37th annual Arkansas Bean Fest and Championship Outhouse Races

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A hint of autumn in the air means outhouse racers are being constructed and bean recipes are being perfected for the Bean Fest and Outhouse Races to be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26 in Mountain View.

Now in its 37th year, the festival has proved itself one of the most exciting and outrageous around, drawing thousands to the small Ozarks town for music, pinto beans and cornbread, and the spectacle created by the outhouse racing teams.

Live music on the courthouse square offers a mix of folk, bluegrass, country and gospel styles, a tradition that has distinguished Mountain View for decades. Scheduled music performances take place on the courthouse stage on Friday from noon until 5 p.m. The opening ceremony will be at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday and music will resume from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Impromptu groups will appear at all hours on the court square and adjacent lots, and area music theaters offer a variety of family entertainment in the evenings. 

Early Saturday morning the fires are lit under 30 large cast-iron pots loaded down with 2,000 lbs. of pinto beans on the west side of the court square. The festival theme becomes apparent in the costumes and displays of the cooking teams, who sometimes dress as clowns or ghouls to compete for the title of Best Beans.

The Northside of the Courtsquare will feature the Bean Fest Artisans Market on the Square, offering handmade goods from local and regional crafters. The market will be open on Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The east side of the court square (Peabody Ave.) will feature artists from all over the region. You can find handmade jewelry, wood crafts, apothecary items and much more! Vendors will open on Friday at 11:30 am and Saturday at 9 am. (No set close time for vendors.) 

By mid-morning, the aroma from the simmering beans fills the air and visitors are drawn to the cooking area to await the noon dinner bell when cups of beans are served. 

Things step up a notch with the Parade of Outhouses around 1 p.m. The crowd gathers to cheer for their favorite “people-powered potty” team of drivers and pushers. The wheeled outhouses are outfitted with a steering device for the driver (while sitting on a potty seat), with power provided by two pushers.  Teams get into the spirit by dressing in costumes to fit the theme of their privy.

All sense of decorum is abandoned as the racers line up and run in heats on Jefferson Street south of the court square to determine the fastest privy in the Ozarks.  Teams compete for the revered Gold, Silver, and Bronze toilet seat awards and cash prizes.

Scheduled activities also include the Arkansas 103.03 KWOZ Talent Contest on the courthouse stage Saturday at 2 p.m.

Other fun things to do in Mountain View include shopping with local merchants and crafts vendors, attending music theater shows, and visiting the Ozark Folk Center State Park. The Folk Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for visitors to watch crafts demonstrations and listen to traditional music. Free shuttle service will be available from the Ozark Folk Center to the court square throughout the day Saturday, and visitors are encouraged to park at the Ozark Folk Center and ride the shuttle downtown.

Blanchard Springs Caverns will also be open for those who love to see underground beauty.  For those wanting to experience a refreshing fall day outdoors, the Syllamo Bike Trail and Sylamore Hiking Trail are options, as are excursions on White River, famous for its trout fishing and scenic beauty.

For more information about the event or the Mountain View area, visit the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce website at YourPlaceintheMountains.com or call the Mountain View Chamber toll-free at (888) 679-2859. 

Ad paid for in part by state and Ozark Gateway regional funds. Call 1-800-274-0316.

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