Jill M. Rohrbach
Sitting around a camp fire recently at a cabin on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam, one of my girlfriends remarked on how at her family gatherings during her youth they used to sit around the fire and listen to the uncles play the fiddle. She lamented the fact that those traditions would not be passed on to her two daughters, since neither she nor her siblings had picked up the instrument.
It reminded me of the Ozark Folk School in Mountain View and how important and exciting it is that through those classes Ozark music and crafts are being preserved and perpetuated.
Ozark Folk Center State Park offers the annual, week-long Ozark Folk School, which provides instruction in traditional folk instruments, in traditional arts and crafts and in growing and using herbs. It ensures that the mission of the state park is carried on in the lives of people, not just in static exhibits, dusty collections or memories. The school is in session now (March 18-23, 2007) and even offers classes for kids. Think about this fun, family opportunity for next year’s Spring Break.
But you don’t have to wait until next Spring to take a class because additional workshops and seminars are offered throughout the year. The park has kid programming too, even a day camp. You can also enjoy celebrity concerts, explore the craft village with children’s area, dine at the restaurant and overnight in the lodge. Visit http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com for details.
Get a taste of what the Ozark Folk Center has to offer during the 2007 Arkansas Folk Festival on April 20-22. There is free admission into the Ozark Folk Center’s Craft Village where you can see demonstrations of traditional pioneer crafts such as blacksmithing, pottery, soap making, quilting and more.
If you cherish an old quilt your grandmother made for you or the memories of your dad playing the banjo, you should consider learning the craft for yourself or honing the skills you already have at one of these workshops. Then pass it on to your kids and grandkids, making not only treasured memories, but also a tangible gift that can last generations.
If You Go:
The Ozark Folk Center is open Wednesday-Saturday from April 20-Sept. 29. From Oct. 2-28, the park is open Tuesday-Sunday. The Craft Village is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Skillet Restaurant is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. throughout the season and on special occasions throughout the year. The Dry Creek Lodge is open year round.
The Craft Village presents more than 20 different demonstrations of Ozark mountain pioneer crafts. Craft items are for sale both from the artisans directly and in the Homespun Gift Shop. The Village also contains an herb garden and children’s area. In addition, there are hourly music performances and a daily living history presentation.
Folk Center concerts feature a variety of traditional acoustic music from the southern mountains of the United States. Special concerts during the year will feature other forms of music such as contemporary country, gospel, rock and folk. For more information, phone (870) 269-3851 and visit www.OzarkFolkCenter.com.