Missouri State University's Ozarks Celebration Festival marks 15 years as the event opens on Sept. 7 in Springfield. The talents and wares of more than 75 craftsmen and musicians will be on display, along with five entertainment stages featuring music, storytelling and dance.
"For the past 15 years Missouri State University's Ozarks Celebration Festival has paid tribute to the rich heritage and culture of the Ozarks," said Barb Jones, director of special events for the College of Arts and Letters. "We are proud to welcome everyone to our campus the week of Sept. 7-14 to experience the traditions, the stories, the crafts and the music that are uniquely 'The Ozarks.'"
The festival kicks-off Sept. 7 with the annual Concert Under the Stars and ice cream social from 5-10 p.m. at the John H. Keiser Amphitheater, located on the east lawn of Strong Hall. This year's concert will feature the Blackberry Winter Band, the HillBenders, and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
The Student Exhibition Center will debut a special exhibit entitled "Ozarks Celebration Festival: A Retrospective Exhibit," during a First Friday Art Walk reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 7. A Meet the Artists reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 8. The exhibit showcases traditional art and craftsmanship, and will be on display through Sept. 22.
A new open-mic performance stage will give local musicians the opportunity to share their music. Local artists are invited to sign-up for a performance time at the Seldom Heard Music Stage on Saturday and Sunday.
"There are several first time performers at the stages this year. I am very excited to announce that the Undergrass Boys have come back together for our festival," said Jones. "Long-time Ozarkers will remember them from their days of performing at Silver Dollar City."
The Young Fiddlers Concert will return again this year at 1 p.m. on Sept. 8 in Ellis Hall. The Festival Lecture Series, featuring authors, storytellers and historians from the Ozarks, begins Sept. 10 and will run through Sept. 12. All lectures will be held in Plaster Student Union, Room 313.
The Blackberry Winter Band will return for a special showing of the Academy Award-nominated film "Winter's Bone" at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Plaster Student Union Theater. Maridith Sisco and members of the band will provide commentary on the film.
The Ozarks Celebration Festival will conclude its festivities with the second annual Black Ties and Bluegrass fundraiser at 6 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Tower Club. Tickets are $35 per person or $500 for a reserved table of 10. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dinner and a special concert by the Undergrass Boys. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jones at (417) 836-6605.
Festival hours begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 7 and run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9. All events are free and open to the public.
During weekend festivities, free parking is available in lots near the corner of National and Monroe and all lots south of Grand. Shuttles will pick up at Bear Park North, Bear Park South, lots 14 and 24, and the visitor's parking lot.