Category Archives: Explore Blog

NWA Holiday Lights, Parades & Celebrations

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with Northwest Arkansas’ award-winning holiday lights displays, parades and celebrations. Santa Trains, candlelight tours, tree lightings and plenty of holiday pageantry will keep everyone in the spirit!

Lights of the Ozarks

Lights of the Ozarks, Fayetteville, Nov. 17 – Dec. 31

Each year, locals and visitors alike can’t wait to see the award-winning Lights of the Ozarks! Beginning Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. with a lighting ceremony and parade, nearly a half-million twinkling lights turn Fayetteville’s historic downtown square into a sparkling winter wonderland! Every night through Dec. 31, stroll or drive through this amazing display and enjoy festive music, hot chocolate, and carriage and camel rides, too!

 

Huntsville, A Hometown Christmas, Nov. 17

You’ll feel right at home at Huntsville’s inaugural Christmas celebration! The fun begins in downtown Polk Square at 5 p.m. with a community chili dinner, followed by joyful carolers, a Christmas train for children and that magical moment during the lightening ceremony when the bulbs come to life!

Bentonville Lighting of the Square

Winter Wonderland: Lighting of the Bentonville Square, Nov. 18

This dynamic nighttime holiday lights display attracts thousands to the historic downtown square! Gather with the community from 4-6 p.m. and celebrate the season with live music, steaming hot chocolate and photos with Santa. At 6 p.m., watch as the mayor flips the switch and illuminates downtown with bright, beautiful lights!

Springdale’s Christmas Parade of the Ozarks, Nov. 25

There’s nothing like a parade of shimmering holiday floats to get you in the spirit! This year’s parade starts at 6 p.m. and will carry the theme “Christmas Around the World.” The parade has become a Springdale tradition, bringing together a diverse audience to kick off the holiday season!

Springdale’s Christmas on the Creek, Nov. 25

Don’t miss the lighting of the region’s largest live Christmas tree! The 2nd Annual Christmas on the Creek includes everything from a Christmas parade, live music, photos with Santa, carolers, food trucks and a winter market. Held downtown near Spring Creek and the new Walter Turnbow Park from noon – 7 p.m., it’s a holiday extravaganza you won’t want to miss!

Eureka Springs Parade of Lights

Eureka Springs Parade of Lights, Dec. 1

Beginning at 6 p.m., the Christmas Parade of Lights glides along the beautifully decorated streets of historic downtown Eureka Springs with holiday music, floats, parade walkers – and of course thousands of twinkling lights! 

Rogers Christmas Parade, Dec. 1

Kids and their families – naughty and nice — line the sidewalks of downtown for the annual Rogers Christmas parade. This year’s event, called “A Hollywood Christmas,” starts at 7 p.m. and includes floats in all colors, shapes and sizes, and a guest appearance by Santa himself.

Light up Siloam Springs Christmas Parade, Dec. 2

All it takes is a wave of the Siloam Springs mayor’s magic candy cane and downtown illuminates in a stunning display of holiday lights! Following the lighting ceremony, the 37th Annual Christmas Parade procession will take off down Jefferson Street with floats dressed up for this year’s theme of “Red, White & Who.” The magic begins at 5:30 p.m.!

Berryville Christmas Parade, Dec. 2

See your favorite holiday characters from the big screen, plus bands and parade royalty at its finest at the annual Berryville Christmas Parade. Held on the public square in the heart of downtown, the theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas Movies.” It starts at 6:30 p.m.!

Candlelight Tour of Homes in Eureka Springs

35th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Eureka Springs, Dec. 2

Journey back to days past when you tour Eureka Springs’ most beautifully restored homes lavishly decorated for the holidays. This annual self-guided tour features Victorian attired docents who tell the history of each of the homes. Visitors will also be treated to carolers, Christmas music and refreshments along the way.

Arkansas & Missouri Railroad’s Annual Holiday Trains

All-aboard for a day of ho-ho-ho-liday fun! The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad caters to the kiddos on Dec. 2 when it hosts the 14th Annual Children’s Christmas Train with rides throughout the day and a winter wonderland of games and activities before departure! Other holiday rides offered include a Springdale to Fayetteville Pajama Train excursion and dreamlike rides on the Holiday Express Train featuring Santa Claus and friends. Check out their online calendar for tickets and more information.

Bentonville Christmas Parade

Bentonville Christmas Parade, Dec. 9

Enter a parade float, or just sit back and enjoy watching nearly 100 jolly and bright floats make their way down ‘A’ Street in Bentonville. Starting at 11 a.m. with a theme of “12 Days of Christmas,” the Bentonville Christmas Parade is a wonderful way to celebrate with family and friends!

The Great Passion Play’s Christmas Drive-Thru Lights, Nov. 24 ­– Jan. 1

After dark, drive the grounds of The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs for a lights display that is sure to inspire. Enjoy a forest of illuminated Christmas trees along the way to the Christ of the Ozarks statue, and celebrate the light of the world!

