2022 Events and Activities

2022 Festival weekend is a busy one! A full slate of great performers, valuable workshops, and more. Check out all the other happenings we’ve prepared for you!

Cooking Stage

Pie Competition

T.A.A.P. Master

Artist Interview

Then and Now: Apprentice Journeys is a newer component of Missouri’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP), which was launched in 2016. “Then and Now” showcases former apprentices from over three decades of the apprenticeship program. Those artists worked and later earned status as master artists. Cathy Davis Marriott, Ava, Mo. square and jig dancer/caller, will be featured in an interview by Missouri Folk Arts Director Lisa Higgins on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 12:00 – 12:50 p.m., in the Magnolia Room, West Plains Civic Center, 110 St Louis Street, West Plains, MO 65775, during the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. The public is invited.

In 1988, master dancer and caller Edna Mae Davis, Cathy Marriott’s mother, joined TAAP for the first time. Mrs. Davis intended that the traditional dances and old-time music, unique to her hometown in Ava, should continue well into the future. She herself learned square and jig dancing within her family as a child; later she gained renown as a dance caller, and she practiced these art forms throughout her life. During that apprenticeship, Mrs. Davis taught a handful of young dancers officially in TAAP, including her own daughter Cathy.

Now, Cathy Davis Marriott has fulfilled her mother’s goal and legacy, joining a long line of masters of a style of old-time dancing particular to her region of the Missouri Ozarks—Ava jig and square dancing. There are many square dance groups around Missouri, and there are many variations in style. In her hometown, Mrs. Marriott and her family participate in a square dance tradition that is more fast paced than most. The Ava-style dances also integrate jigging, a solo style that can be practiced while waiting for a turn in the circle or on the sidelines of a dance floor. Ava dancers often wear taps on their shoes, which creates a percussive element that is another local variation on the square dance tradition.

In 1996, Cathy Marriott taught her first apprentice in TAAP. Three years later, both she and her mother accompanied National Heritage Fellow Bob Holt to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate the marriage of old-time music and dance in their hometown. In 2008, Mrs. Marriott followed in her mother’s footsteps in TAAP, helping her daughter Jody to the next level in dance and calling. For the last couple of decades, Mrs. Marriott has coordinated the Bob Holt National Jig Dance Contest at the Old-Time Music and Ozark Heritage Festival, as well as regional fiddle contests in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

On Saturday, in the live “Then & Now: Apprentice Journeys” interview, Mrs. Marriott will share stories with Lisa Higgins and the audience about experiences—as an apprentice and later as a master teacher in TAAP. Missouri Folk Arts thanks the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council, the Museum of Art & Archaeology at Mizzou, and individual donors who have supported TAAP for nearly four decades.



    Do you know some good mule stories? Or are you unfamiliar with mules and curious as to why so many people find them so intriguing? Either way, we hope to see you on Saturday, June 4, at 1 PM in the West Plains Civic Center’s Magnolia Room for a conversation and storytelling session devoted to these stubborn-yet-endearing animals that have made indispensable contributions to life in the Ozarks.

    The mule is a hybrid animal, the offspring of a horse and a donkey. For decades, mules have assisted residents of the Ozarks with many pursuits, including farming, logging, mining, hunting, and trail riding. The question of whether mules or horses make better draft animals often was, and occasionally still is, a subject of (usually) good-natured debate throughout the region.

     Richie Dement of Centerville, Missouri, who coordinates the annual Hirsch Feed & Farm Supply Mule Jump during the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, will share some of his vast mule-related knowledge and experiences. He’ll be joined by Les Clancy, a mule trainer and frequent mule jump participant from Ozark, Missouri.

     Most importantly, members of the audience will have opportunities to tell stories about their experiences with mules and to ask questions of Richie, Les, and one another.

     Matt Meacham, an Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival volunteer who emcees the mule jump, will moderate the discussion. It will be recorded on video and [add information about live-streaming, archiving, posting on YouTube, etc., here].

     Anyone who wishes to participate but can’t be there in person is invited to join the conversation online at https://missouristate.zoom.us/j/93745684459.  Additionally, festival volunteers will be available in the Magnolia Room again from 8 to 9 PM on Saturday so that anyone who was unable to attend the session at 1 PM but wishes to record stories or comments about mules can do so.

     “We decided to hold this conversation and storytelling session for two reasons,” said Meacham. “One is that every year, before and after the mule jump, many people are kind enough to say hello to Richie and me and tell us stories about their experiences with mules. Those stories are always fascinating, often funny, and sometimes poignant, and they have a lot to teach us about life in the Ozarks. We feel that they ought to be recorded for posterity and shared far and wide.”

     “The other reason,” Meacham continued, “is that culture of the Ozarks will be featured during the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. The regional organizers of the Ozarks-themed programming for that festival – Tom Peters and Craig Amason of the Missouri State University libraries and Kaitlyn McConnell of Ozarks Alive are eager to gather input that will inform their planning and also to share what they’re learning with people here in the Ozarks.”

