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story.lead_photo.caption Duane Porterfield of Mountain View, carrying a set of bagpipes, marches in the 2018 Arkansas Folk Festival Parade. The 2019 Folk Festival will take place Friday and Saturday in Mountain View.

— The 57th annual Arkansas Folk Festival will kick off spring for the town of Mountain View.

The Folk Festival, the first of three festivals hosted by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce, will take place Friday and Saturday in downtown Mountain View. All activities are free of charge.

Nikki Morrow, executive director for the chamber, said the Folk Festival will have more than 100 artisan vendors, and music will be played all over the downtown area, especially at the Courthouse Square in downtown Mountain View.

The parade, with the theme Timeless Traditions, will start at 10 a.m. Saturday and last about at hour.

“It will start on the west side of town and go up through Main Street, traveling east,” Morrow said. “The Easter Bunny will be there to pass out candy and visit with the kids because the festival falls on Easter weekend. There is a huge, 10,000-egg Easter Egg Hunt after the parade.”

The hunt is sponsored by area churches and will take place at the walking track on Knox Avenue.

“You can walk to it from downtown,” Morrow said.

There will be seven food vendors selling fair-type food, Morris said.

Morrow said plenty of artisan demonstrations will be held.

“We’ll have demonstrations going on throughout the festival,” she said. “Because people get to come and see it for free that weekend, they are going to go home and tell their friends and family about it, and that encourages people to come to Mountain View throughout the year. We are in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, and we have such a deep heritage and a deep-rooted history. There are so many people here who want to carry on the tradition.”

Next weekend is also the opening weekend for the Ozark Folk Center.

Free admission will be given to the Craft Village at the Folk Center, which is open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. each day.

“The Folk Center was born out of the Folk Festival,” said Keith Symanowitz, promotions and programs director for the center. “We’ve got lots of big events happening at the park. We’ve got a feature show and our first legacy night of the season. We’ll have all kinds of stuff at the park and free shuttles running from downtown.”

Arkansas musician Joe Purdy will be the headline act from 7-9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are available at ozarkfolkcenter.ticketleap.com. He will also give a free performance in an intimate setting at the Craft Village from 2-3 p.m. Saturday.

The Folk Center will also host its first Legacy Night from 7-9 p.m. Saturday.

“The new event seeks to honor past employees and revive old traditions during the first all-local music show of the season in the Ozark Highlands Theater,” Symanowitz said.

Tommy Simmons, the Folk Center’s first general manager and a former Mountain View mayor, will begin the evening by kicking off the first square dance.

Symanowitz also said the park will debut footage from the 1975 Arkansas Folk Festival that was recently discovered at the Arkansas State Archives in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Craft School will have demonstrations at the Folk Festival.

According to a press release from the Arkansas Craft School, potter David Dahlstedt will give demonstrations. Dora Gonzalez will demonstrate leather-making, and Dana Finnimore will demonstration enameling and metalsmithing.

“For the Folk Festival, we bring in thousands of visitors. … People want to come and listen to the folk music and see local artisans,” Morrow said. “We are very fortunate to have such a large art community where you can come to Mountain View and not only see the art, but watch the artisans make the art.”

Parking will be limited in the downtown area, Morrow said.

“We encourage people to park at Loco Ropes (1025A Park Ave.) down from the Ozark Folk Center and use the free shuttles,” Morrow said. “Downtown is going to be crowded, and the streets will be closed off because of vendors and the parade. If people just park [at Loco Ropes] and take the shuttle up, they’ll be able to enjoy all the activities without having to find a place to park.”

The other two festivals sponsored by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce each year are Mountains, Music and Motorcycles, set for Aug. 16 and 17; and the Bean Festival and Great Arkansas Championship Outhouse Races, scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26.

For more information about the festival, contact the chamber at (888) 679-2859, visit www.yourplaceinthemountains.com, or visit the chamber’s Facebook page.

Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or mbuffalo@arkansasonline.com.

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