Hunstville Christmas Parade, Dec. 2

Floats with delightful characters, candy, Christmas music, beautiful holiday lights and a snowball drop for the kiddos – what’s not to love about the Hunstville Christmas Parade?! The parade is set to begin at Polk Square at 6 p.m. sharp.

Winter Roundup: Fun Things to Do and See this Season

Point your compass to Northwest Arkansas and have a blast during this chilliest of seasons! Between winter gift markets, a frosty beer festival, runs and races, indoor performances and activities, and an Ozark music celebration, we’ve got what it takes to keep the fun meter up when the temps go down!

DON YOUR REINDEER EARS for the Jingle Bell Jog 5K & Reindeer Fun Run at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks on Dec. 2. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAB YOUR SKATES and make a figure 8 at the Ice Skating Rink at Lawrence Plaza in downtown Bentonville thru January.

 

 

MEET THE ARTISTS while they work during the Nov. 19 Holiday Showcase – Meet the Artists event at Terra Studios in Fayetteville.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHOP LOCAL during the Community Creative Center’s Holiday Gift Market from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23 at Walton Art Center’s McBride Studio. Plus, check out all kinds of other great NWA shopping options here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T MISS CHIHULY: IN THE FOREST, the blockbuster outdoor exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, extended by popular demand through Nov. 27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUN AND RIDE one of the newest trail systems in the region at The Back 40 Trail Run & Ride in Bella Vista on Dec. 9-10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET YOUR TICKER POUNDING with the action and thrills of cyclocross bike racing at the 2017 CycloFrost – CX Race on Dec. 9 at Lake Fayetteville.

 

TAKE A PUBLIC ART TOUR and dig the new urban street-art movement taking hold in cities across Northwest Arkansas! Read all about it here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAISE THAT PINKIE on Dec. 7 at the 51st Annual Silver Tea at the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPEND YOUR WINTER BREAK at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art with family friendly activities like art making, music, puppets and dance each afternoon from Dec. 21 thru Jan. 5, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNLEASH YOUR INNER SPIDERMAN at a local rock climbing gym, such as Ozark Climbing Gym in Springdale and La Casa Pollo in Fayetteville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEHOLD STUNNING ARCHITECTURE at NWA’s glass chapels: Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs and Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAKE A HELICOPTER TOUR of NWA’s cities, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the University of Arkansas and other landmarks from above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPARK YOUR CURIOSITY this holiday season at the Scott Family Amazeum, with exhibits, fun and learning for the whole family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RING IN 2018! You and your crew (or family) are sure to find the perfect way to count down at NWA’s diverse New Year’s Eve celebrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET YOUR FEELS on Bluegrass, folk and American Roots at the 5th Annual Ozark Mountain Music Festival, Eureka Springs, Jan. 18-21, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAISE A FROSTY MUG and sample local craft beer on Feb. 3 at the 2018 Frost Fest Outdoor Beer Festival at Fossil Cove Brewing Company in Fayetteville. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Theater and Performing Arts

From classics like Rudolph: The Musical, and the flutes and fiddles of Irish ensemble Danú, to a soulful holiday concert by hit-maker LeAnn Rimes, each one of these vibrant performances will leave you with that warm holiday glow!

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Nov. 29 – Dec. 31, TheatreSquared

A classic Christmas tale with an inventive twist! Frank Capra’s film inspires sheer holiday magic on the big stage. Telling the story of George Bailey on a live Christmas Eve radio broadcast, five actors take on dozens of different characters recreating Bedford Falls with live foley sound effects and high-energy performances.

        Rudolph and Friends

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Dec. 2, Walton Arts Center

You’ll want to bring the entire family to this beloved holiday classic. Watch your favorite holiday characters come to life including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph! Go on a yuletide adventure where you just might discover how being different makes you special. Fun for families and all ages!

Danú, A Christmas Gathering: Féile na Nollag, Dec. 10, Walton Arts Center

This award-winning Irish ensemble makes its awaited return to Walton Arts Center! The spirited band brings the tradition of a Celtic Christmas with songs, music and stories that have emerged from the history of their homeland. Listen as virtuoso players on flute, fiddle, button accordion and percussion alongside the voice of Nell Ní Chróinín and traditional dancers bring the rich heritage of Ireland to you! 

A Christmas Story, Dec. 8-17, Arkansas Public Theater

You’ll shoot your eye out! It’s the line we all know too well from the 1983 comedy film and holiday classic, A Christmas Story. You’ll find yourself in stiches as you follow the quest of Ralphie and for the only thing on his Christmas list: a genuine Red Ryder BB gun. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, watch as Ralphie, his family and friends find themselves in all sorts of situations including a tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole and an unorthodox Chinese Christmas dinner. Don’t miss the laughs!

Film Screening: Elf and Food Drive, Dec. 9, Faulkner Performing Arts Center

Come dressed as your favorite holiday character for a special film screening of the Will Ferrell Christmas comedy, Elf. Festivities include live music, hot chocolate and more! Also, bring your canned goods to donate to the Gearhart Full Circle Food Pantry.

