the weekend, allowing visitors to mingle among vendor booths while listening to folk music for which the community is famous.

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.

Scheduled music programs will be presented on the outdoor stage at the courthouse on Friday and Saturday, with a gospel show on Sunday. Impromptu music groups will spring up around the downtown area throughout the day and play into the evening hours. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and stay for the duration.

For the second year, the event will feature a Dog-Gon Dog Show on Thursday at 5 p.m., and the Folk Festival Talent Show on Friday at 5 p.m. Both events require pre-registration. Contact the Chamber of Commerce at 870-269-8068 for details.

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.

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. Music performances will be ongoing in a large tent at the shuttle stop on Washington St.

In addition to the informal music groups playing around the courtsquare, a variety of professional music shows in local theaters will be open during the festival.

The Stone County Saddle Club will sponsor rodeos at 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at the fairgrounds. 

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