Country’s Longest-Running Folk Festival Underway In Eureka Springs

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EUREKA SPRINGS (KFSM) -- The longest continuous-running folk festival in the country started Wednesday (Oct. 7) in Eureka Springs.

The 68th annual Ozark Folk Festival included a “Queen's Contest,” a decades-long tradition where high six school students competed for the title.

“We always do a little dance routine or skit. This year, in honor of Rita Coolidge in the 70s, they are doing a dance routine to the Bee Gee's ‘Stayin' Alive’”, Nancy Paddock, the producer of the festival, said.

The Queen’s Contest began one year after the first folk festival, making this the 67th competition.

“It's not as much of a beauty pageant, as a 'highlighting the best of the girls in Eureka Springs,'” Paddock said.

Eureka Springs seniors Naomi Floyd and Corinna Campbell-Green are both competing.

“I don't really think of pageants as tradition; I just feel like they're kind of superficial, and this is just a bunch of people who are all just wanting to be a part of something great,” Floyd said.

The girls needed to have more than dance moves -- each competitor also recited a speech.

"I'm really excited to express my message in a speech and also really excited to dance and have a little bit of fun,” Campbell-Green said.

The festival fun continues all weekend long with a parade and free music at the park.

Click here for a full schedule of events.