37th ANNUAL ARKANSAS BEAN FEST AND CHAMPIONSHIP OUTHOUSE RACE
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, Cajun 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 6 p.m. Music will resume on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 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 North side 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 Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 driver 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 KWOZ 103.3 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.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.