Vendors, volunteers, artisans, demonstrators sought for Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival

Planning is underway for the 20th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains, Mo., and organizers said they are seeking vendors, volunteers and traditional artisans and demonstrators for this year’s event.

The festival, which celebrates the distinctive culture of the Ozarks Highlands, is set for June 20 and 21, from Court Square to the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.  Admission is free.


Organizers said they welcome booths from vendors that are in keeping with the historic theme of the festival.  Space is available for non-profit groups, businesses, school fund-raising efforts, churches, civic groups, public officials and individuals; however, in the event of duplicate offerings, first consideration will be given to early registrants.  Final approval rests with festival committee members, organizers added.

Booth spaces measure 10×10-feet.  Space rental fees for the two-day period are $60 for for-profit vendors, $30 for non-profits, and $85 plus 10 percent net profit for food vendors.

Vendor registration forms are available from Terri Combs, or 417-255-7988, or they may be downloaded from the festival website,  Registrations should be mailed by June 1, 2014, to West Plains Council on the Arts, P.O. Box 339, West Plains, MO  65775.

Organizers said they plan to provide this year’s vendors with a diagram/map of the festival grounds, which will be available at the festival information booths.  All early registrations will be listed on the diagram with the vendor’s name and specific location on the grounds.


Much of the success of the festival over the years has been due to community support, including the many people who volunteer their time and talents, organizers said.  There is no paid staff, never has been, organizers said, adding the festival committee spends many hours over several months preparing for it.

Because of the festival’s continued growth, more volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs, some labor intensive and others not so much, they said.  Some of the jobs volunteers do include manning the information booth for an hour or two, helping vendors find their allotted spots when they arrive on the evening of June 19 or the morning of June 20, and asking festival goers to fill out surveys that list, in part, where they live and what they think of the event.

Those interested in helping in any way should contact the West Plains Council on the Arts at or call Volunteer Coordinator Dee Lewis at 417-257-5563 or 417-256-6919.

Volunteers from previous years are encouraged to call or e-mail to confirm they will be participating again this year, organizers said.  Volunteer sign-up forms are available on the festival website,


The festival has featured many different material art and craft genres throughout the years.  Most of these arts and crafts originated for entirely utilitarian reasons or to meet basic needs of the region’s early settlers, organizers said.  But as a result of regional economic changes, especially increased availability of manufactured goods since the mid-20th century, these arts and crafts are no longer practical necessities; however, many talented artisans and craftsmen in the Ozarks continue to practice them both as outlets for their creativity and as means of celebrating the region’s rich cultural heritage, festival organizers explained.

Area artisans and demonstrators who are keeping these traditional crafts alive and would like to share their talents with festival goers are encouraged to contact coordinator Emily Gibson at 417-255-7966 or e-mail to

The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains.  The two-day festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.

Festival partners include the West Plains Council on the Arts, the City of West Plains, the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center and Missouri State University-West Plains.  Partial funding for this event was provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information on the festival e-mail, visit the website at http://www.oldtimemusic .org

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