September 12, 2003
Barbecue and Music Part of Oct. 4 Osage Pumpkin Festival
By Jill M. Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
OSAGE -- Celebrating 25 years, the annual Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival,
which features a blend of food, music, crafts and, of course, pumpkins,
will take place Oct. 4 in Osage, located just off U.S. 412 in southern
Carroll County. Hours for the one-day festival are 9 a.m. to approximately
5 p.m. Admission and parking is free.
The event, known for its small-town and friendly atmosphere, serves as a
fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department. Beginning early in the
morning, Rick's Ribs of Alpena will begin preparing barbecue, which will
be for sale by the plate, Newt Lale, event coordinator, said. Lunch will
be served starting at 11 a.m.
"And the local churches and community organizations always come with
wonderful baked goods," Lale added.
Live music will be performed from 9 a.m. to about dark. A few of the
musicians already booked for the festival include the Coffee Brothers of
Harrison; Harmony from Mountain View; Sam Barr and Friends from
Berryville; Banjo Billy Mathews from Osage; and Ray Creasy, a
multi-talented musician from Nashville who currently resides in Denard.
Vendors are expected to set up about 50 booths at the festival, displaying
and selling both traditional and contemporary crafts. Booths are usually
still available the morning of the event at a cost of $20, and no
commission is charged.
Set in the center of the small festival is the 102-year-old Stamps
Historical Store, a two-and-a-half-story stone structure used for 88 years
as the community mercantile store. The building, which is listed on the
National Register of Historical Places, is now home to Osage Clayworks,
which is owned by Lale and features quality handmade pottery as well as
antiques and memorabilia.
Throughout the day during the Pumpkin Festival, Lale will demonstrate in
his studio the ways in which he creates functional pieces, such as
dinnerware, pitchers and coffee cups.
The Pumpkin Festival was the creation of Frank Stamps, former proprietor
of the Stamps Store, who died in 1988. Stamps wanted to share with others
the talent of local craftspeople and musicians. When Lale purchased the
Stamps Store, he said he also inherited the role of organizing the Pumpkin
Festival, since the store is still the hub of the event and town.
"This is really a low-key, neat event," Lale explained. "Real good music.
Real good food. Osage is a quaint community." He said many attend the
festival to see friends they haven't seen in years and to see if the store
"We have ledgers back to 1902," he said. When people come in discussing
ancestors who lived in the area, Lale said with a laugh, "we pull it out
and tell what Uncle Bob bought in 1904 and check whether he paid his bill
Festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The pumpkin festival
is always the first Saturday in October. Osage is located just south of
U.S. 412 on Ark. 103, 20 miles west of Harrison or 20 miles east of
Huntsville. For more information, contact Newt Lale by phone at (870)
553-2513 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. A picture of the Stamps Store
can be viewed on Lale's web site, www.osageclayworks.com.
Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"
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