Over the course of two weeks, about 70 participants — showcasing local culture like foodways, music, dance and crafts — to the National Mall.
There were crafters and musicians, the latter bringing traditions from old-time folk tunes to The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ popular hits.
There were people whose families have lived in the Ozarks for generations alongside others who arrived far more recently, such as the Marshallese, whose greater Ozarks presence is now one of the largest communities outside of the Marshall Islands.
It was amazing to be part of this experience, one with built-in awe as you stood near the program’s space and saw the Washington Monument on one side and the U.S. Capitol on the other. While in D.C., I even had the chance to visit with Dean Thompson, chair of the CFO’s Board of Directors, who visited the festival with his family.
Even as days fade, I am confident that moments made on the Mall will continue long beyond the time they took to happen — both for folks who visited, but also for people from the Ozarks, who had the chance to have extended visit with others hyper-invested in the region.
In a lot of ways, it’s surreal to realize the festival is over.