The origins of Memorial Day may be clouded in folklore and myth, but no one disputes that this holiday began shortly after the Civil War (1865 or 1866) as a day to remember and honor those who died in war. The focus of the day, originally known as Decoration Day, is solemn, but as with all community events there is joy in gathering together to work on projects. People pitched in together to clean cemeteries. Gardens bloom in abundance this time of year and ladies and children gathered flowers to brighten graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. As time went on, this included not just war dead, but a memorial to all the ancestors buried there. Food was brought and memories were shared.

The modern Memorial Day has lost much of its community flavor and become just the date to start summer. This year, why not look back in time this holiday weekend and enjoy some of the traditions of yesterday. The Ozark Folk Center State Park is dedicated to sharing the crafts, music and spirit of community that was the focus of life in the Ozarks between the Civil War and World War 1. Bring your family and spend a relaxing day seeing how people in those times made the things they needed to live their lives. You can learn how to make a candle, spin yarn for a blanket, stir up soap, weave a basket, make a knife or assemble a gun. Visit our Heritage Herb Garden in all its glory. Take this Memorial Day to build your own memories.


The Craft Village at the Ozark Folk Center State Park is open Tuesday, May 21 through Monday, May 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the Memorial Day Holiday. We have a special Civil War on the Sylamore program Sunday evening, May 26 and a traveling Civil War Exhibit in the Administration Building Lobby throughout the week. We are currently undergoing sidewalk construction, so tickets to the Craft Village are half-price. That’s $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Evening concerts are Wednesday – Saturday at 7:00. Concert tickets are $12.00.


For more information call the Ozark Folk Center at 870-269-3851 or visit the web site at