The Hootin an Hollarin Festival in Gainesville, one of the oldest of its kind in Missouri, begins each year on the third Thursday in September with a Queen Pageant at 7:30 p.m. Contestants, dressed in their best country dresses, delight the crowd with stories of how things used to be.
This year’s festivities will take place Sept. 21 through 23 on and around Gainesville’s Court Square.
Bluegrass, country and gospel music will entertain the visitors on the evenings of Sept. 21 and 22, and the music will continue afterward both nights for square dancing at 9 pm. Each evening ends with two to three hours of square dancing to the traditional tunes played by an Ozarks fiddler and band.
There are contests of all kinds during the festival: bed races, outhouse races, calling contests, quilt show, pet show and a pie contest, just to name a few. There's old-fashioned "brush arbor'' gospel singing in the gazebo, and old-time games and races for kids.
Hootin an Hollarin visitors can shop at a multitude of craft vendors' booths around the square and watch folks demonstrating old-time crafts. There are all sorts of food and drink choices offered including lemonade, root beer, kettle corn, ice cream, burgers, hotdogs, beans and cornbread, funnel cakes and barbecue.
The Costume Parade will take place at 11 a.m. Sept. 22, with all ages competing for the best old-time "Life in the Ozarks" dress. The Big Float and Band Parade will follow at 2 p.m.
This year will mark the 62nd year of the festival and organizers say there are plans for a great celebration. “All this Hootin an Hollarin is offered free to the public unless you decide to purchase a handcrafted item or some delicious food, of course,” they add.
Check out the Ozark County website, ozarkcounty.net, or the festival website, hootinanhollarin.com, for more information, and watch the Quill as the event draws near for a full schedule of events.