Ozark Folk Center State Park Voted Venue of the Year at 2018 Arkansas Country Music Awards

The Ozark Folk Center State Park received the award for “VENUE of the Year” at the inaugural Arkansas Country Music Awards show hosted by Collin Raye last Monday, June 4,  at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Over 100,000 online ballots were cast by voters across the state for their favorite Arkansas musicians, promoters, and entertainers, according to Nathan Hunnicutt, the event’s producer. The award show’s audience, which was a veritable “who’s who” of Arkansas legends and up-and-coming artists, included family members of Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell.

Miss Arkansas, who hosted the VIP Red Carpet Event before the awards ceremony, congratulated Ozark Folk Center staffers Daren Dortin and Keith Symanowitz during their interview which was recorded for rebroadcast on AETN and Little Rock television networks.

Daren Dortin, Music Director at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, recognized Jimmy Driftwood, one of the founding fathers of the Ozark Folk Center, during his acceptance speech, and Keith Symanowitz, the park’s newest Program Specialist had this to say after the awards ceremony:

“We accepted the award for all the Ozark folks past and present who kept Mountain Music alive in their hearts all these years. Locals in Mountain View have been playing their tunes and songs on the [Ozark Folk Center] stage for the past 45 years and counting, and we accepted this award with them in mind.”

Bonnie Montgomery, who performed as a Feature Performer at the Ozark Folk Center last month took home two awards including AMERICANA/ROOTS Artist of the Year and FEMALE VOCALIST of the Year. The park will be hosting up-and-coming performer and recipient of ACOUSTIC ACT of the Year, Caleb Ryan Martin, on Wednesday, June 13 for a matinee performance from 2-3pm in their artisan Craft Village.

The Ozark Folk Center State Park auditorium hosts performances every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from 7-9 pm throughout the season. For more information, go to OzarkFolkCenter.com or to reserve tickets for upcoming Feature Performers visit OzarkFolkCenter.TicketLeap.com.

Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.