StateoftheOzarks Festival (SOTO FEST)

10AM to 6PM, Saturday, September 15, Downing Street, Historic Hollister, Missouri

This fall, State of the Ozarks will showcase a festival celebrating the hardworking people of the Ozarks hills that we call home.

On Saturday, September 15th (from 10AM to 6PM) in ol’ Historic downtown Hollister, Missouri, there will be a gathering of some of the Ozarks’ best and most hardworking craftsmen, dancers, musicians and townsfolk these historic hills have to offer.

In 1907, a book was published by Harold Bell Wright. The book’s title you ask? Shepherd of the Hills.

But today, a hundred years later, the Ozarks have been transformed into a hustle and bustle of tourism and industry, often setting aside the culture, cuisine, music, dance and just plain awesomeness of the Ozark Mountains.

State of the Ozarks (SOTO) — 111 years after Shepherd of the Hills was published — invites all folks who come to our community to know and experience what first brought people to the Ozark Mountains we love.

Come spend a day with us — a day full of fun, skits, crafts, kids’ activities and much more. There will be  dancers, history buffs….also REALLY buff guys lifting stuff, beard competitions, beer tasting, FOOD, Yoga, Cosplay…and MORE!

Remember if you’re not having fun at StateoftheOzarks, you’re missing a pulse!

— Ethen “Puck” DeMarce


Hollister, MO (June 15, 2018) — State of the Ozarks Media has scheduled the second annual StateoftheOzarks (SOTO) Fest for 10AM to 6PM, Saturday, September 15, 2018, in downtown Hollister. The festival team hopes to reprise the success of last year’s inaugural event. 

“It’s a time to come together as an Ozarks community and just celebrate our traditions and our differences,” says Dale Grubaugh, StateoftheOzarks publisher. “We surprised a lot of people last year but it was a good surprise and we plan to do that again.” SOTO Fest ’17 included a wide range of traditional and contemporary facets of Ozarks culture. 

SOTO Fest ‘18, which will span the length of Hollister’s historic Downing Street District, is scheduled to include traditional Ozarks craftsmen, progressive fine arts, a chalk walk, cosplay, Civil War re-enactors, historic dance, martial arts demonstrations, a zombie LARP, bluegrass jam sessions, a Queen City Beard and Mustache Federation competition, Zumba®, yoga, and strongman exhibitions. EcoHost, a Hollister-based band will debut with Civil War and Irish ballad songs done in electronic dance music style. White Hart’s Feast of the Goblin King will attend, as will Dragonfest Renaissance Faire benefiting Infinity Academy.

The 2017 festival included over 75 vendors. Hollister Police Department estimated attendance at over 5,000. “This event did not look like a first-year event,” says Rick Ziegenfuss, Hollister city administrator. “[SOTO Fest] looked like a veteran 10-year event.”

Joshua Heston, editor-in-chief of State of the Ozarks, notes he would “like to increase our number of vendors considerably this year and we are well on our way in establishing that goal.”

Festival sponsors include Victory Chiropractic, PostNet of Hollister, First Community Bank of the Ozarks, Commerce Bank, Renewal by Andersen Window Replacement, and the City of Hollister.

The festival is free to the public.

Meet the Team


Joshua Heston, editor in chief

Dale Grubaugh, publisher

Dale Grubaugh, publisher

Curtis Copeland

Curtis Copeland, infrastructure

Shawn Cash, Ozark potter

Shawn Cash, public relations

Bo and Tami Bandy

Tami Bandy, festival sponsorships

Christine Riutzel

Christine Riutzel, fine arts

Crystal Copeland

Crystal Copeland, street characters

Ethen Demarce

Ethen “Puck” DeMarce, social media

Brent Paschall

Brent Paschall, Civil War & living history

Jade Davis, Kom Hot Yoga

Jade Davis, yoga

Caleb Scott Strongman

Caleb Scott, strongman

Daniel Farnum

Daniel Farnum, Contra & English folk dance

Festival Sponsor

Oak Sponsor Victory Chiropractic

Victory Chiro

Festival Sponsor

Hollister, Missouri, City Hall

Oak Sponsor City of Hollister

Festival Sponsor

Renewal by Andersen

Cedar Sponsor Renewal by Andersen

Festival Sponsor

Cedar Sponsor First Community Bank of the Ozarks

Festival Sponsor

Commerce Bank

Cedar Sponsor Commerce Bank

About State of the Ozarks:

State of the Ozarks is an online publication that has been publishing every Sunday for the past 10 years. SOTO was birthed from the aspirations of Josh Heston, who understands the rich cultural heritage here in the Ozarks, and understand that it is separate and unique from many other areas in the country, it is its own state; the State of the Ozarks. Josh wanted to celebrate these differences and the people that make the Ozarks as unique and special as they are, this was the foundation for State of the Ozarks. The name derives from that exact idea. SOTO has many showcase sponsors, which are artist, craftsman, businessman, and others that share in this vision for the Ozarks and want to help share this wonderful history and story of the Ozarks. SOTO exist for these things.

Photos from 2017