Jill Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Ready, set, go folks to Mountain View on Oct. 27-28 for the 35th annual Beanfest and Great Arkansas Championship Outhouse Races. You don’t want to miss this outrageous fun of outstanding outhouses, high performance porta-potties, and jetting johns racing down the street. Each is unique in design and theme. Two people push and one person drives these wheeled, and unused outhouses in competition for the prize of a toilet seat trophy and bragging rights.
Plus, the event includes beans and cornbread as 30-plus cooks compete for the title of best beans. Beans are served promptly at noon. You can also enjoy music and dancing on the courthouse square. Handmade crafts will also be for sell. Don’t miss seeing this year’s Grand Marshal of Beanfest, Jana Jae, live on the courthouse stage Saturday night. Jae is considered the First Lady of Country Fiddle.
Established in the 1870s, the town of Mountain View, is famous for the preservation of folkways and traditional music. Music plays a vital part of the aura of the area as, historically, Saturday nights find locals at a “pickin'” playing music around the town square. The season is from mid-April through late November.
In addition to music, the town is home to music stores, antique shops, and places to refuel such as at Tommy’s Famous Pizza, Kin Folks Bar-B-Q, and JoJo’s Catfish. The state’s largest craft cooperative, the Arkansas Craft Guild, is also headquartered in the historic downtown area and has a gallery there.
You can also take in the culture of the area at Ozark Folk Center State Park, which preserves Ozark heritage in music, crafts, and herbs, and presents it as living history. The park is also home to Loco Ropes, a state-of-the-art treetop adventure park experience, where you’ll find a ropes course with three different segments totaling more than 30 challenges to test your nerve, endurance, agility, and strength.
The town, located deep in the Ozarks is surrounded by mountains and rivers, offering outdoor activities that include caving at Blanchard Springs Caverns and trout fishing on the White River. The 50-mile Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail is also nearby. The trail is designated by the International Mountain Biking Association as an “Epic Ride.”