Some things go together naturally like pork chops and applesauce, macaroni and cheese, chocolate and peanut butter, or Tiger Woods and… well, let’s go with “golf.” Imagine an amazing place where you can eat your fill of wonderfully slow cooked beans, and then participate in a city-wide contest of Outhouse Racing! Beans and toilets, can it get any better than that?
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas
Dates: Last Weekend in October
Closest Big Cities: Little Rock, Arkansas
Star of the show: Pinto Beans
Events: Beenie Weenie Dog Show, Bean Cookoff, Outhouse Races, Talent Show
Duration: Three days
Music: A Unique mix of Blues, Cajun, Bluegrass, and Gospel
Pageantry: Miss “Bean Queen” is elected!
I absolutely adore a slow cooked pot of fresh, dried, pinto beans, with a few ham hocks tossed in for added flavor or some smoked pork belly. Serve that with some homemade cornbread and you have one of the finest meals in the world. Imagine walking around the town square as dozens of enormous cast iron pots sit, simmering, above an open flame. Enjoy the heady smell of smoky pork and savory spices wafting around, mixing with the aroma of the fall season’s harvest winding its way down from the Ozark Mountains. Colorful teams of characters light their fires when the first rooster crows before dawn, and they spend their time stirring their pots, telling their stories, and generally putting their feet up and laughing the day away.
This festival celebrates everything that is simple in the world and as you walk around and meet the locals, it doesn’t take very long to learn that very few of them take themselves (or anything else) very seriously during this particular weekend. I mean, where else would be “proud” of your grandma for donning a pair of diapers, a long sleeping cap, and some rubber boots, before climbing into the “driver’s seat” of an outhouse on wheels?
So if your travels take you to northern Arkansas or Southern Missouri this fall, put this festival on your weekend calendar! You’ll be glad you did.
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