CAROLING IN THE CAVERNS
December 1, 2018
The world keeps turning and the years keep flying by. Maybe you've noticed that. Given that information, we thought we should head out to Mountain View, AR, and the even smaller community of Fifty-Six, AR, in the Ozark Mountains. The day began in dreary, stormy conditions. We waited but hit the soggy trail when the skies began to lift. And lift they did! To a blazing sun and high winds! It's over 200 miles from where we sit, but when Caroling in the Caverns is in the plans, nothing could keep us away.
The Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce provides the grandest introduction to the Christmas season. They decorate their town square, provide carolers and dancers for the chilly night at the courthouse, and arrange for the Visitor's Center at Blanchard Springs to provide caroling in the wonderful caverns at Blanchard Springs in tiny Fifty-Six, AR. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is caroling each Saturday and Sunday.
Visitor's Center Blanchard Springs, AR
This year, the last opportunity to hear the music is Sunday, December 16, 2018. You will need tickets, so if they aren't sold out, grab tickets and head on over for the treat of a lifetime. Enter the visitor's center, show your tickets, pick up a seat cushion (damp in the cave), and wait for the elevator to take you down about 215 feet to the beautifully-lighted caverns below. You sit in the stands on your cushion and gaze at God's handiwork of some 50 million years or so, and await the carolers who have selected wonderful songs of the season. No flash photos, please. We have a cave to preserve here!
View of cavern from the stands
View of cavern, different angle
As you leave the visitor's center, you will need to walk on a shallow pad of water, Lysol(r), and Woolite(r). That recipe cleans off the soles of your shoes in an effort to prevent white-nose syndrome in bats. The
cave is free of the deadly bat syndrome , and they are trying to keep it clean and the bats healthy. So squish along and head out to the parking lot with your memories, your family and friends.
When the stands are filled, the carolers enter from behind your seating. This year's carolers are: Pam Setser (dulcimer, guitar, spoons, vocals), Mary Gillihan (comedy, vocals), Robert Gillihan (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Ron Haines (guitar, vocals), Matt Jones (vocals), and Irl Hees (upright bass, vocals). We thank them for their giving spirit as they share their season with us.
2017 Photo of the Carolers
L to R: Irl Hees, Unidentified Photo Bomber, Ron Haines,
Matt Jones, Pam Setser, Mary Gillihan, Robert Gillihan
This year's set: Hallelujah He Is Born, Joy to the World, Christmas Is a Blessing (Thank You Lord for Christmas Day), Jesus Shall Be His Name (Ron, Pam), Do You Hear What I Hear?, New Kid in Town (Pam), Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Mary Did You Know?, O Holy Night (Matt Jones from somewhere deep in the cavern), I'll Be Home With Bells On, Mr. Grinch (Ron and Pam), Jolly Old St. Nicholas (Mary and Robert), Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Deck the Halls, I'll Be Home for Christmas (Pam), Ozark Version of The Twelve Days of Christmas (hilarious!), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas (Pam, Mary), and Silent Night.
View of the river from JoJo's Catfish Wharf
JoJo's Catfish Wharf Oh my!!
Sponsors of Caroling in the Caverns are: Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce, Centennial Bank, JoJo's Catfish Wharf, and Mountain Thyme Mercantile. We thank them for their generous gift of music each year at the holidays.
We are predictable if anything, so we must hit PJ's Rainbow Café on the town square at least once (or maybe twice!), go to Caroling in the Caverns, drive out to JoJo's for a fine mess of catfish, and finally head on home with a sackload of Christmas memories to last us for another year.
For more information:
Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce: Phone (Tickets/Info) 870.269.8068
Toll Free: 888.679.2859