This past Saturday I took off for the 30th Annual Magnolia Blossom Festival and Steak Cook-Off Competition. My timing could not have been better as I slipped into a parking space near Central Baptist Church and made my way to the nearest ATM for a little walk around money before making my way onto the downtown square.
One of the things I truly love about Arkansas is walking the squares of our downtown districts. Many have fallen into disrepair but that was not the case in Magnolia this weekend. A few of the store owners were closed due to the festival but many of the shops were open and while you could tell that many of us were visitors, you could also plainly see that many of the folks knew each other and greeted one another warmly as neighbors.
I wandered through the annual car show and while cars are not really my “thing” even I could appreciate the beauty of these models and the strong sense of pride that beamed out of their owners who stood nearby happy to answer any questions about their prized possessions.
The beauty of the buildings also made me smile and showed the kind of thought and talent that went into and continues to flow into our little towns.
The festival brought back some fond memories for me and none quite so timely as seeing the icee station cause y’all, it was HOT out there!
Icee beverage in hand, I continued to explore and found my way over to the craft fair which included a mobile boutique based out of Murfreesboro, AR!
Around 4pm it was time to get serious about my strategy for obtaining my steak. Ticket in hand, I made my way around to tables to determine which teams had the tastiest free samples.
There were teams from all over the nation gathered vying for top honors and every sample I tasted had its own delicious story to tell.
This little guy was watching over his table while his other teammates prepped for the opening honk signaling the start of serving.
I hopped in the line for crawfish just in the nick of time claiming the second to last pound of succulent mud bugs while checking out one of the contestants in the Battle of the Bands.
But the real MVP of the day were the strategically placed cooling stations cause did I mention it was HOT!!!
In the end, the wait was worth it. Feast your eyes on my haul. Everything you see cost me $25.50.
I would be remiss if I did not give an honorable mention to these fellas who provided those of us walking between the car show and the square some of the best smooth groovin’ music I’ve heard in awhile. Thanks, fellas!
As I made the drive back to Hot Springs I marveled at how amazing it is that one teeny, tiny little state can continue to surprise and delight me with special moments like this festival. Special thanks to Exploring Arkansas with Chuck Dovish for highlighting this festival on the show awhile back and bringing it to my attention.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.