2019 Crossroad Festival


Dates:  Friday-Sunday, March 1-3

Crossroad Festival 2019 logo for web.png

The 2019 Crossroad Festival is a three-day, multi-program event exploring Jefferson County and Southeast Arkansas’s cultural heritage through the interpretive lens of story, music, foodways, and film. Each year, the festival highlights different cultural groups who have made a lasting impact on the history, culture, and traditions of Southeast Arkansas. 

A focus on the African American community of the area and their history and heritage reoccurs each year. The 2019 Crossroad Festival will feature programming on the African American, French, and Chinese communities’ regional cultural heritage.

The festival is FREE and open to the public. On March 2, Pop’s Place food truck will be at ASC from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. so visitors can enjoy lunch between Saturday’s programs.

BLOG: 2019 Crossroad Festival Explores Southeast Arkansas’s Cultural Heritage


friday, march 1, 7-9 p.m.

Tricksters, Tall Tales, and Blues Notes

Jimmy Cunningham

Jimmy Cunningham

The Greater Jefferson County area includes some of the most poignant and expansive repositories of African American folklore and folk music in Arkansas and the Delta region. Few places can boast of the folk traditions documented, interpreted, or developed by luminaries with area roots or connections such as Dr. Julius Lester, Dr. Richard Dorson, Drs. John and Alan Lomax, Hudie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, “Big” Bill Broonzy, Jerry Jones, and J. Mayo Williams.

The Arts & Science Center will present a night of lore, music, and interpretation which highlights the powerful folklore and music sounds emanating from African American culture with Greater Jefferson County ties.

Jimmy Cunningham, Executive Director of the Delta Rhythm & Blues Bayous Alliance, writes and directs this program featuring regional actors and musicians. The event will take place in ASC’s Bellamy Theatre.

Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m. - 3 P.M.

FolkTales & Foodways Family Fun!

10-11:30 a.m.: Heritage Studies and Living History Interpretation scholar Dr. Elista Istre will facilitate Folktales Family Fun — a family storytelling, hands-on program. She will share traditional French Creole stories of the characters of Bouki (a fox) and Lapin (a rabbit), which are similar to the “Brer Rabbit” tales. She will also explore the links between West Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. The program will include a craft workshop in which the children can make a mask of Bouki or Lapin to take home with them.

1-3 p.m.: Dr. Elista Istre and Food Studies and Material Culture scholar Kevin Kim will expand the festival theme of cultural diffusion and adaption by co-presenting Foodways & Tales. The program will provide a historical context for the foodways of South Louisiana’s Creole people, and Southeast Arkansas’s Cantonese communities, and address how both cultures have negotiated the fine lines between assimilation and isolation within the larger mainstream American culture. Both scholars will share family stories and recipes. In a cooking demonstration, children from the Jefferson County 4-H Club will cook greens the Creole way to compare and contrast with how the Cantonese prepare greens as demonstrated by Kim.

Pop’s Place food truck will be on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. so visitors can enjoy lunch between the programs­.

Kevin Kim

Kevin Kim


Sunday, March 3, 1-3 p.m.

The Adventures of Brer Rabbit and Q&A with Byron Vaughns

Continuing the exploration of African American folktales, ASC will close the 2019 festival with a screening of the 2006 animated Universal Pictures film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. A question-and-answer session will follow with the film’s director, Emmy Award-winning Byron Vaughns. A Pine Bluff native and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Vaughns has worked on many classic animated television shows including Alvin & the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, and Tiny Toon Adventures.

Byron Vaughns

Byron Vaughns

Check out other attractions, restaurants, and hotels while in Pine Bluff.

The festival is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and sponsorships by the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and Simmons Bank.