Festivals & Events: Enjoy the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair this Labor Day Weekend

Jill M. Rohrbach
jillsjourneys@gmail.com
 
When Labor Day comes, I think of my mother, grandmother, and the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair because it’s a long standing tradition that we all three go and shop the arts and crafts booths. My grandmother is 85 years old now, so she doesn’t get around quite like she used to. I’m anticipating she may not want to go this year because she’s not steady walking – holding on to me or with a walker on the uneven ground. She refuses her wheelchair most of time.

If we do go we’ll be walking at a snail’s pace and will be there all day because there is a ton to see and eat at this fair that is steeped in a tradition itself.

The Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair, held at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Prairie Grove, was started in 1951 as a way to revive the carnival-like atmosphere of Civil War reunions. Despite the horrors of the war, the land where the Battle of Prairie Grove took place has been revered through use as a reunion site since the 1870s. The reunions were in a fair setting with races, contests, and treats such as watermelon.

As the era of the Civil War became history and the men who fought in it began to die, so ended the regular reunions. After World War II, leaders of Prairie Grove decided it was time to reintroduce reunions on the Civil War grounds. As a project, the Prairie Grove Lion’s Club cleaned up the area. Today, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is a beautiful and serene setting, a stark contrast to the events that took place there.

The Battle of Prairie Grove was the last time two armies of almost equal strength faced each other for supremacy in northwest Arkansas. When the Confederate Army withdrew from the bloody battlefield at Prairie Grove on the night of December 7, it was clear Missouri and northwest Arkansas would remain in Federal hands.

While the 500-acre park exists to help visitors understand the war, it does not focus only on battle maneuverings. It distinguishes itself from other Civil War parks because it shows, through use of a pioneer village, how war affected civilian life and Ozark culture. The park has a self-guided walking tour and driving tour. The visitor’s center has a gift shop, museum and bookstore. The park also contains pavilions, a picnic area and a playground. Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is located on U.S. 62 in Prairie Grove. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks.com or call 501-846-2990.

This the is 59th year of the Clothesline Fair. It’s popular for its food, arts and crafts, and square dancing. Many concession areas, operated by area non-profit organizations, are available, serving traditional food such as smoked chicken, hamburgers, popcorn, funnel cakes and more.

The fair is free, but there is a $5 fee each day for parking in the state park. The following is the schedule for the Labor Day weekend:

Saturday, September 4th
7:30 A.M. – 5 K Battlefields Run & 1 Mile Yankee Dash (Sponsored by Century 21 Stinchcomb Realty)

 
8:30 A.M. – 5 P.M. – Ozark Arts & Crafts Exhibition (Sponsored by the Arts Center of the Ozarks)

8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. – Ham Radio Broadcast Tent

9 A.M. – Parade (Begins at the Prairie Grove Public Schools & Ends at Battlefield Park)

10:00 A.M. -11:00 A.M. – Martial Arts Demonstration (At the Bandstand)

3:00 P.M. – Exhibition Square Dancing (Ages 4 – 11) (At the Amphitheater)

7 P.M. – Square Dancing Competition (At the Amphitheater)

Rustic Relics (Farming Antiques Display – All Day)

Sunday, September 5th

8:30 A.M. – 5 P.M. – Ozark Arts & Crafts Exhibition

8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. – Ham Radio Broadcast Tent

1 P.M. – 5 P.M. – Gospel Music (At the Bandstand)

Rustic Relics (Farming Antiques Display – All Day)

6 pm – 10pm – Bighouse Bluegrass Annual Benefit (At the Amphitheater)

Monday, September 6th

8:30 A.M. – 3 P.M. – Ozark Arts & Crafts Exhibition

8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. – Ham Radio Broadcast Tent

3:00 P.M. – Exhibition Square Dancing (Ages 4 – 11)

7 P.M. – Square Dancing Competition

Rustic Relics (Farming Antiques Display – All Day)

Concessions Open At All Times (Sponsored by Prairie Grove Lions Club)

 
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Posted in Crafts, Antiques, and Flea Markets, Food and Drink, Kids

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