From hot air balloon rides and chuckwagon races to music, motorcycles and food, there is sure to be an Arkansas festival to entertain your group

Festivals in Arkansas are a wonderful blend of fun, food and entertainment. They are also a great addition to any itinerary. Here are just a few Arkansas festivals that will undoubtedly tickle your interest.


If you love the combination of urban music and a culinary experience, you’ll want to find your way to Fayetteville in August. The event is a display of the diversity of American music, with national, regional and local musicians and bands performing on stages located in downtown Fayetteville Square. In an effort to support local farmers, chefs and their restaurants focus on locally sourced products, meats and produce. Visiting chefs from as far away as New York join regional and local chefs as part of the culinary lineup.



You may not be surprised to learn that the idea of holding a parade on the World’s Shortest Street in Everyday Use manifested in a pub over a few beers. On St. Patrick’s Day 2004, the first parade was held on Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas’ Bridge Street, and an Arkansas festival tradition began.

Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade

Arkansas festival for the Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade

From 1,000 festivalgoers that first year, attendance has grown to 30,000. During that time, the list of Grand Marshals is a who’s who of entertainment.


Since 1995, Harrison has traditionally hosted the Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in September. During April, mark your calendar for this popular Arkansas festival. Before the balloon race competitions even begin, there’s plenty of fun on the ground including a free concert, vendors, tethered hot air balloon rides, the popular Balloon Glow and plenty of food to fill your weekend.


Since 2014, Fort Smith has been the host of the Steel Horse Rally, an Arkansas festival whose mission is to “Honor All Who Serve.” Recognized as a premier event in the region, the charity motorcycle rally has donated more than $100,000 to charities in the community.


Steel Horse Rally in Fort Smith, Arkansas

In addition to concerts and entertainment features, the Steel Horse Rally hosts the Thunder Through the Valley Motorcycle Parade, charity rides and poker runs, and Cops and Cones. The energetic rally in May is just another good reason to visit Fort Smith.


Located in southwest Arkansas, the City of Magnolia derives its name from the sweet flowers of the magnolia tree. The historic courthouse square is lined with this southern floral favorite. During May, Magnolia is filled with the celebration spirit and partake in art shows, entertainment, a food court, craft show, canine fun and car shows. The event kicks off with a Parade of Cookers followed by exquisite eats. The Magnolia Blossom Festival originated as a Sidewalk Art Show in the 1950s and was included in USA Today & Food Network’s list of the “10 Best Food Festivals.”


The Eoff Ranch in Clinton is the place to be for catching the chuckwagon races and that western spirit. During the week before and through Labor Day, visitors are treated to live music performances and karaoke in the Bunk House, ongoing rodeo style events in the arena, daily trail rides and even a fish fry. However, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday it’s all about the chuckwagon races that gave this Arkansas festival its name. Begin discovering your inner cowboy at

Chuck Wagon Races

Chuckwagon Races at this energetic Arkansas Festival


You have plenty of time to plan for attending the King Biscuit Blues Festival in October. If you have appreciation for blues music, an American art form, you’ll recognize Helena, Arkansas as the home to the “King Biscuit Time” radio show. It’s there that this Arkansas festival preserves and promotes the music of the Delta. Blues legends and upcoming artists are featured on five stages. The “buskers,” or street performers can be enjoyed through out downtown Helena. “Tent City” is where you’ll find food and vendors. Allow time to explore the eclectic downtown shops. Start planning today for this bucket list Arkansas festival.

This is just a sampling of Arkansas festivals fit for all types of groups. For more information, visit the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association at You can research the more than 100 members for specific festivals, or better yet, see what Arkansas festivals and events are happening near the destination you’re planning to visit.

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by Dave Bodle