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For the first time in two years, Historic Cane Hill College will be open for those attending the Cane Hill Harvest Festival Sept. 16-17.

The community will celebrate its 31st annual festival with live music, crafts, food and a chance to look back at the past.

Cane Hill College reopened to the public in May following a 2½-year project to restore and refurbish the two-story brick building as part of a $1.4 million project by Historic Cane Hill Inc., a nonprofit organization. Cane Hill College was founded by Cumberland Presbyterians in 1834, and was the first collegiate institution of learning established in Arkansas.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other historic buildings will be open during the Festival and the public is invited to go into the Historic Cane Hill Museum, A.R. Carroll Drugstore and Methodist Manse building or stroll along the walking trail to learn more about the history of Cane Hill.

Along with the newly opened Cane Hill College, this year’s Cane Hill Harvest Festival will have other new events: free outdoor concerts from well-known recording artists and a Plein Air Painting Event with cash prizes.

The festival will feature nine outdoor concerts during the two-day event. Trout Fishing in America, a four-time Grammy nominee, will headline the day and perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

Live music will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and continue through 7:30 p.m. Other bands performing are Arkansauce (4-6 p.m.), Jack Williams (2-4 p.m.) and East of Zion (10 a.m.-noon).

Live music begins at 10 a.m. Sunday and closes with John Moreland as the headliner. Moreland, a singer-songwriter from Tulsa, Okla., will take the stage 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Plein Air Painting Event (or outside painting) offers a grand prize of $500 and a people’s choice award for $250. The $40 entry fee will help support the Cane Hill Museum, which is organizing the painting contest. Visitors to the Festival will be able to watch the artists as they paint outdoor scenes around historic Cane Hill.

Traditional activities and ever popular events at the Cane Hill Harvest Festival will continue this year.

Children will be able to enjoy a kids’ zone with an inflatable bounce castle, camel rides and face painting.

An all-you-can eat country breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday will be available as well as vendors presenting arts and crafts and vendors offering concessions. The Festival Committee will sell hot dogs and smoked links for lunch and during the afternoon.

Demonstrations will be featured and visitors can watch locals making sorghum molasses, lye soap and hominy plus watch others spinning and weaving.

The winner of a handmade quilt and door prizes will be announced beginning at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Judy Costello, Shiloh Museum’s education manager, will lead a living history performance by Heritage School youth dressed in costume from the 1800s beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“This year’s festival is expected to be the biggest and best one yet with nine free concerts from popular, big-name bands like Trout Fishing in America, Arkansauce and John Moreland,” said Tom Pennel, festival chairman. “The festival is also a great chance to see the newly renovated historic Cane Hill College Building.”

Pennel said he also expects the painting contest will be a big attraction for artists as well as visitors.

Admission is free. Parking will be handled by Lincoln FFA members and donations will be accepted.

The festival is held on the campus of Cane Hill College, which is located just west of Arkansas 45 about four miles south of U.S. 62 between Prairie Grove and Lincoln.

For more information, contact Tom Pennel, festival chairman, at 479-435-4622 or, or go to the website,

Print Headline: Cane Hill Festival set for Sept. 16-17

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