What do you do for fun in rural America? In my Daddy's day, they went to the county seat of Yellville for an evening. The young people would park around the square and visit, go to the diner on the corner, or to the drug store for a soda and ice cream. Daddy told me that there used to be a movie theater that was open every Saturday evening, and occasionally there would even be a cart selling snake oil set up on a corner. And most Saturday nights there was a dance in one of the local schools.
In my day, most of these entertainments had dried up. In the 1970s, the movie theater in Harrison (about 30 miles away) was the only entertainment in the offing. If there were no good movies playing, dates with my high school sweetheart and future husband were limited to lots of long walks or going to the mall next to the theater and looking at the record albums for sale. (Record albums? What are those?)
But today, local entertainment has returned to our county seat. Every Saturday night starting the second Saturday in May and going until Labor Day weekend, Yellville presents a free event. Music on the Square features local musicians who play on a mobile stage parked at one corner of the square and the area in front is left free for a dance floor. The local farmers market sets up around the courthouse lawns and everyone comes for shopping and good music. Kids play games on the courthouse lawn, and dogs go for a stroll as owners listen to the music, shop at the stands, and stop to visit with each other. Occasionally, a few food fenders set up shop, but there are several wonderful restaurants around town as well, with Laura's Mexican Kitchen and Razorback Ribs being two of the best places in the county.
A few weeks ago, I went down for an evening. I saw lots of neighbors and old friends and I met many wonderful and interesting vendors as I wandered around the square. I love farmers markets! The smell of fresh produce lined up in boxes or on tables. All the things you can't quite get to grow yourself, or maybe have never grown at all. You can't beat the taste. And, you never know what interesting new item you will come across.
A close neighbor, Jane Reed, was selling a wonderful ointment that she has used for years. I have used it myself and can swear by it. Its called Green Magic and is good for all manner of sprains, bruises, and stings. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next to her was Back To Roots. Kim Rogers sells handmade lotion bars, lip balm, bath products, and some really lovely jewelry. I have used her lotion bar and highly recommend it. Her website is https://www.etsy.com/shop/backtorootsbykim. She can also be found on Facebook.
Sew'l Sista was next. Peggy Moody had some lovely quilted things. She takes blankets, tie-dyes them, then quilts on them making a truly unique piece. She can be found on Facebook under Peggy Moody Quilts.
And of course, I couldn't pass by the homemade soap stand. Purely Pam's' Goat Milk Soap and Lotions is one of my favorite booths. I adore homemade soaps and Pam makes some of the best. Her email is email@example.com.
I also met a local woman who sells heirloom plants and seeds. Springfed Farm has a very impressive array of plants.
On the bandstand that night was a bluegrass trio that was quite good. All kinds of music is featured, my favorite being The Melodikats — a group containing Ed King, whom I went to school with. (That's Ed, third from the left, with his wife Vonda — his own high school sweetheart.) They are named after the musical instrument the melodica, which band member Pete Adams plays. They can be found on Facebook or on their website at http://www.melodikats.com/Melodikats.com/Welcome.html, and are well worth coming to hear if you love the music of the 1970s and early 80s.
Lots of small towns here have a music night during the summer, and there are lots of farmers markets in the area. But Yellville is the only town around here that combines both for a charming festival setting every weekend that is well worth the trip. So, stop by some Saturday and enjoy the fun. You won't regret it!