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Photo of banjo players at 1941 Folkways Festival
Musicians Albert Blair, Booth Campbell, and Chester Hamilton perform at 1941 Folkways Festival

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Arkansas Folk Festival
A Local Legacy

The Ozark Mountains used to be an isolated place to live. Situated in northern Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, the Ozarks were covered by forests. The first people to live there were the Indians who were nicknamed "bluff dwellers" because they lived in the shelter of the mountains. The settlers who arrived in the 1800s were self-supporting, which means they grew their own food, hunted and raised free-range animals. Because it was isolated, a unique culture developed.

The Arkansas Folk Festival is an annual celebration of traditional Ozark culture which began in 1963. It's held the third weekend in April in Mountain View, Arkansas. Highlights are a parade, folk music concerts and workshops, a blacksmith shop, and demonstrations of such crafts as making soap, brooms, candles, pottery, dolls and toys.

The Ozark region is characterized by many underground streams and springs. Tourism is one of the region's chief industries and was given a boost by Harold Bell Wright's novel The Shepherd of the Hills (1907), which romanticized the Ozarks.

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