The biannual Fall Arcadia Valley Mountain Music Festival returns this weekend for three days of free bluegrass, country and gospel music held on the grounds of the historic Iron County Courthouse in Ironton.

Starting Friday evening and continuing through Sunday afternoon, the Arcadia Valley Chamber of Commerce-sponsored festival also features a number of artisans, crafters and food vendors. It's described by event planners as "an old fashioned 'homegrown' celebration rarely found these days."

The fall edition of the festival is held the same weekend as the annual Arcadia Valley Missouri Fall Festival Parade which, at 91 years, is the longest running parade in the state of Missouri. The floats are built by parents and students in a competition that starts early in the school year and focuses on fundraisers to earn money for the floats and a talent competition held immediately before the crowning of the fall festival queen on Saturday night.

Featured musicians performing this weekend include:

— The Missouri Rounders are a group of long-time friends, each accomplished musicians who have performed with a number of different bands over the years. Individually and collectively, they have performed with respected artists such as John Hartford, Vassar Clemens, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Bluegrass Alliance, Benny Martin, and Vince Gill, to name a few.

— George Portz & Friends of Bluegrass was founded in 1978 and blends its fiery bluegrass roots with traditional Irish and Louisiana Cajun music. The band performs dozens of shows a year throughout southwest Illinois and eastern Missouri. A typical set contains bluegrass, traditional country, bayou/Cajun, and gospel music that entertains audiences of all ages. In addition, the band will be hosting a fiddle and banjo contest Saturday morning.

— Dead End Road is a Bluegrass group hailing from Bunker, Missouri. They are an award-winning energetic group with a phenomenal sound. Audiences love the performance this band brings to the stage. The combination of instruments and harmonies creates an amazing sound that is signature to the group.

— Mound City Slickers is one of St. Louis’ finest and best loved string bands. It's made up of veterans of other St. Louis groups.

— The Whitewater Bluegrass Band of Missouri is made up of musicians who used to — or still do — live within a few stone throws of the Whitewater River. They came together because they love playing music and now stay together because they're friends.

— Back Roads Bluegrass is a local band recently formed by Frank Ray, owner of Cedar Hill Bluegrass. Frank wanted to put a local band together to perform at local festivals and churches when Cedar Hill was not performing. His main focus is on playing bluegrass gospel.

Also appearing at this weekend's festival will be the Ozark Spirit Cloggers and the Arcadia Valley Pickers.

This year's festival sponsors include Ozarks Federal, Parkland HealthMart Pharmacy, Clark's Pharmacy, The Baptist Home, Missouri Arts Council, the Law Office of Brian Parker, The Mountain Echo, Amtrak, Bearcats and Great Southern Bank.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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