Folk Center, Historic Arkansas Museum offer old-fashioned Fourth of July fun

by Bill Paddack (wbp17@comcast.net) 88 views 

Looking for a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July? The Ozark Folk Center has some old-fashioned fun in the works. And the Historic Arkansas Museum will be serving up a slice of history.

The Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View will host its annual Fourth of July celebration on July 4 with old-time games, crafts and music.

The Craft Village is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the Craft Village is $12 for adults and $7 for children 6-12 while children under 6 are free. Games, races and watermelon are all included in the admission price.

Participants will meet at 2:30 p.m. behind the Administration Building and be divided by age groups. Games include a sack race, egg and spoon race and a cracker whistling contest. Free watermelon will be served and everyone is encouraged to participate in the seed spitting contest.

“Mary Gillihan has been hosting these games for more than 40 years,” said Jeanette Larson, craft director at the Folk Center. “The record for the seed spitting contest here at the Ozark Folk Center State Park is 29 feet, 4 inches, set in 2012. We look forward to a new record this year.”

Love Holler will be playing music on the outdoor stage in the Craft Village six times during the day.

The Smokehouse Snack Bar next to the Picnic Pavilion will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and their famous fried pies throughout the day. And the Skillet Restaurant will be serving up tasty Southern cooking from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Ozark Folk Center State Park is located at 1032 Park Ave. in Mountain View. It strives to perpetuate, present and promote the Ozark way of life in an educational and enjoyable manner through craft demonstrations, musical programs, the Heritage Herb Garden, workshops and other special events.

The Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock will host the annual Frontier Fourth of July from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 4. It’s a free opportunity for families and visitors to celebrate Independence Day as it was celebrated on the Arkansas frontier.

Visitors are invited to enjoy free watermelon and ice-cold lemonade. Afternoon activities include an old-fashioned patriotic parade at 3 p.m., 19th century music and encounters with people from the past. Children can walk on stilts, play pioneer games and make patriotic crafts.

You can also check out the current exhibits, including works by Sally Nixon, Robert Lemming and Louis Watts. A museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, HAM is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The Fourth of July is a serious economic driver. According to the U.S. Census, the value of fireworks imported from China in 2015 was $311.7 million. That represents the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($324.8 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $12.7 million in 2015, with Singapore purchasing more than any other country ($4.6 million).

Also in light of Independence Day, America’s former parent country – Great Britain – is the U.S.’s eighth leading trading partner. The dollar value of trade in 2015 between the U.S. and the United Kingdom was $114.1 billion.

The Census Bureau also points out the population growth from July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2015. In 1776, America’s population stood at 2.5 million. Today, the nation’s population topped 321.4 million.

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