Clothes­line Fair Draws Thou­sands

CLOTHES­LINE: Fair En­ter­tains Thou­sands

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — Ven­dor Sharon Gil­bert of Dyer has set up her Craft Carousel booth at the Clothes­line Fair for al­most 36 years.

She’s been com­ing to the Fair since 1982, only miss­ing two years dur­ing that time.

“I love it,” Gil­bert said. “It’s like an ad­dic­tion.”

Gil­bert’s booth of­fers hand­made Fall dec­o­ra­tions and other items. She used to par­tic­i­pate in many shows every year; now she only at­tends four.

The Clothes­line Fair held at Prairie Grove Bat­tle­field State Park is her first one for the sea­son. Oth­ers are Fin and Feather at Lake Tenkiller in Ok­la­homa, Sharp Show at War Ea­gle and the Arkansas Ap­ple Fes­ti­val in Lin­coln.

“I have so many re­peat cus­tomers,” Gil­bert said. “I al­ways try to have some­thing new every year.”

The 67th an­nual Clothes­line Fair at­tracted thou­sands of peo­ple over the three-day La­bor Day week­end as vis­i­tors showed up for the square dance per­for­mances, orig­i­nal craft ven­dors, food and live mu­sic. Thrown in with all of that, vis­i­tors also had sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties to hear about Civil War his­tory and life dur­ing the Civil War years.

The Fair is spon­sored by Prairie Grove Lions Club. Arts Cen­ter of the Ozarks in Spring­dale co­or­di­nates the craft por­tion of the event and state park staff take care of the grounds and help with any other needs.

Lo­gan Beard, pres­i­dent of Prairie Grove Lions Club, said the non-profit group sees the Clothes­line Fair as a chance for the com­mu­nity to come to­gether and work to­gether. The Lions Club also al­lows sev­eral school groups to work dur­ing the Fair to earn money. School groups in­cluded ju­nior high cheer team, FCCLA, high school band and Pro­ject Grad­u­a­tion.

“I love the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment,” said Beard, who has been smok­ing chicken for the Lions Club for about 11 years. This year, club mem­bers smoked 750 chicken halves, along with turkey legs and slices of bologna, and served their food out of the Latta Barn.

The Lions Club also is in charge of food con­ces­sions and one push is to pro­vide a wider va­ri­ety of food choices each year to make the fair an even big­ger fes­ti­val. The 2018 fair had more than six food trucks.

Eve Smith with Arkansas Cen­ter of the Ozarks said about 150 ven­dors par­tic­i­pated in this year’s craft fair, with 300 booths open for vis­i­tors to browse through. The Cen­ter re­quires crafts for sale to be hand­made, not re­pur­posed, and Smith said she be­lieves that is an im­por­tant part of the show.

“I like the her­itage part,” Smith said. “Some of th­ese peo­ple have been com­ing here for 30 and 40 years and they look to the Art Cen­ter to keep up the art value of the show.”

One of the new­est ven­dors is Shane Glover of South­west Sil­hou­ettes of Well­ston, Okla. Glover cre­ates hand­crafted metal art. The 2018 Fair was his third year.

He re­turned this year, he said, be­cause the Clothes­line Fair brings in a great crowd and has one of the eas­i­est set­ups for ven­dors.

One vis­i­tor, Jill Orsene, of Daphne, said she al­ways comes to Fayetteville for the first Arkansas game and if it falls on La­bor Day week­end, her trip in­cludes the Clothes­line Fair.

She likes it be­cause crafts are hand­made, prices are rea­son­able and the park is not overly crowded, she said.


Randall and Cindy Ri­eff of Prairie Grove served as grand mar­shals for the 2018 Clothes­line Fair pa­rade. Randall Ri­eff is a Prairie Grove vol­un­teer fire­fighter and worked at the now Harps gro­cery store for more than 46 years. He re­ceived the city’s Buddy Lyle Cit­i­zen­ship Award in 2016. Cindy has worked at Dr. Bain’s dental of­fice for 32 years. They are both ac­tive mem­bers of Prairie Grove First United Methodist Church.


Camilla Ha­ley and Mat­tix Pinker­ton with Hicks and Hair­bows prom­e­nade dur­ing their ex­hi­bi­tion dance on Sept. 1.

Sparkles and Spurs square dance group used a clothes­line to hang their square dance dresses dur­ing the an­nual Clothes­line Fair pa­rade. The pa­rade had about 200 en­tries and about 86 square danc­ing floats. In ad­di­tion to the square dance groups, en­tries in­cluded trac­tors, an­tique and class ve­hi­cles, busi­nesses, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions and fire trucks.

Thou­sands of fans showed up to cheer on their fa­vorite com­pet­i­tive square dance groups on Mon­day, Sept. 3, at the Clothes­line Fair. This is only a snap­shot of what the au­di­ence looked like at the am­phithe­ater at Prairie Grove Bat­tle­field State Park.

Teresa Far­ring­ton, the “Oakie Artist,” of Poteau, Okla., draws a car­i­ca­ture of Jerred Birkes, Abe­gail Birkes and their son, Lukas, 2½ months old. Far­ring­ton has brought her tal­ents to the Clothes­line Fair for 18 years.

Jill Orsene of Daphne was in Fayetteville for the Ra­zor­back foot­ball game. She said she al­ways vis­its the Clothes­line Fair if the Ra­zor­backs’ first home game falls on La­bor Day week­end. She’s been com­ing to the Clothes­line Fair for about 11 years.

Rusty Relics of Mor­row al­ways brings trac­tors to the Clothes­line Fair, in­clud­ing this Model D John Deere trac­tor. Cal­lie McCoy, 12, of Ward, sits on the trac­tor for a photo by her fa­ther.

Denim and Daisies square dance group per­forms Satur­day, Sept. 1, dur­ing the Clothes­line Fair.

Kin­ley Ault and her square dance part­ner, Gun­nar Orona, with Bows and Britches per­form dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion dances at the Clothes­line Fair.

Ron St­inch­comb has em­ceed the square dance com­pe­ti­tion at the Clothes­line Fair for more than 20 years.

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