     The Hirsch Feed & Farm Supply mule jump, in which mules compete to leap over a barrier, has been a popular Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival event since 2008 and received coverage in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

Storytelling on the


“Remembering West Plains”, storytelling on the square will be featured at this year’s Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains, MO. Programs will be held on the northeast Courthouse lawn at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Chairs in the shade will be available for this event. No sign-up is required.

The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo., celebrates Ozarks music and culture.  Admission to all festival events is free. Festival hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4.

You must hear the stories to understand West Plains, Missouri. At first glance, it seems to be just an ordinary little town where generations of people have lived their lives. But look closer. The Howell County Court House on the Square has stood as a silent witness to many years of life here in the Ozarks. Memories, sometimes proud, happy, and humorous.; sometimes terrifying, heartbreaking, and tragic. Listen. Look. The past is all around you.

A wedding in a hardware store. An explosion that made headlines of newspapers nation-wide. A rally of Union and Confederate sympathizers that turned into a stand-off. Terror during the Civil War. A woman who baked 460,000 pies. A barnstorming stunt plane that crashed through a store.  Colonel Torrey and his grand plan called Fruitville. Jim the Wonderdog. Folks who left to become famous. Uncle Wash.

The presenter will be life-long native of the Ozarks, Danette House. Retired educator and avid lover of history,  House taught in West Plains for 31 years.  Her Ozark credentials go back to her three-times great-grandfather, Washington P. Hawkins (Uncle Wash) whose family moved to Ozark County near the North Fork of the White River in 1837. He described West Plains as “just a blackjack log house, occupied by a man named Howell.” Wash served in the Union Army and later called West Plains his home. His experiences and others will help you see this place that is home.

Story Tour

Artist Showcase

Jig Dance

Competition and


Treadle Sewing

Machine & Quilt


This year, as an added feature, Judy Jo Protiva, co-owner of Peace Valley Poultry, will be demonstrating treadle sewing machine use on the mezzanine of the West Plains Civic Center from 10 a.m. till noon Friday and Saturday. JudyJo is a wife, mother, and grandmother, who started using treadle sewing machines in the early 1980s. It had been a dream of hers, and she was finally able to find a suitable machine.

               Before she worked the kinks out of her beginning style, she started sewing pants for an exercise group. That, together with her delight in sewing for others and herself, put her learning into high gear. She only sewed for the group for a few months, but continued sewing on the treadle. Soon the wheel would hum as it rotated smoothly, the needle sewing creations.

               A year or two later she sewed a tipi with her machine. She bought the canvas from a canvas company in Denver and sewed yards and yards of double seams, forming the fabric into a tipi cover. On the day she celebrated raising it, she met Jim Protiva, the man of her dreams, and they married 1½ years later.

                JudyJo had always wanted to sew for her own children, and soon there were four children. Sometimes she would sew into the night to make the dresses and shirts for her family, a quicker process when it was quiet. Her oldest, Beth, remembers hearing the sound of the whirr of the treadle machine as she went to sleep. As these children grew up playing on and with the treadle, they developed a natural rhythm with it, until when they were old enough to sew, they could handle the machine efficiently.

               To JudyJo, the treadle not only represents a means of productivity, but also a sense of nurturing and caring for others that is passed down through the generations. Come visit and learn more about these machines which are still used in many places today.

A treadle is a part of a machine which is operated by the foot to produce reciprocating or rotary motion in a machine such as a sewing machine, weaving loom, grinder, powering water pumps, or to turn wood lathes, to name a few. They allow human power of machinery without the need for electricity. Many of the early sewing machines were powered by a treadle mechanism. The treadle was operated by pressing down on it with a foot, or both feet, to cause a rocking movement. This movement spins a large wheel on the treadle frame, connected by a thin leather belt to smaller driving wheels on the sewing machine.


Cindy McLean, along with her mother, provided a place at the Festival for people to experience a sampling of the quilting process. Every year the quilt produced was lovingly preserved, backed, trimmed and quilted by the pair; with the resulting finished quilt provided for viewing the next year. This year we will have several of the “festival quilts” on display on the mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center. Come find your square in these memory quilts.

Bucket Brigade



Pickin’ Spots

This year Festival organizers are preparing an “ideal” spot for pickin’. All Saints Episcopal Church will once again open their side yard on East Main to festival attendees, and this grassy, shady area will make a great spot for our guests to sit and jam. We’ll have strawbales and chairs placed there and hope our visiting musicians will take advantage of this cool spot to get together and make music. It’s just far enough from the outside stage to eliminate conflicting music. Hope to see it used all throughout the two days! Check the map for other pickin’ spots.

Broadfoot Exhibit at

the Harlin Museum

The Harlin Museum is home to the entire L.L. Broadfoot collection, minus those given by the artist in his lifetime to friends and family.  The artist’s dream was to memorialize the uniquely fascinating people of his Ozarks home, which he did when he published his 1944 book, “Pioneers of the Ozarks,” a compilation of Ozark Scenic Riverways landscapes and the portraits and stories of one-of-a-kind Ozark pioneer settlers.

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