Park brings past to present for annual Jonquil Festival

Local News

A local park is inviting families to step back in time for an annual event. 

History is in full bloom this weekend at Historic Washington State Park. 

“This time of year the park is just filled with all these amazing flowers, so it’s just something fun to do,” said Holly Ballard a park employee. 

The jonquil flowers planted by families during the pioneer days come back year after year. Inspiring this annual event, the Jonquil Festival. It’s three days of family-friendly activities. 

Like blacksmithing, where 6-year-old Parker Hensley created an “S” shape. 

“We hammered it, and I got to pull the handle,” said Hensley. 

Plus, there are plenty of food vendors. 

“They have corn dogs, lemonade, funnel cakes, turkey on a stick,” said Ballard. 

Dozens of craft booths are also on-site. Ruth Field is selling hand-woven rugs.  

“It’s been very busy,” said Field. “People have been very interested. They love these.”

It’s all an effort to bring the past to the present. 

“Just the way they did things, how they lived simpler lives,” said Mary Rodgers, a volunteer. “There’s just a lot of things that maybe we have forgotten.”

It’s also a chance to share some pioneer history with the 10,000 people expected to attend, to gain a greater appreciation for how far we’ve come. 

“I know when I get out of this dress at the end of every day I appreciate a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt a lot,” said Rodgers. 

“To kind of keep a perspective on what life used to be compared to what it is now,” said Ballard. “Like, we don’t want to lose where we came from, basically.”

All the revenue generated through the event goes to help Arkansas State Parks and the community. 

This is the 51st year for the Jonquil Festival. The event runs through Sunday. 

Country star Buddy Jewell will perform a free concert 7 p.m. Saturday at the park. 

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