Music Icon LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes: Today Is Christmas, Dec. 12, Walton Arts Center

Rimes, a two-time Grammy Award winner, made a splash in country music becoming the youngest recipient of the award at the age of 14. Now, the internationally acclaimed pop-country icon brings tidings of joy to Northwest Arkansas as she performs a compilation of both original and traditional Christmas songs from her own holiday albums.

 

A Very SoNA Christmas, Dec. 16, Walton Arts Center

Have yourself A Very SoNA Christmas! This annual holiday Pops performance by the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) will include the beloved melodies that celebrate magic and beauty of the season. Also featuring the SoNA Singers, area high school and collegiate choruses, and special guest soloists.

The Snowman: A Family Concert

Walton Arts Center and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas Present The Snowman: A Family Concert, Dec. 17

This magical holiday concert especially for children and families features a special screening of the hit film “The Snowman” with a virtuosic orchestral soundtrack that SoNA performs live. All ages will be enchanted as a winter wonderland comes to life in this timeless tale of a young boy’s special friendship with his snowman.

Arkansas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Winter Concert, Jan. 23, Faulkner Performing Arts Center

All four of APO’s youth orchestras, plus featured ensembles, will perform in this special concert event. The philharmonic plays a vibrant role in the lives of young musicians in the area by bringing them together for coaching, mentoring, practice and performing.

PLUS MUCH MORE! — Periodically check these Northwest Arkansas performing arts venues for year-round programming: Walton Arts CenterTheatreSquaredArts Center of the OzarksArkansas Public TheatreTrike Theatre and Faulkner Performing Arts Center at the University of Arkansas.

‘Tis the Season… For Shopping!

In Northwest Arkansas, each of our cities offers unique, exciting shopping experiences. With luxury storefronts, hallmark department stores, eclectic boutiques, galleries and locally owned emporiums, you won’t shop here and not find something you like!

Fayetteville – From casual to upscale, with trendy boutiques, locally owned shops, and home to a community of talented artists and makers, Fayetteville has something for everyone. Whether you’re visiting the Northwest Arkansas Mall and the surrounding Uptown retail district, strolling the shops around the downtown square and along Block Street, or browsing for fab finds at stores peppered throughout town, there are plenty of ways to bring a piece Fayetteville home with you!

Eureka Springs – Eureka Springs is a shopper’s paradise. Boutiques, antiques, handcrafted jewelry, eclectic gifts and world-renowned arts can be found anywhere in town. From vendors in the park to lovely independent shops aplenty, you’ll find uniquely Eureka treasures and gifts for any occasion and not a mall in sight! 

Bentonville – Finding yourself in need of some retail therapy? There are many options in Bentonville. This “New American Town” boasts some of the best locally owned, one-of-a-kind boutiques and unique shopping experiences around! Be sure to explore downtown for custom gifts, local designers, art galleries, up-cycled merch and more.

Rogers – With shopping malls, quaint boutiques and antique shops, Rogers is the ultimate shopping destination. Stock up on luxury labels at the open-air Pinnacle Hills Promenade, or buy local wares and handmade items at shops along the historic downtown’s brick-lined streets. Whether you’re shopping for him, her or home, you’re bound to find it in Rogers!

Downtown Siloam Springs – Classic antiques. Classy boutiques. Funky furniture shops. Amazing artwork. Bath and kitchen bounty. Check off everything on your list when you shop in downtown Siloam Springs. The question is, is your trunk big enough for all the treasures you’ll find?

SpringdaleSpringdale offers shopping options from one end of the city to the other. Browse boutiques and specialty shops along Emma Street in downtown, or find some of the best deals around at factory stores and outlets. From antique malls with thousands of square feet of collectables and gifts, to local markets with food, vintage and handmade – let your quest for that perfect unique gift lead you to Springdale!

 

Stories of American Art Told at Crystal Bridges

Dale Chihuly, Fiori Boat, 2016

At the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, you can discover many diverse works of art, including an upcoming temporary exhibition exploring the work of black artists during the tumultuous ‘60s, ’70s and ’80s; a collection on display now that captures the cool rhythms of jazz; and a master glass artist’s exhibition extended by popular demand. Crystal Bridges in Bentonville is an experience you don’t want to miss!

 

The blockbuster exhibition Chihuly: In the Forest  has been extended on the museum’s grounds through Nov. 27. American artist Dale Chihuly’s breathtaking glass and neon sculptures are celebrated around the world, and tickets to this outdoor exhibition are just $10! Once it ends, Chihuly’s colorful Fiori Boat will remain along Crystal Bridges’ nature trails amongst nearly two dozen other outdoor art installations.

 

 

Stuart Davis, The Mellow Pad, 1945–51

On view until Jan. 1, 2018, is Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, a major retrospective of 80+ paintings described as “a universe of jazzy patterns and blazing colors” by The New York Times. This collection focuses on specific phases of artist Davis’ work where he applied forms of Cubism to still-life and landscapes, and invented a new abstract language that merged the aesthetics of advertising and jazz with language. Over his career, Davis forged a union of international Modernism and uniquely American imagery that continues to influence art being made today. Tickets for this exhibition are $8 (free for members and under 18). 

