- Ozark Folk Center
The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, in an early attempt to preserve the vanishing heritage of the Ozark Mountains, assisted local craftsmen and musicians to form the Ozark Foothills Crafts Guild in 1962. The guild started with 30 members and now consists of over 300 master craftsmen and musicians.
In 1963 the guild, in cooperation with local civic organizations, organized the first Arkansas Folk Festival which attracted approximately 15,000 people. The festival became an annual event and within a few years was attracting almost 100,000 people to Mountain View. Due to the success of the annual festival the guild realized that they needed a permanent home.
The guild, in cooperation with local government, obtained a grant from the United States Economic Development Administration to establish a private commercial craft center at Mountain View. Prior to its opening in 1973 the state of Arkansas recognized the potential of the project and folded the center into the state park system and provided additional funding.
Facilities and activities
The Ozark Folk Center consists of numerous modern and traditional buildings which house a variety of culturally significant demonstrations and interactive activities.
The cultural areas include an organic herb garden displaying traditional Ozark herbs, a traditional blacksmith shop, a pottery making facility, traditional soap and candle making activity areas, demonstrations of traditional quilting and weaving by master craftspeople. Traditional Ozark folk music is presented to guests throughout the park on a daily basis in the craft grounds and in the Ozark Folk Center's 1000 seat Music Theater at 7:00 p.m. In addition to the cultural areas the park maintains a restaurant and smokehouse which serves traditional foods, provides lodging to visitors at the Cabins at Dry Creek, and has a modern conference center with a 150 seat small auditorium and private meeting rooms. The conference center also conducts seminars and exhibitions on Ozark culture and history on a regular basis.
A large gift shop is also present in the park where visitors can purchase from a wide selection of books and music recordings specializing in Ozark themes, and locally handcrafted work including pottery, shuck dolls, brooms, oak baskets, loom work and tasty preserves. Knives, ironwork, and other heirloom quality works can be also purchased from the artisans in their demonstration shops.
The Ozark Folk Center maintains one of the nation's largest collections of music and folklore including the 17,000 country, jazz, and folk recordings, books, and related material from the Stan French Collection. These materials are available to serious researchers at the park's resource center.
UPDATE ON ARCHIVES AKA OCRC: Due to lack of use, this resource center was closed in 2007 and the collection was moved to another location for preservation and storage, so it is no longer available at the Ozark Folk Center.
Other area points of interest
Many visitors to the Ozark Folk Center also visit Blanchard Springs Caverns, float the Buffalo National River, or enjoy some of the world's best trout fishing on the White River, all of which are located in the Folk Center area.
The town of Mountain View bills itself as the "Folk Music Capital of the World" and local musicians often gather in small groups to play their instruments in the town square after dark during the summer months. Visitors have always been welcome to attend these impromptu free concerts and often bring their own lawn chairs. Food and drink are usually available from vendors on the square at these times.
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