White River

Cotter Trout Festival this Weekend

Posted by John Berry on May 3rd, 2012
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The Cotter Trout Festival is this week on Friday May 4, 2012 and Saturday May 5, 2012. This particular festival is close to my heart. It is held in my home town of Cotter, Arkansas at Big Spring Park. It is sponsored by the Cotter Chamber of Commerce, an organization, where I once served as president. I was at one time very actively involved with the festival and even served as the chairman of the festival committee for two years.

Opening ceremonies are at noon on Friday with an appearance of the Cotter High School Choir. There are over fifty food and craft vendors scheduled to be there and there will be live entertainment throughout the festival supplied by various local entertainers. For the anglers, there will be fly casting, fly tying and spin casting demonstrations. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be well represented with their trout tank, stocking raft, shocking boat and information on their HOFNOD program (hooked on fishing not drugs). Friday’s activities close with a barbeque dinner.

Saturday’s festivities begin early with a breakfast from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM served by the Cotter VFW. The annual parade begins at 9:00 AM. It proceeds down Harding Boulevard to the festival site in Big Spring Park. This is especially popular with the kids who line the parade route. Saturday is family day with loads of activities that appeal to kids and grownups. There is the kid’s fishing hole (rods and reels and all of the gear is furnished). For children interested in crafts there is the Lowes craft project and the Master Gardener’s project. There will be demonstrations throughout the day and of course live entertainment supplied by local musicians.

The Lions Club is sponsoring a duck race from 1:00 PM through 4:00 PM with the ducks racing down Big Spring Creek. I should note that the ducks are plastic toys designed for the bath tub and not live ducks. Tickets are available throughout the festival. Saturday’s events end with a traditional fish fry.

The major feature of the festival is the Fourth Annual Plein Air on the White River sponsored by the White River Artists (a 501 C3 not for profit organization). Plein Air is a French term for in the open air and refers to painting natural subjects in the outdoors. It was popularized by impressionistic painters in the nineteenth century. The White River Artists is a group organized a few years ago by local artists, Duane Hada and Sandy Barksdale. Its mission statement is: To inform, encourage, and educate regional artists and the general public about the personal rewards and creative opportunities associated with plein air painting. The event will be held over three days and culminate in artists painting and drawing around Cotter on Friday and Saturday. There are several local artists and others from a four state area scheduled to participate. The results will be judged and there are some very nice cash prizes.
On Friday May 4 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, over thirty artists will participate in a one hour Quick Draw event. During this period the various artists will produce an original painting from start to finish. The public is encouraged to observe the complete process. Each artist will be painting a park scene of their choosing. At 5:00 PM, the paintings will be judged and offered for sale during the Cotter Trout Festival barbeque dinner.
On Saturday, May 5, the White River Artists will host an open house, reception, art show, and sale from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Old Cotter Methodist Church at Third Street and Combs Avenue in Cotter. All paintings will be framed and ready to hang. This is a great opportunity to view and buy original artwork of local scenes and meet the artists. This is just one block from my house. I am sure to attend.
This is a great event. I wonder if the Cotter Trout Festival should change its name to the Cotter Arts festival. Whatever its name is it is sure to be a great event. I hope to see you there!

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