Arts Alliance programming highlights old time music, Ozarks Heritage Festival

The Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will be held Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The annual event in downtown West Plains celebrates Ozark music and culture. Admission to all festival events is free. Music starts at noon.

Members of the Arts Alliance have teamed up to offer several programs during the festival:

avenue theater

307 Washington Avenue

Friday, June 7

Noon: Sai Yuan Film Story Tour

2 p.m.: Lin Waterhouse – West Plains Ballroom Explosion

4 p.m.: Danette House – Language of the Ozarks

7 p.m.: Old Time Variety Show

Saturday, June 8

Noon: Sai Yuan Film Story Tour

2 p.m.: Lin Waterhouse – West Plains Ballroom Explosion

4 p.m.: Danette House – Origins of West Plains

5pm Lin and Danette – West Plains Explosion/Oshaks Civil War

“The West Plains Ballroom Explosion” by Lin Waterhouse, writer, researcher, writer, speaker
– Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m.

“Almost a living hell.” That’s how an eyewitness described the April 13, 1928, fire that destroyed the 100 block of East Main Street in the south-central Missouri town of West Plains. The fire could be heard miles away.

That night, on a cold and rainy Friday the 13th, 60 people gathered to socialize and dance to popular music of the day. Most were young, the children of the most prominent citizens of West Plains and surrounding towns. That night, 39 people died and more than 20 were injured in a horrific disaster that forever changed the lives of their families and friends and the future of their community.

Lin Waterhouse provides a realistic account of the explosion and its aftermath in her book, “The West Plains Ballroom Explosion.” In a video-assisted speech from the Avenue Theater, she spoke about the disaster, its victims and the possible causes of the still unexplained explosion.

Words of the Ozarks by Danette House, Traditional Ozark Storyteller
– Friday 4pm

Get ready for a fast-growing, interactive program where you’ll be asked, tested, and entertained with “Ozarks-Speak,” the unique language and culture of the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. We’ll delve into the evolution of the Ozark dialect from the early Scots-Irish settlers to today’s communities.

Delve into the interesting world of uncommon words like “donnick,” “jillikins,” and “lairipin.” Explore unique place names like “Hog Danger,” “Seed Tick,” and “Yankee Doodle.”

This is touted as a gateway to understanding and possibly recalling some of the “old saws” (slang) that have been passed down from generation to generation. House will talk about some very common sayings like “I’m grateful,” as well as the unusual “jeet?” and the downright weird “someone drunker than Kurt Brown.” Through participatory discussions, listeners may even find that they still have some vocabulary.

Whether viewers are native Ozark speakers, history buffs, or simply curious about this unique corner of America, “Ozark” is sure to give them a deep appreciation for the linguistic treasures hidden in this extraordinary region.

A History of the Western Plains of Missouri, by Dennett House, Traditional Ozark Storyteller
– 4 pm. Saturday

This session will begin with learning about the Osage Indian Tribe, the original inhabitants of the area.

The town of West Plains was founded in 1839 by the Josiah Howell family and officially named in 1858.

The Civil War from 1861 to 1864 deeply divided the community. Guerrilla warfare tactics resulted in towns being burned down to nothing but rubble. When the former residents returned to rebuild in 1865, they found themselves under martial law, trying to reconcile with their former enemies and put behind old grudges.

Despite these difficulties, the town experienced a renaissance in the 1880s, spurred by the construction of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. This development placed the Western Plains prominently on the map, doubling and tripling its population in a short period of time. This era saw many businesses spring up and a downtown plaza began to take shape around the Howell County Courthouse. Many of these historic buildings still stand today.

This presentation aims to weave together stories that demonstrate the town’s resilience and enduring spirit. Through stories of triumph and tragedy, House and her audience will celebrate the lasting legacy of those who called the Western Plains home.

Traditional Ozark Storyteller Danette House’s Howell and Ozark County Civil War, and Lin Waterhouse’s West Plains Ballroom Explosion: Writer, researcher, writer, speaker
– Saturday 5pm to 6:30pm (rated PG due to theme)

During the American Civil War, “brother against brother” was a term often used to describe the dilemma faced by the Ozarks, who had to decide between the appeal of family blood and loyalty and their staunch political and moral beliefs. choose. In this true story, the narrator tells the story of three generations of her Hawkins ancestors who settled in Missouri in 1838.

Benjamin Hawkins, the founder of the family, had four grandchildren who grew up together in Hawkins Ridge. A strong kinship formed between BF, Calvin, William and Washington “Wash” Hawkins. By 1861, however, these ties were broken. Two of them chose to become Confederate guerrilla fighters or bushrangers. They rode through the countryside, destroying the lives of their known pro-Confederate neighbors. One joined the Union Army, the other disappeared. Add in fiery Union Captain William Monks and his obsession with finding and killing Hawkins’ “traitor,” and the result is a gripping story of friendship, hatred, and those who struggle with love and loyalty amid the chaos of war. The enduring legacy of those who fought with hatred.

Waterhouse will share the stage with House to once again present her account of the West Plains ballroom bombing.

yellow house

209 W. Trish Knight Street

The Yellow House Community Arts Center will be open daily from noon to 8 p.m., showcasing art from local artists such as Angela Bullard, Alicia Mau, Samantha Hubler and Georgia Hester.

