The festival celebrates the fact that Mammoth Spring was the inspiration for the Grand Ole Opry.
The story has been told and retold regarding the events that led up to the celebration. George D. Hay was a newspaper reporter for the Commercial Appeal, a Memphis, Tenn., newspaper. He was in his mid-20s when the newspaper sent him to Mammoth Spring in 1919 to cover the funeral of a Marine war hero of World War I.
Hay wrote later that what he experienced in the Ozark hills changed his life. "I sauntered around the town, at the edge of which, hard by the Missouri line, there lived a truck farmer in an old railroad car. He had seven or eight children and his wife seemed to be very tired with the tremendous job of caring for them. We chatted for a few minutes and the man went to his place of abode and brought forth a fiddle and a bow. He invited me to attend a hoedown that neighbors were going to put on that night until the crack of dawn in a log cabin about a mile up a muddy road. He and two other old-time musicians furnished the earthy rhythm. No one in the world ever had more fun than those Ozark mountaineers did that night. It stuck with me until the idea became the Grand Ole Opry," Hay wrote.
George D. Hay was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.
This year's festival will feature an antique and classic car show behind Simmons First National Bank. Entry fee for the show is $15. All cars must be 1980 or older. The gates to the show will open at 9 a.m. and the cars will judged at 1 p.m. For more information regarding the car show contact Jennifer Crowe at 625-3225 of Jean Pace at 625-3518.
The Pake McEntire Show will be the festival's featured entertainment. He is the brother of Nashville recording star Reba McEntire. The show will be held Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. at Wood's Park across from the Mammoth Spring Fire Station. Those planning to attend the concert will need to bring their own lawn chair. For ticket information contact Mayor Jean Pace.
See next week's SMN for a full schedule of activities for the festival.