Arrow Rock opens window to the past with heritage festival
ARROW ROCK - A window to the past was opened at the 49th annual Arrow Rock Heritage Festival. Over 70 talented artisans, merchants, crafters and food vendors lined Main Street to give attendees a blast from the past.
The popular festival is one of the most enduring heritage craft festivals in the state of Missouri; it showcases crafters, who dressed in period attire, demonstrating skills and artistry that were once an essential part of daily life for our ancestors. Some of these skills include spinning, weaving, pottery, woodworking, blacksmithing and more.
Attendees had the opportunity to visit with the reenactors at the Arrow Rock Stock and Trade Company encampment, watch Wild West shootouts performed by the South Fork Regulators and observe demonstrations of gun smithing and herbal medicine. They also got to take in guild shows featuring quilting, weaving and painting, tour historic buildings, and listen to the music of performers that included Tanner Lee, Lem Sheppard and Paul Fotsch. All of the attractions, both educational and exciting, were made possible through support from the Missouri Arts Council and Friends of Arrow Rock.
This is Dan Auman's fourth year as the organizer and manager of the festival. He is always amazed at the amount of people that flock to the tiny village.
"It's kind of crazy for us because a town that only has 52 residents now...there are usually 3,000 people here for both days of the show," Auman said. "So, it's pretty crazy. There's a lot of management involved."
Organizers start planning and laying the ground work for the festival a year in advance. Auman is very thankful for the help he receives each year.
"We have a lot of help because the state takes care of all the parking and logistics and stuff like that," Auman said. "And then we look for better vendors year after year after year, but that doesn't seem to be a problem."
Katie Kurtz, an 11-year-old, is a regular at the festival. She enjoys all the creativity that is present each year.
"I like walking around and seeing what other people have in their heads," Kurtz said. "Like different ideas and really cool things...the music and then the acts that they have down in the street. That's most of it."
Kurtz was also one of the vendors at the festival. Her booth contained magic wands that she had made and decided to sell; she says that her love for fiction and fantasy inspired her to craft wands.
"[My family and I were] watching a movie, like a fiction movie, and it was about [wizardry] and magic," Kurtz said. "And my dad said something [like] 'that would be really cool if you made wands or something magical related to the movie,' and I was like, that's a really good idea. So I started making wands because of my love for fiction. That was the start of the business."