 

Jeff Donaldson, Study for Wall of Respect [Miles Davis], c. 1967

Opening Feb. 3, 2018, is the debut of an exhibition highlighting how activism in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s helped shape American art as we know it. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power features the work of more than 60 black artists, beginning with works by the Spiral Group, a New York-based collective that opened up questions about the role of artists in the Civil Rights movement. From there, the exhibition traces the impact of the growing Black Power movement and explores the many ways artists worked to protest discrimination, rally people to their cause and celebrate black culture.

Artists featured include Romare Bearden, Melvin Edwards, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Alma Thomas and Lorraine O’Grady. Crystal Bridges is one of only two American venues to host this important and eye-opening exhibition. Following its debut in Northwest Arkansas, it travels to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Other exhibitions coming to Crystal Bridges in 2018 include Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Artists from May 26 thru Sept. 2, 2018, and Native North America from Oct. 6 thru Jan. 7, 2019.

For more information, visit crystalbridges.org.

Ring in the New Year Right

Celebrate New Year’s Eve how you like with festivals, bashes and daytime options for kids and families, too. At night, head to one of Northwest Arkansas’ vibrant downtowns to celebrate at a variety of pubs, nightclubs and live-music venues offering special entertainment, libations and fun!

Famous “Hog” Drop at Last Night Fayetteville

Last Night Fayetteville – Arkansas’ largest New Year’s Eve festival delivers a full evening of arts and live music for revelers of all ages. Held on the Fayetteville square, Last Night features a spectacular fireworks display and performances on multiple stages by Randall Shreve and The DeVilles, The 1 oz. Jig, National Park Radio, The Lark and the Loon, Trumann Rail Boys, Willi Carlisle, Foggy Bobcat, comedians and more! Early bird tickets on sale now! 

Noon Year’s Eve Kids and Family Celebration, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art  Ring in the New Year (without staying up late!) at this third annual family celebration with games, art projects, dancing and more. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free!

Noon Year’s Eve at Crystal Bridges

NEW 365 – Dance into the new year at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where the Great Hall is transformed into a glowing disco party headlined by Jack Novak mixing her chart-topping electronic hits. Let loose in the Eleven jazzy swing room with Matt Stansberry & The Romance. Between dances, visit jazz musicians in the Stuart Davis exhibition In Full Swing, grab a drink at the bar, and experience a hallway of street performers until midnight! Members ages 21 and up.

DOWNTOWN COUNTDOWN! Bar hop and mingle with other partygoers, or settle in at a restaurant or coffee house with friends. Our vibrant downtowns have a variety of venues to help you ring in 2018!

Dickson Street Entertainment District, FayettevilleAn eclectic mix of bars, live music stages, restaurants, wine bars and breweries in the heart of the city. On New Year’s Eve, check out George’s Majestic Lounge for their New Years Eve Bash with Arkansauce, The Too’s and more!

NEW 365

Downtown Bentonville: The live music scene is young and vibrant here, amidst upscale wine bars, coffee shops and a burgeoning brewery scene. On New Year’s Eve, come to Meteor Guitar Gallery for New Year’s Eve with 90LB Wrench and Special Guest Throwback Jack

Downtown Eureka Springs: With more than 20 bars, restaurants and clubs within walking district, downtown Eureka is where you can dance your way into 2018. Check out Chelsea’s Corner Café & Bar for New Year’s Eve: Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, plus Blue Dream Blue

 

Razorbacks Turn Up the Heat this Season

In NWA, we call the Hogs year-round! With back-to-back basketball and baseball, plus women’s gymnastics, too, it’s always game day in Razorback country!

Bud Walton Arena

RAZORBACK BASKETBALL

Basketball season is underway and Hog fans have what it takes to make Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas campus come alive! Known as the Basketball Palace of Mid-America, Bud Walton is charged with excitement from tip-off to the final buzzer. With both the men’s and women’s teams in play through March 2018, there’s plenty of time for you to get in on the action!

Men’s Basketball

Razorback fans can expect more of Coach Mike Anderson’s “fastest 40 minutes in basketball” during the 2017-18 season with returning seniors Daryl Macon, Jaylen Barford and Anton Beard leading on the court. After the team made it to the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen tournament last season, fans are ready to cheer their beloved team on to more wins! For season info, visit arkansasrazorbacks.com.

Women’s Basketball

New head coach and UA alum Mike Neighbors started the 2017-18 season with an 82-74 win over Northeastern State University on Nov. 2. The lady Hogs are fired up to face 16 opponents at home this season, eight of which are in the Southeastern Conference. For season details, visit arkansasrazorbacks.com.

 

Diamond Hogs Celebrate at Baum Stadium

RAZORBACK BASEBALL

The Diamond Hogs face an action-packed 2018 season with 33 games at Fayetteville’s Baum Stadium, home of the largest video scoreboard in collegiate baseball. With Coach Dave Van Horn at the helm for his 16th season, the men’s baseball team hopes to carry over the momentum from last year’s 45-19 season for the Feb. 16-18, 2018, opening weekend against Bucknell University. For season details, visit arkansasrazorbacks.com.

