Folk festival allows visitors to step back into pioneer days

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HOWARD COUNTY - The Boonslick Folk Festival will take place today to celebrate the rich history of the Boonslick area.

Despite its importance, this rich history is little known to many of the residents who live in the area surrounding the Boone's Lick State Historic Site

Frontiersmen discovered the saltwater springs in the early 1800s. They were unsure why the animals were licking the ground in certain places, until they took a closer look. They realized the springs were saltwater, and salt was an important commodity in those days. 

The pioneers set up a thriving salt production settlement around the largest of the springs. Daniel Boone's sons were the co-founders of the area and the phrase "Boone's Lick" (or Boonslick) was born. 

The Boonslick Area Tourism Council, which is made up of members from Howard, Cooper, and Saline counties, started the festival 12 years ago to bring people from all over the Midwest together to have fun and learn about the area's history. 

Last year the event brought in over 800 people from around the Midwest.

The Boonslick Folk Festival is also an event that reminds folks what the little known place was like in its prime. 

"We're very proud of the rich heritage and culture of this area and we're afraid not too many people are aware of how much history there actually is," said event coordinator Connie Shay. "So this is our way of giving back to the community by bringing people in and showing them that this is really a beautiful place."

Visitors to the festival can expect to see everything from blacksmithing to weaving to traditional artifacts such as handmade flutes and Native American trinkets. There will also be a presentation on the salt mining that used to make the area famous.

The festival will start at 10 a.m. and go until 4 p.m.