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The Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce’s second annual JamFest is returning just in time for Baxter County’s Sesquicentennial Celebration!
This year’s JamFest is partnering with the Baxter County Historical Society to bring pioneer reenactors, historical crafts, old-time kid’s games and traditional music to downtown Mountain Home in celebration of the county’s 150th birthday.
The festival will kick off on October 21.
“The biggest change this year is we’re now partnering with the Baxter County Historical Society to help with their Sesquicentennial Celebration,” said Chamber President Dani Pugsley. “That has become our big chamber leadership project this year. We’re helping to get all of the vendors; we’re taking care of all of the fees and stuff for them. Helping them promote it. Our leadership group is also working on putting a new mural downtown in celebration of the event.”
Pugsley said this year’s JamFest will see residents take a walk through a “historical timeline” of Baxter County, allowing the public to watch some of the county’s biggest moments be recreated by pioneer reenactors.
The timeline for the event will be based on Baxter County Justice of the Peace Mary Ann Edge’s research into the chronology of Baxter County’s history. Edge’s full Baxter County timeline can be found here.
In addition to the historical reenactments, JamFest will also have an interactive arts and crafts area hosted by local artist Chris Royer, as well as a kids play zone that will feature a bounce house. Some of Baxter County’s most popular food trucks will also be available for those wishing to catch a meal while attending the festival.
In addition to artist Chris Royer, Mountain Home paramedic and muralist Corey McMahon will be painting a new mural in downtown Mountain Home to celebrate the county’s big birthday.
JamFest will also have a “vendor alley” for local businesses and artists to pitch their goods to festival-goers. This year’s festival will also host its yearly jam competition. Those wishing to participate can sign up in one of three categories: sweet, savory and unique. Applications for vendors and the jam competition are still being accepted.
Live music for the festival will be provided by The Katie Laney Project, Natural State, Natural Disaster, and the Flippin Cotter Band.
All fees for JamFest and the Baxter County Historical Society are being paid for by Arvest Bank.
JamFest was born out of the Chamber’s rebranding campaign that was rolled out in Jan. 2022. The idea to hold the festival came about after Pugsley and members of the Chamber had a discussion with Dave Korinek of Magnetic, a design company based in California.
While traveling around Mountain Home, Korinek noted that Baxter County was home to a plethora of locally made jams and jellies and decided to pitch the idea of having a festival based around local jams to attract visitors during the fall months.
The idea was a hit, and JamFest would go on to host over 2,000 visitors during its first festival last year.
“He was like, Dani, what’s up with all the jam,” Pugsley said. “Everywhere we’ve gone, from the visitor center to all the little places we’ve stopped is selling jams and jellies. It became an inside joke with us and even made it into our branding video and now it’s turned into a festival.”