 

Gymbacks at Barnhill Arena

RAZORBACK GYMNASTICS

The women’s gymnastics team will give fans a special treat on Dec. 17 when it hosts a Holidays with the Hogs Intrasquad meet at UA’s Barnhill Arena. The squad’s 2018 season kicks off on Jan. 5 in Baton Rouge before the Gymbacks return to Barnhill to host a total of five home meets, including SEC matchups against Kentucky, Georgia and Auburn. For the 2018 gymnastics schedule, visit arkansasrazorbacks.com.

All photos courtesy of Walt Beazley, University of Arkansas

2018 Eureka Springs Mardi Gras Extravaganza

Celebrate Mardi Gras Eureka Springs-style during this annual month-long festival, the largest of its kind in Arkansas! The 2018 Eureka Springs Mardi Gras Extravaganza promises fun and revelry with costume balls, parades, Cajun food, coffee and beignets, umbrella decorating and more. The theme for this year’s festival is Pirates of the Caribbean, so break out your colorful swashbuckling attire and get ready for an amazingly good time. Laissez les bon temps rouler à Eureka Springs!

Mardi Gras Parade

Kings Day Kickoff at the Rowdy Beaver, Jan. 6, 2018­ – Wear your colorful costumes and blinged-out masks and come meet the King, Queen and the rest of the Royal Court at this festival opener. Free food and music, too.

Taste of N’Awlins, Jan. 20 – Gather for the taste of the French Quarter with hot beignets, café au lait and gumbo shooters. Socialize with the Royal Court and enjoy lots of 2nd lining to the swinging sounds of a jazz trio.

Umbrella Decorating, Jan. 10, 17, 24 – Wear your beads and boas for these casual, creative gatherings where everyone gets a chance to decorate his or her own umbrella. Supplies will be provided.

Coronation Ball, Feb. 2 – A grand royal procession at the Eureka Springs Convention Center is followed by dinner and dancing to the sounds of the Doghouse Daddies band.

Krewe of Barkus

Eureka Gras Night Parade, Feb. 3 – Themed floats, walkers and dancers will light up the night as they parade through downtown to traditional Mardi Gras tunes. Followed by 2nd line street dancing.

Black Light Ball, Feb. 3 – Let a body artist paint you with glow-in-the-dark paint, don a glow necklace, and then celebrate to flashing lights and spinning tunes!

Joker’s Masquerade Ball, Feb. 9 – This fabulous costume ball at the Eureka Springs Convention Center includes the Royal Mini Parade, a buffet, dancing and a costume contest.

Costume Day Parade, Feb. 10 – This themed parade, led by the Krewe of Barkus, winds through downtown with floats, walkers, bands, dancers and — the best of all — animals!

Mayor’s Ball: Red Carpet Masquerade, Feb. 10 – Held at the historic 1905 Basin Park Hotel, this ball features live music, beads, appetizers and a cash bar. Bring your decorated umbrellas for 2nd line revelry!

Night Parade

Jazz Champagne Brunch, Feb. 11 – Enjoy a fine-dining brunch inside the Crystal Dining Room at the renowned 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa. Join in on the 2nd line dance with music by Crescent City Combo.

St. Liz Cajun King Cake Ball, Feb. 13 – Wrapping up the festival, this celebration features the largest king cake in Arkansas! Feast on a Louisiana dinner served by costumed wait staff, and dance to the sounds of the Naturally Brass jazz combo. Costumes are encouraged.

For more info, visit eurekaspringsmardigras.org.

PUBLIC ART IN NWA: REVIVING THE ORDINARY!

Northwest Arkansas is on the verge of something big as a new urban street art movement takes hold in cities across the region! Outdoor murals, art on storm drains, utility boxes and overpasses, and giant art installations in unexpected places are transforming the day-to-day experience in our distinctive cities into something vibrant, adventurous and new.

From Fayetteville north to Bentonville, west to Siloam Springs and east to Eureka Springs and everywhere in between, new public art initiatives are giving Northwest Arkansas cities a breath of fresh air, solidifying a sense of place, and creating a year-round draw for locals, day visitors and vacationing tourists alike. There’s lots to love about public art, plus it’s free and open to everyone! So, let’s journey through the Northwest Arkansas region and look at some of the evocative examples of public art that you and your friends and family won’t want to miss!

FAYETTEVILLE

The city of Fayetteville dove head first into the public art scene this summer with its Green Candy Art Action initiative. Already known as an arts incubator city, Fayetteville partnered with global creative house JUSTKIDS to recruit artists to create a collection of street art that would engage the community and initiate conversations about waste and sustainability. A few of the new awe-inspiring Green Candy public artworks include:

Green Candy Art Action in Fayetteville

  • Eclipse, a mural by Argentinian artist Marina Zumi, at Hog Haus Brewery, on West Avenue just off Dickson Street
  • Bear-ly Legal, a mural by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, just off the historic downtown square, on the corner of East Avenue and Mountain Street
  • Deer, Half Deer, a multimedia sculpture by Portugal-based artist Bordalo, at the historic Walker-Stone House, on Center Street
  • Fayetteberry, an oversized crochet piece by Eureka Springs artist Gina Gallina at the entrance of the Experience Fayetteville office on the downtown square
  • Fresh Air, a mural by Fayetteville artist Jason Jones, just off Center Street, along the Razorback Regional Greenway bike and walking trail

 

“Enjoy Local” & “Shop Local” murals by Jason Jones

Jones, who created Fresh Air, has also demonstrated his passion for this vibrant college town, home to the University of Arkansas, with well-known outdoor murals at two other key locations: Enjoy Local at the Fayetteville Town Center on the downtown square, and Shop Local, adjacent to Vintage Violet Boutique on Archibald Yell Boulevard.

