Join in the festive atmosphere at these festivals and family events throughout the state. Celebrations range from the historic to visual arts to nature and everything in between.
Mount Magazine Butterfly Festival
Celebrate butterflies and wildlife at the annual Mount Magazine Butterfly Festival. Mount Magazine is home to rare plants, animals and 91 species of butterflies, including the gorgeous Diana Fritillary. At the Butterfly Festival, participate in horticultural and butterfly seminars and guided nature walks. Other attractions include an art show, photo contest, quilt contest and Miss Butterfly pageant. Of course there are also arts and crafts vendors, food and live entertainment. There are hands-on activities for children of every age, and every family member will enjoy strolling through the butterfly conservatory and the popular Bug Bonanza Pavilion.
Address: 16878 Highway 309 S., Paris, AR 72855
Steamboat Days Celebration
History and community are fostered at the annual Steamboat Days Celebration. There are games, carnival rides and food. Show off your skills in the chili cookoff, BBQ contest, horseshoe pitching competition or bass fishing contest, or participate in the 5K run/walk. There’s also a beauty pageant and live musical entertainment. Make sure you stick around for the closing of the celebration as fireworks light up the night sky.
Address: Tom Roe Memorial Riverfront Park, Des Arc, AR 72040
Magnolia Blossom Festival
In addition to the beautiful magnolia blossoms, the Magnolia Blossom Festival also hosts the World Championship Steak Cook-off and a sidewalk art show. The mouth-watering aroma of steak fills the air as you browse the endless rows of arts and crafts and listen to live entertainment, including a gospel concert. See if you can discover the hidden goodies on the treasure hunt, and don’t miss the puppet show, canine fun show or antique car and motorcycle shows. Of course you’ll also find plenty of games, food and fun for the entire family!
Address: 529 E. Main St., Magnolia, AR 71753
Every Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of festival goers convene at Little Rock’s Julius Breckling Riverfront Park for three days of visual and performing arts. A-list music performers and theatre troupes hit the stages for nonstop entertainment. There are even stages specifically dedicated to kid-friendly and family-themed acts. As if the concerts alone weren’t enough, there’s also bingo and other games, vendors and food.
Address: 202 La Harpe Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72201
Old Fort Days Rodeo
Watch as cowboys from across the country and around the world compete in roughstock and timed events at the Old Fort Days Rodeo. You’ll see skilled competitors in events like bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing, to name a few. There are also concerts, a pageant and other live entertainment. You definitely won’t want to miss the Old Fort Days Dandies, a precision riding team comprised of high-school-age young ladies.
Address: 4400 Midland Blvd., Fort Smith, AR 72904
Phone: 479-783-6176; 501-321-4747
World Championship Cardboard Boat Races
Get ready to have some fun cheering on the individuals and teams competing in this quirky boat race! Creative and innovative designs abound at the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races. Will your favorite design sink or swim through the 200 yard course? See which racers win the Pride of the Fleet and the Titanic Award. There is also a treasure dig, watermelon-eating contest, tug of war and demolition derby.
Address: Sandy Beach, Heber Springs, AR 72543
Phone: 800-774-3237; 501-321-4747
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
This 10-day festival screens over 100 documentary films created by filmmakers from across the country and abroad. Be among the first to witness important world premieres. Learn more about filmmaking and the documentaries shown here, as well as the people behind the lens, at forums, lectures and special question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers. This documentary film festival is an excellent and entertaining way to promote critical thinking, understanding and partnership across countries and cultures through the medium of film.
Address: Malco Theatre, 819 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901