Barefoot children frolicked among picnic blankets and lawn chairs at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO) Tuesday (Aug. 25) as more than 400 people gathered on an usually cool summer evening to listen to the music of Still on the Hill, at the second of three free summer concerts.
Elizabeth Wilhelm, director of special events for the BGO, said the free concerts, sponsored by the Willard and Pat Walker Foundation are great opportunities for families to come and enjoy music as they experience the Garden.
“We hope they come away with a love for the Gardens,” she said.
Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, the husband/wife duo of Still on the Hill, continued their long tradition of entertaining the crowd at the BGO with their “story-telling folkgrass” music and mastery of instruments, ranging from the mandolin to the fiddle to the harmonica.
Kelly Mulhollan said he has deep roots in the BGO because his father, Paige Mullhollan, was a past director of the Gardens, and his mother is the present coordinator of the butterfly house at the Gardens.
“The BGO is one of my favorite places,” he said. “It’s the jewel of Fayetteville.”
Tuesday’s concert marked the first time food, other than popsicles, was offered during the concert. As at past concerts, Pedal Pops sold their all-natural frozen pops to the crowd.
“We have been told that it would be nice to have a food option for people coming right from work and so we invited Tyler’s Craft BBQ,” Wilhelm said.
Organizer’s said Tuesday evening’s low temperatures were a welcome change from the usual blistering heat of August, and that being in the Garden in the evening made for a unique experience for concert-goers.
“Normally we close at 5 o’clock and so it is very rare that you get to be in the Garden in the evening, unless you have a private event,” Wilhelm said.
The final free BGO concert, on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., will feature Smokey and the Mirror, the Fayetteville husband/wife duo of Bryan and Bernice Hembree. The Hembrees are accomplished musicians and the founders of the Fayetteville Roots Festival.
The BGO is a non-profit botanical garden in northeast Fayetteville, located at the border between Fayetteville and Springdale on Arkansas Highway 265 (Crossover Road).
According to their website, the Garden, which draws more than 80,000 visitors a year, is a collection of 12 themed gardens and includes the region’s only butterfly house. Their stated mission is “to provide educational, entertainment and recreational opportunities for students, residents and Garden visitors to increase their appreciation of the native and natural ecosystem of the Ozarks.