To the east of the square, on College Avenue at the corner of Center Street, The Owl by Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz towers nearly 50 feet high. Created as part of The Unexpected, a street art initiative based in Fort Smith, this mural was also curated by the JUSTKIDS team.

Pigshibition, a community art project founded by the Ozark Literacy Council and the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission, truly captures the team spirt for the Arkansas Razorbacks that thrives in Fayetteville. Pigshibition is comprised of 25 six-foot-tall, painted pig statutes located around the city, each styled by a local artist with a theme of their choice. You can find these funky pigs all around town outside restaurants, on the downtown square, in front of the Clinton House Museum and other places.

Mural on the Tsa La Gi Trail by Stacy Bates

Take the Razorback Regional Greenway to the Tsa La Gi Trail in south Fayetteville to find the overpass mural Holding On and Letting Go: The Struggles and Strength of the Tsa La Gi. City officialssaw the blank slate of the overpass as a canvas and wanted to fill the space with a piece that would represent the journey of the Cherokee people along the nearby Trail of Tears. Proposals were accepted and local artist Stacy Bates was ultimately chosen. The Tsa La Gi Trail marks the site of a forced relocation route where in 1839 a group of Cherokee people formed a detachment camp. The trail is named in remembrance of the tribe.

Of course, don’t miss the variety of public art pieces including beautiful bronze sculptures, fountains and more that are peppered throughout the University of Arkansas campus. One highlight of the collection is Courage to Lead, a bronze sculpture by Native American artist Denny Haskew.

A thriving new neighborhood in northwest Fayetteville is also quickly garnering the attention of art lovers with its award-winning urban design and unique community atmosphere… Uptown Fayetteville as the area is now known features striking public art created by a diverse set of artists, including Uptown Quilt, a mural by local artist and sign painter Olivia Trimble. Trimble’s The Quilt Square Project symbolizes hard work and comfort, and includes an installation in the neighboring city of Springdale.

BENTONVILLE

As you arrive in the cultural haven that is the city of Bentonville, home to the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, it is nearly impossible to miss Big Blue, a giant mural of a big blue octopus painted on the side of the Rapid Prototypes building on Walton Boulevard. Artist Jason Jones applied his immense talent and vision to the concrete walls of this local business, creating a sense of whimsy and surprise that has fast become a local favorite.

“Sunkissed”, “Monarch and Dandelions” & “Big Blue”

Sunkissed by Nathan Pierce is a funky, geometric sculpture on the North Bentonville Trail. Located at the Y of a trail’s intersection, the bright bursting lines of Pierce’s sculpture emulate spokes rolling along intersecting trails, and make a vibrant splash clearly visible from North Walton Avenue. This sculpture acts as a striking landmark for users of the North Trail System.  

Located at Memorial Park, Monarch & Dandelion is an upcycled sculpture produced by Denver-based artist and Arkansas native Amanda Willshire. The piece was built using repurposed bike parts. Old bike wheels seem to make up the perfect geometry of a dandelion, on which a butterfly etched in bike spokes is perched. This piece underscores that the possibilities of repurposing old materials are endless!

 

Trail Installations at Crystal Bridges Museum

Bentonville’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is not only home to a collection of American art masterworks, but also to a system of trails that are a sanctuary of art and nature. Dotting the Crystal Bridges trails are nearly two-dozen outdoor public art installations that ignite the imagination and tempt visitors to find more.

Some of the most prominent include artist Leo Villareal’s Buckyball, an aluminum sculpture that becomes illuminated with colorful LED lights at dusk, which can be seen upon entering the museum grounds. Three People on Four Benches by George Segal is a sculpture composed of three bronze figures sitting upon aluminum benches, located on the Art Trail near the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright house. The newest additions include R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, a huge geodesic Fiberglass-reinforced polyester structure inspired by a fly’s eye located on the museum’s north lawn; and Fiori Boat by artist Dale Chihuly, an installation of many small and wildly colorful glass sculptures located on the North Forest Trail – part of a larger exhibition, Chihuly: In the Forest, which showcases the master artist’s glass and neon works. Fiori Boat will remain on the museum grounds once the Chihuly exhibition closes on Nov. 27.

Open from sunrise to sunset, the Crystal Bridges trails are gorgeous, and free for the public to explore!

SILOAM SPRINGS

The peaceful quality of life in Siloam Springs is undeniable with one short walk around the city’s beautiful historic downtown area. 