Pat’s jars will be on sale – shoppers can put their price on a wonderful piece from one of the Yellow House’s most popular supporters. In addition, while supplies last, you can enjoy Hank’s homemade chili, refreshing beverages or hot coffee to replenish your energy.


Noon to 3pm – Storytelling Circle featuring Marideth Sisco, Danette House, Lin Waterhouse and others. From 5 to 9 p.m., the West Plains Underground will host an open stage and jam session for all pickers and players, open to everyone, bring or borrow an instrument to join in and jam.


Noon to 3pm – Storytelling Circle featuring Marideth Sisco, Danette House, Lin Waterhouse and others.

3:30pm-6pm – Paint your own Ozark landscape with featured artist Angela Bullard. Reservations are required by June 6 to paint a one-of-a-kind Ozark landscape with Angela. Supplies cost $35 for the 2.5 hour experience. Contact Angela Bullard at 773-677-1631 or or Garrett Melby at 417-372-0647 or through Get in touch via the events page on the Yellow House Community Arts Center Facebook page.

Yellow House Storytelling Circle

For those who enjoy hearing traditional Ozark stories, the Historic Yellow House is the place to be during the 30th Annual Ozark Heritage Festival. In the heart of West Plains, a celebration of tradition, culture and stories will take place Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Artwork will also be on display, and food and drinks will be sold. Two practitioners of Ozark legends, Marid Sisko and Dannette Howes, will serve as hosts. Pull up a chair and escape the heat and hustle and bustle of activity in the air-conditioned comfort of the Yellow Room.

Hear the captivating and compelling stories of life in our Ozarks told across generations. Renowned West Plains author and journalist Lin Waterhouse will take the stage Friday and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Waterhouse, author of the popular West Plains Ballroom Explosion, will share her thoughts on the Ozarks with Newcomers to the Ozarks and A Fish Out of Water Documenting the Ozarks on Friday. Fresh insights.

Join Sabrina Lewis on Friday at 1:15 pm to hear about the extraordinary story of her uncle Eugene Pattillo. , fought on the battlefields of World War II for four years under the command of the tenacious General George Patton. Follow this gripping story of an Ozark country boy’s involvement in one of World War II’s most historic marches. From the invasion of Sicily to the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, you’ll be captivated by this Missouri farm boy’s story of courage, sacrifice, and resilience on the world stage.

On Saturday at 1:15 p.m., the legendary Marideth Sisco will bring viewers her first-hand experience of the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. She will vividly tell her story of “How the Ozarks Became America’s Oldest Mountain Range.” As always, listening to Mary Daisy spin stories never disappoints.

But perhaps the most poignant story of all comes from three remarkable women, the Pattillo sisters, now in their 80s, whose childhood memories offer a glimpse into a bygone era. Join them each day at 2pm as they recount the 1948 journey from Caulfield to Grants, New Mexico. Factory workers and their families embark on a five-month logging expedition in the harsh desert.

In between all these great stories, House will weave her own brand of Ozark magic, talking about the rich Ozark language and humor of the past.

“Whether you stay for the entire conference or for a short stay, you are sure to leave with a satisfied heart and your soul enriched by the lasting legacy of Ozark heritage,” Yellow House officials said.

Halley Museum

405 Wooster Street

The Historic Harlem Museum will be open Friday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and will feature the Heritage of the Ozarks exhibit featuring the LL Broadfoot Collection.

This annual exhibition celebrates the work of renowned Ozark-born artist Lennis Leonard Broadfoot, showcasing original artwork created for his published work Pioneer of the Ozarks. This collection of drawings and paintings depicts the people, places, and culture of the Ozarks captured by the artist in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and was published in book form in 1944.

This particular collection is particularly unique because for each portrait, landscape, and cultural scene depicting a mysterious and remote region of America at the time, there is a written portion accompanying each artwork. Some shared tidbits of conversations between artist and subject during the sketching process, revealing the person’s hidden knowledge, values, or beliefs. Others convey cultural references of the time and information about almost lost customs and practices. Considered one of the artist’s most important contributions, these assemblage works are both stylized depictions of Ozark culture and innocent first-person depictions of the enigmatic people living in the Ozarks.

Harlin will also display its historic quilt collection and be part of the Festival Quilt Walk.

Ozarks Heritage Research Center, MSU-WP Garnett Library

304 W. Trish Knight Street

The Ozarks Heritage Research Center is open Fridays only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stop by the Research Center to browse its new acquisitions and see the recently installed 6′ x 20′ Farley Lewis mural.

The Ozark Heritage Festival is a signature event of the Western Plains that celebrates, protects, perpetuates and fosters an appreciation for the ancient music and folklife traditions unique to the Ozark Highlands. Admission to all festival events is free.

2024 festival partners include the West Plains Arts Council, City of West Plains, Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center and Missouri State University-West Plains. Funding for the event is provided in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support is provided by Missouri Humanities and the Missouri Department of Tourism.

For more information about the festival, email, visit the website at or follow on Facebook.

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