...and April Fools' Day

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Operabilly

Operabilly is a genre of music unique to the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas. The term “operabilly” is a compound of “opera” and “hillbilly,” thus indicating a fusion of traditional operatic elements and themes with the motifs and musical sensibilities of Ozark Mountain dwellers. Its foothold in Arkansas’s rich musical history includes performances of My Damn Butterfly and the controversial naming of a stretch of Arkansas highway the highfalutin “Opera Highway 23,” rather than the more accurate “Operabilly Highway 23.” While there have long been so-called “hillbilly opera” productions, these have primarily been comedy productions lampooning the people of Appalachia and the Ozarks through a contrast of low, hillbilly culture with the highbrow word “opera.” True operabilly, by contrast, preserves …

Ouachitater Buffaloes

The Ouachitater Buffaloes are a group of approximately twenty-four water buffaloes, living on the banks of Lake Ouachita in Garland County, that were presented to Arkansas by officials in the Vietnamese government as an overture of peace and reconciliation between Vietnam and the United States. Known officially as the Lake Ouachita Water Buffaloes, they have assumed the popular appellation of “Ouachitater Buffaloes” on account of a popular slurring of the words “Ouachita” and “water.” The Vietnamese government developed the idea of presenting some token of peace to the state of Arkansas following President Bill Clinton’s historic trip to Vietnam in 2000. After much debate, Vietnam’s National Assembly finally voted on January 15, 2001, to present to President Clinton’s home state …