Siloam Springs Animal Paintings by Jason Jones

Artist Jason Jones, in conjunction with the 2016 Homegrown Festival, painted a series of animal murals that take meaning from the city’s harmonic connection to nature. The Sager Creek Animal Series includes paintings of an Otter, a Blue Herron, and Doug the Deer that are relatively small, placed around the downtown area in places that are a little off the beaten path. One may have to really look to find them, much like you would look for the real animals that make their homes around Sager Creek and downtown.

One painting in the series has a truly special meaning to the people of Siloam. Last year, a tame deer began approaching trail users along the Dogwood Springs Trail system near the John Brown University campus, just as a dog might, so he was affectionately nicknamed Doug the Deer by the runners and cyclists who encountered him. Unfortunately, state game officials felt that the deer could become a threat, so he was removed. Jones included a painting of Doug in the series in his honor, so that he would remain a part of the community. You can find the Doug the Dear mural on the side of the Ability Tree building on Maxwell and East Main Street.

“Librarrows” (left) and “Springs” (right)

Also in Siloam Springs, free “little libraries” that double as eye-catching, arrow-inspired geometric art installations called Librarrows have been designed by Dayton Castleman, a local artist and curator at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville. Installed recently, Librarrows are located in Twin Springs Park and in City Park, strategically placed so that people can grab a book and stay and read if desired.

Springs is a sculpture installation by Joel Armstrong, an artist and professor at John Brown University, which as you might have guessed, is aptly named in celebration of the many natural springs found in Siloam. The design of the sculpture represents summer storms sending rushing water flowing through natural rocks. It’s located on the grounds of the Arvest Bank building at University and Mount Olive Street.

The Postcard Mural was the first public art mural that Main Street Siloam Springs commissioned. Painted by Kirk Demarais, the mural has the nostalgic design of a vintage postcard and can be found at Broadway and East Main Street. Head over and snap a photo!

Vintage Post Card Mural in Siloam Springs

ROGERS

When visiting the city of Rogers, you get to experience the best of small town charm along with fresh, new public art. There’s artworks to be discovered along the streets downtown, from historic sites to well-worn bike trails and everywhere in between. Here are some of the popular works of street art to check out while in town:

Bold Street Art in Rogers

  • The Bleu Girl, a mural by artist William Wallace, can be found on the west side of Urban Bleu Salon at 113 W. Elm St.
  • Boldly painted wood panels by artist Steve Adair are located on the west side of the old Benchmark Building/old Elks Lodge that currently houses a makerspace called the Rogers Experimental House
  • A retro Coca Cola Mural lives on the east side of the Avenue Design Building at Second Street and Walnut Avenue
  • Sunburst, a mural on the north side of the historic Opera House at First and Walnut streets was painted by Missy Kaza
  • A custom mural now resides on the side of the rail car at The Railyard Bike Park. World-renowned artist Lucas Aoki completed the mural just in time for the International Mountain Biking Association World Summit that held events at the park in the fall of 2016
  • A mural of a cruiser bicycle toting a basket of flowers is located on the south side of the peach-colored building at Walnut and Arkansas streets

Public art doesn’t have to be only one-dimensional! We have seen multi-dimensional pieces in other cities, and that doesn’t stop in Rogers. A quirky metal installation lives in a tree downtown called Lightning Bugs. The artist, Tom Flynn, uses found metal objects to create his original pieces. This installation is located on First Street near Parkside Public restaurant and is made of old argon and CO2 containers along with salvaged fragments of reinforcing bar.

SPRINGDALE

Colorful Public Art in Springdale

NWA artist Olivia Trimble makes her mark in Springdale with her personal art initiative The Quilt Square Project. Trimble researches traditional Ozark quilt patterns, adds a contemporary color palette, and paints it onto an 8-foot by 8-foot square. You can find one of these art installations on the Shiloh Meeting Hall grounds off Huntsville Avenue near downtown.

A five-story-tall mural of a Monarch butterfly graces the Springdale Municipal Airport’s control tower as part of the Migrating Mural Project. Founded by Ink Dwell art studio in 2012, the project aims to beautify local environments while driving education toward conservation efforts to help certain species and ecosystems that are currently under threat.

EUREKA SPRINGS

You won’t have to look hard in Eureka Springs to find art. The city has been an arts village and cultural destination since the turn of the century, and once you’ve entered this quaint, craft haven, you’re immersed in it! There are more than 150 public art pieces peppered throughout the city, which is home to more than 400 talented working artists.

Juxtaposed against the city’s historic Victorian architecture is an assortment of public art works, including these quirky, original installations:

Public Art in Eureka Springs

  • Humpty Dumpty, a sculpture that watches passersby from a terrace on Main Street
  • The mystical sculpture The Goddess that overlooks Basin Park in the heart of downtown
  • The Up, a painted staircase on North Main Street just beneath the sky deck at DeVito’s restaurant
  • Experience all four seasons in the same moment in time with the Four Seasons – enormous mobiles made of powder-coated steel and copper that are suspended from the trees in Basin Park. This installation was created as part of the city’s annual May Festival of the Arts, a month-long celebration with more than 75 art showings, performances and events.
  • The Archer, a sculpture you can’t miss on the upper loop of Spring Street near the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel
  • The Louis Freund Mural, painted on the outside of the Eureka Springs Historical Museum

Eureka Springs is also home to the only music sculpture park of its kind in the United States. Located at the North Main parking lot and city park, Music Park gives visitors an interactive sound sculpture experience in a natural Ozark acoustical setting. Visitors create music with a 20-foot chime arbor, percussion sculptures paying homage to Stonehenge, a xylophone-like structure and more – all of which can be played by hand or with soft mallets provided at the park.

