Entries - Entry Category: Folklore and Folklife - Starting with F

Festivals and Parades

Arkansas hosts a variety of annual festivals, fairs, and parades throughout the year. Some of the more well-known affairs, such as the Hope Watermelon Festival or the Arkansas Apple Festival, celebrate the centrality of agriculture to both local life and the wider state economy. Others celebrate some aspect of industry that is central to town life, such as the Malvern Brickfest or the Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival. A number of festivals focus upon arts and crafts, music, and movies, as well as an array of holiday-related celebrations centering upon Christmas or Independence Day. In addition, such events as Toad Suck Daze or the Lepanto Terrapin Derby simply provide opportunities for amusement.    For additional information: Arkansas South. http://www.arkansassouth.com/ …

Feuds

A feud (sometimes referred to as a vendetta or private war) is a long-running argument or period of animosity, especially between families or clans. Feuds usually begin over a perceived injustice or insult. The feud cycle is fueled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence that often escalates into a “blood feud,” in which the cycle of violence involves the relatives of someone who has been killed or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing the culprits or their relatives. In theory, the cycle of killing continues until one entire family has been killed. Arkansas has had its share of feuds, particularly in the Ozark Mountains region of the state. Pioneers who came west from the southern Appalachian Mountains at the beginning …

Folk Music

Folk music is part of a society’s “unofficial culture,” much of which is passed on through face-to-face contact among close-knit people. Early folk music in Arkansas falls into two broad categories: folksongs (which do not present a narrative) and ballads (which tell a story). Folksong collectors sought to record and preserve this traditional music in the twentieth century, with Vance Randolph, John Quincy Wolf, and others working in Arkansas. The lyric folksong form of the blues developed in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta regions in the late nineteenth century among the first generation of African Americans to come of age after slavery. Protest music of the early to mid-twentieth century, dealing with labor and social conditions—as well as war, civil rights, and …

Folklore and Folklife

When English antiquarian William J. Thoms introduced his new coinage “folk-lore” in 1846, he intended it as a “good Saxon substitute” for “popular antiquities,” a Latinate term that referred to the manners and customs of the “olden time.” Although subsequent folklore scholars have recognized that their subject is an ever-changing, modern phenomenon, the association of folklore with antiquity has often sent folklorists to people and places that seem to lie outside the mainstream of cultural development and where, they assume, a way of life untouched by modernization and globalization endures. In the United States, the “folk” were those who lived in isolation as a result especially of geography but sometimes of ethnicity or another distinguishing factor. Arkansas, especially its Ozark …

Food and Foodways

Because nutrition is essential to human survival, the production and consumption of food has been central to life in what is now Arkansas for more than ten thousand years. Evolving social customs dictate when, where, and how food is presented. Because of Arkansas’s ties to rest of the South, as well as to the Southwest and Midwest, the core components of local food preparation followed traditional “American” lines, with little impact being felt from the small immigrant population. The globalization of food, mostly via restaurants, came generally after 1960. Prehistory The first humans in Arkansas, the Paleoindians, were hunter-gatherers. Despite Arkansas’s lack of excavated and analyzed sites, evidence from adjacent areas suggests that besides hunting the now-extinct mega animals (mammoths, …

Fouke Monster

Fouke (Miller County) is a small town in southwest Arkansas that attracted attention in the early 1970s when a resident of Texarkana (Miller County) reported being attacked by a mysterious creature there. A reporter for the Texarkana Gazette wrote an article about the events, and from that small publication, a legend was born. Fouke and its monster became famous and were featured in a 1973 movie. In May 1971, Bobby Ford reported to the Fouke constable that he was attacked at his house by a hairy creature that breathed heavily, had red eyes, and moved very fast. Ford said the man-like creature, which was about seven feet tall and three feet across the chest, put its arm around his shoulder …

Franke’s Cafeteria

Franke’s Cafeteria was established by C. A. Franke in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1924. It is widely recognized as a culinary institution in the city and is one of the oldest restaurants in Arkansas. After leaving the military, C. A. Franke opened a doughnut shop in 1919 on West Capitol Avenue and then a bakery at 111 West 3rd Street in 1922. After determining that bakeries would soon spread and start competing with his own, he sold the bakery to Safeway and switched to the cafeteria business. He opened the first Franke’s Cafeteria in 1924 at 115 West Capitol. Since the 1920s, the cafeteria has seen four generations of Franke family members take the helm of the business. C. …

Fried Dill Pickles

In 1960, Bernell “Fatman” Austin (born on February 26,1921) leased a parcel of land east of Atkins (Pope County) from Griffin Oil Co. for ten dollars a month and began building a drive-in restaurant. The Duchess Drive In, a small pink building, opened for business in April 1960, just across the highway from Atkins Pickle Plant, the pickle capital of Arkansas. As business increased, with U.S. 64 being the main road to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Austin started toying with the idea of a gimmick to attract additional business. The first fried dill pickles ever sold anywhere were sold in the summer of 1963 at fifteen cents for an order of fifteen hamburger slices. They still did not taste or …

Funeral Customs, Traditional (Ozark Mountains)

Settlers to the Arkansas Ozarks brought burial traditions with them from their home states of Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Prior to the establishment of a funeral industry with undertakers, embalmers, and factory-made caskets, every job associated with burial was handled by members of the deceased’s community. This work required practical know-how, physical strength, and access to materials, and was influenced by religious custom, folklore, and superstition. The modern death-care industry evolved from the trade of cabinet making, when stores that made and sold furniture added wooden coffins and caskets to their wares. By the late 1800s, many such businesses also offered the use of elaborate, horse-drawn hearses; burial goods (such as shrouds); and, later, embalming. The Arkansas …