This year's Folk Festival headliner on Saturday, Nov. 3 is the legendary Ronny Cox. Cox first made his mark in American culture when he played "Dueling Banjos" on his guitar in the movie "Deliverance," where he played the role of ill-fated Drew.
Cox's acting career includes roles on "St. Elsewhere," Beverly Hills Cop" and "Star Trek," among others, but it's his music that brings him to Eureka Springs. Cox is known as one of the best musical storytellers in our country with easygoing amiability and down-home charisma.
Cox brings with him his backup band that includes vocalist, mandolinist and bassist Karen Mal. World-renowned accordionist Radoslaw Lorkovic will be sharing the stage that night as well.
Opening for Cox will be Jack Williams and last year's singer/songwriter contest winner Michael Cockram.
Reserved tickets for the Cox performance are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and available for purchase at www.theauditorium.org
The festival will kick off on Monday, Oct. 29 with the Queen's Contest. This year's theme is Folk Revival, and the show will begin at 7 p.m. in The Auditorium at 36 S. Main St. A group of Eureka's finest young ladies will model 1970s-style gowns, show their verbal prowess in a speech and act in an old-fashioned Eureka-style skit. Following tradition, third-grade students from Eureka Springs will square-dance on stage as Hedgehoppers. Admission is free.
There is more than just music at this year's festival. On Tuesday, Oct 30 at 7 p.m., the town historian June Westphal will present a talk on the history of the Ozark Original Folk Festival at the Eureka Springs Carnegie Library Annex at 192 Spring St. Westphal has been writing about Eureka for more than 40 years and will give an informal and enlightening view of Eureka Springs' colorful past.
On Wednesday, Halloween Night, the Barefoot Ball takes place in the Barefoot Ballroom atop the Basin Park Hotel at 12 Spring St. The Carper Family, an alternative-country band from Austin, Texas, will provide the musical entertainment.
This is a hillbilly costume ball, and participants are encouraged to take off their shoes and dance! There will be prizes for best costume, best beard (real and fake), and best hillbilly zombie. The ball begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. They may be purchased online in advance at www.theauditorium.org.
On Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., Ronny Cox will sign copies of his new book, "Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew" as well as screen the film "Deliverance" at Eureka Springs Carnegie Llibrary Annex at 192 Spring St. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. Seating is limited.
Also on Thursday, Nov. 1, Chelsea's Corner Café at 10 Mountain St. will present a Hillbilly Hootenanny beginning at 9 p.m. Come see your favorite local musicians in this "Hee-Haw" style production. Impersonators will sing songs by stars such as Conway Twitty, Pasty Cline and Grandpa Jones. There will be square-dancing, a pie-baking contest, chicken-splat bingo and corny jokes.
On Friday, Nov. 2, America's favorite folk duo, Trout Fishing in America, will perform at The Auditorium. Billed as "music for people who take their fun seriously," this eclectic folk/rock band is best known for family music and kids' songs, but their music truly transcends definition.
Opening for TFIA is Karen Mal and Jack Williams. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Reserved tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and may also be purchased online at www.theauditorium.org.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, the Singer/Songwriters Competition will take place in Basin Spring Park on Spring Street. This contest brings singer/songwriters on stage to battle it out, one guitar (or banjo) against the other.
Following the contest, the judges from Trout Fishing in America will perform a free show until 2 pm. when the annual Folk Festival Parade will roll down Spring Street. Eureka Springs will show up in floats, costumes, dance troops and marching bands. They will all put on a show for the judges in the street in front of the Basin Park Band Shell.
On Sunday, Nov. 4 in Basin Park at 1 p.m., there will be "Voices of Reason, Voices of Change" featuring Northwest Arkansas' ambassadors of peace, Still on the Hill, Dave Rosengarden Baer, Arkansas Red and Bossa Screwanova. These musicians will be singing their political songs of today.
To finish out the weekend, on Sunday night, come check out the Eureka Springs House Concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 17 Elk St., featuring singer Laurie McClain. The concert starts with a meet-and-greet potluck at 5 p.m., and music starts at 6 p.m. with the old-time sounds of Jones Van Jones.
And, of course, all weekend long, craftspeople from the Ozark Folk Center, as well as local artists and craftspeople, will be demonstrating their art in Basin Spring Park.
There will also be a craft show at Pine Mountain Village on East Van Buren on Saturday featuring all hand-made items from a variety of local and regional artisans and crafters.