Joanie Howell has been hired as executive director of the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce and is busy acclimating herself to the new role and at the same time planning for the 58th Arkansas Folk Festival next month, one of the organization’s major events.
Because there is so much to do in so little time, her husband, John, has stepped up to help.
“He’s my sidekick and big support. We’ve always done things together.”
The Howells have lived in the area since 2014 and have been organizing music on the courthouse stage since 2017.
“Because we’ve been so active and involved in supporting and promoting Mountain View, this just seemed like a natural thing to do,” she said about applying for the position. Previous director Nikki Morrow resigned to take another job. Howell began work March 8.
Planning for the festival is her current priority, but she has ideas for future events that she looks forward to exploring. The Chamber currently sponsors three major festivals: Arkansas Folk Festival, Mountains Music & Motorcycles, and Bean Fest.
It also promotes area businesses and coordinates volunteers to staff the tourist information center, which currently is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. She plans to also have it open at least four hours on Saturdays during the busy season.
The Howells are originally from Cabot and her work background has been primarily administrative, with a stint in radio. They visited Mountain View on an anniversary trip when they were in their late 20s and “we were hooked,” she said. They fell in love with the atmosphere, music and small town feel, and have had Mountain View picked for their retirement destination since then.
When she moved here she started doing backup vocals and she travelled to Florida with Don Mellon’s band one winter. She now has her own country music CD.
She is an avid reader and loves to cook.
The Chamber is always in need of volunteers to assist tourists, help with festivals or perform other tasks.
Anyone who would like to be involved may call the office at 269-8068.