The Arkansas Folklore Symposium, scheduled for March 8 and 9, is a multifaceted event celebrating the culture and history of the state. The public is invited to this unique gathering, which combines folklore and fun.
On Friday, March 8, starting at 1:30 p.m., visitors departing from the Randolph County Development Center (RCDC) will be able to tour the log cabins at the REACH project sites throughout the day. Participants can then enjoy a jam session featuring country, bluegrass, and other folk music at the Eddie Mae Heron Center, beginning at 7:00 that evening. Guests may bring and play any acoustical instruments that they wish.
On Saturday, March 9, after registration and greetings from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. in the RCDC building, spectators can attend several interesting programs about Arkansas folklore. These include a lecture by Dr. Brooks Blevins, author of Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the South who will talk about the regional history and memories of the Ozarks; a “Water Witchers” dowsing presentation will be given by local well-digger Jim Caldwell, local plumber Bryn Ulmer, and international guest speaker Marek Halir; an Ozark fiddling performance by musical artist Gordon McCann; and an introduction to the Arkansas Folklife radio program by folklorist Mike Luster. A discussion panel, “Folklore in Arkansas, Today,” will follow, headed by Mike Luster, Rachel Luster, and three Arkansas State University professors of Literature and Folklore: Drs. William Clements, Rick Burns, and Gregory Hansen.
BRTC faculty member Dr. Gary Buxton spearheaded this project, bringing together the other folklorists to collaborate on the event. Buxton is an active member of the Missouri Folklore Society, and after attending some of its symposia, he remarked that he wished for Arkansas to be able to have a similar gathering. Buxton states of himself and the other planners of this symposium, “We are looking forward to this being a good event, and hope for it to become a yearly experience in Arkansas.” He explained that the collaborators hope to spread the symposium all around the state, with a different Arkansas college or museum sponsoring and holding the event each year.
For more information, contact Buxton at 870-248-4000, ext. 4154.