The Order of the Red Boar pose before the noon fight.
StateoftheOzarks Fest ’22
by StateoftheOzarks staff
StateoftheOzarks Fest ’22 took place Saturday, September 17, on Historic Downing Street in Hollister. The street festival is hosted by Hollister-based StateoftheOzarks.net and is the company’s sixth annual event.
“This was our biggest festival,” notes editor-in-chief, Joshua Heston. “We filled 87 booths on the street. It is also looking to be our best attended.”
An arena was constructed that morning to contain the festival’s live steel combat.
Heston works with publisher and Hollister Farmers Market manager Dale Grubaugh to create the festival. “Josh handles the marketing, mapping and promotion. I take care of infrastructure and working out a lot of internal logistics,” says Grubaugh. “We could not do this every year without the hardworking support of the FFA and the City.” Both men worked throughout Saturday, Grubaugh managing the farmers market spaces and Heston doing promotion and vendor care, as well as donning a number of costumes.
The Hollister FFA work tirelessly as festival volunteers beginning at 5AM.
“Cosplay [costume + play] is an emergent art form here in the Ozarks,” explains Heston. “We invite Feast of the Goblin King, Pure Wonder Idols, KAT’s Wonder Woman, and more to showcase the cosplay community.” Kirk Lewis, a medieval armorsmith, brought a number of Viking shields for display on the pedestrian mall.
KAT’s Wonder Woman with Joshua Heston, StateoftheOzarks editor-in-chief.
At noon and 5 p.m., live steel fighting group Order of the Red Boar fought inside an arena constructed in front of Hook & Ladder Pizza. Live steel fighting is distinguished from “live action role playing” (LARPing) as real weapons and armor are used and the fights are not choreographed. “Think mixed martial arts but with armor,” explains herald Clint Unruh. The Red Boar has been a regular at StateoftheOzarks Fest since the group’s founding in 2019. “We are a brotherhood of fighters,” says captain Timothy Hamel.
Brother Troy entertained the morning festival audience dressed as Waldo.
Music included Luke Acker, Brother Troy, Joel Telschow, Marshall Howden (Song of Hope), Katie and Joan Wright, harmonica player Edwin Woolsey of Willow Springs, and bard Quentin “Fluffykins” Johnson of Columbia, Mo. Branson Karate gave demonstrations, as did Hollister’s Premiere Dance with Elena Serykh. At 3 p.m., Queen City Beard & Moustache Federation hosted a competition (which included pets) as a fundraiser for the Branson Humane Society.
Davy Wilson (Jehu Knives, Wilson & Co. Barber Shop and Forged in Fire Champion), left, with Bill Petersen (Queen City Beard & Moustache Federation), right, during the beard competition.
Vendors at StateoftheOzarks Fest ’22 included a variety of traditional craftsmanship, fine arts, local businesses and area foods. “The vendors and demonstrators on the street reflect our member community,” explains Heston. “It’s very important to us to effectively represent the region and surprise guests at the same time.”
Ozarks’ author Michael Lloyd Gregory with his newly published LOYD: Tender Boy in a Rugged Land.
New vendors this year included Greg Miller’s GTM Woodcraft, BACK A YAAD Jamaican Grill, Turkey Creek Brewery, Deck Pizza, Joplin author Michael Lloyd Gregory, realtor Connie Haworth, Cole Crashin’ Events, Thorp Creek Private Shooting Range, Tantone Industries, Josh Huxtable’s Gentlemen’s Soap, and Lori Ann Johnson’s Celestial Garden Gems.
Greg Miller (GTM Woodcraft) at left, Joshua Heston at right.
“StateoftheOzarks Fest ’22 was the first time I’ve shown my work publicly,” says Greg Miller. “I had the opportunity to get the feedback from thousands of strangers. The ramifications of the festival have been impactful to say the least. I have decided to make the Ozarks my permanent home [as a result]. The event was a pure success personally and professionally.”
Chris Boyd (Blue Eye Woodcraft) is a returning craftsman demonstrator.
Returning artisans included Chris Boyd’s Blue Eye Woodcraft, Jennifer Judlin’s Fabric Collage, Flowers By Billie, German-born fine artist, Meike Aton, and Forged in Fire champion, Davy Wilson.
Bobby Mitchell, Smryna Baptist Church and Sugar Camp Bassets, worked throughout the day to provide free ice water to vendors, volunteers and the public.
Sponsors included City of Hollister, Victory Chiropractic, Patriot Heat & Air, First Community Bank of the Ozark, Hodges Insurance, Branson Globe, American Family Insurance – John Hagey, and the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce.
Zen Marler, FFA volunteer and official mascot handler, with Skye, StateoftheOzarks mascot and American Basset hound from Sugar Camp Farm.
“We are so grateful to be part of StateoftheOzarks Fest,” says Miranda Rought of Patriot Heat & Air. “Thank you to StateoftheOzarks for loving and supporting our wonderful community!”
StateoftheOzarks Fest ’23 is being planned for Saturday, September 16, 2023.