HOLIDAY ISLAND

Holiday Island, located north of Eureka Springs and along Table Rock Lake, has a unique take on public art that underscores the city’s relaxing environment. As visitors drive through town, they’re greeted by a series of tree carvings of animals that are native to Arkansas.  

Wood Carvings in Holiday Island

 

The carvings started appearing on Holiday Island in 2013 after a bad storm came through and damaged many of the trees. Keeping in mind the town already held a designation as a “Tree City, USA” community, city leaders pondered a way to preserve some of the damaged trees while simultaneously enhancing the natural beauty.

In a novel idea, the Holiday Island Hospitality Association partnered with a local chainsaw wood carver to create the first work of art carved into a large tree trunk – an eagle standing sentry over the island. It can be seen just after crossing the bridge over the Leatherwood Creek tributary to Table Rock Lake as you enter town on Shields Drive. Carver Jason Morton’s work was so popular with residents and visitors that the Hospitality Association decided to add more!

Now visitors can find these unique carvings including a fox, two raccoons, a hawk and more throughout Holiday Island, on its golf courses and in residential areas surrounding the lake – all of which are easily viewed from public streets. Visitors are encouraged to drive around the community and visit all of them!

NWA’s public art hotspots are growing in size and number practically by the week. We invite you to check out these amazing works on foot, by bike or by car and pair the experience with local music, our dynamic downtowns or our parks, trails and green spaces. You won’t leave disappointed!

A to Z: Things to Do & See This Fall

From active to relaxing, urban to natural, quirky to conventional, and everything in between, our A to Z list of Northwest Arkansas must-dos this fall spells F-U-N!

A – AUTUMN VIEWS FOR MILES!

Take in the dazzling fall foliage aboard the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad excursion train! It departs from Springdale and travels over trestles, through a quarter-mile tunnel, all the way to the top of the scenic Boston Mountains and back again. 

B – BRING OUT YOUR INNER BAVARIAN!

Pull out your steins and head to Rogers Main Street’s OktobeerFest on Oct. 7 for traditional Bavarian food, games, music and of course there will be beer! Yodel Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C – CHEFS IN THE GARDEN AT BGO

The finest chefs cook up harvest season favorites Sept. 12 at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. Stroll through the themed gardens while checking out cooking demonstrations, sampling dishes and sipping premium beverages. 

D – DEMOLITION DERBY

Feel the frenzy of metal crushing on Sept. 30 at the 12th Annual Demolition Derby at Parsons Stadium in Springdale. Watch wild competitors deliberately and skillfully smash into each other’s cars to claim victory and big prize money!

 

E – EUREKA SPRINGS CORVETTE WEEKEND

Relax and have fun with hundreds of fellow Corvette fans at this annual event Oct. 5-8. No competition, no points to win or lose, just a lot of ogling and driving of America’s favorite sports car!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F – FOODIE SCENE: HOTTER THAN EVER

Award-winning chefs, locally owned farm-to-table and High South cuisine – NWA’s hip eateries are routinely recognized as national dining destinations! Whether you’re grabbing a causal bite at a street-side food truck, or entertaining clients over three sit-down courses, our fine cities have what you’re hungry for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G – GET CRAFTY AT FALL FAIR WEEK

Northwest Arkansas has long held a rich arts and maker culture, and every October we are home to some of the premier arts and crafts fairs in the country! From Bella Vista south to Fayetteville and all parts in between, crafts fair weekend is not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H – HALLOWEEN MONSTER DASH

A new healthy way to trick-or-treat! The Halloween Monster Dash on Oct. 29 in Fayetteville lets you run or walk in a 5K and pick up treats along the way! Or if you prefer a more traditional Halloween, check out the Nightmares Haunted House in Bentonville – crazy scary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I – INTRIGUE AT THE AUD IN EUREKA 

A Eureka Springs tradition, this annual Halloween show on Oct. 28 at the City Auditorium features Intrigue Theater illusionists who “pass” through walls, talk to spirits, and execute other feats challenging reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J – JAZZ UP YOUR NITE W/ JASON MORAN!

Spend an evening with jazz innovator Jason Moran as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art welcomes him to the Distinguished Speaker Series on Sept 21. Hear about 20th century painters Moran has been influenced by, while he punctuates his talk with short jazz performances. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K – KNOCK BACK (OR SIP!) A LOCAL BREW 

The craft beer scene is thriving in Northwest Arkansas! With the number of local breweries there’s always a chance to try new brews, ales and ciders, visit bars and eateries and celebrate our growing craft beer culture. You’ll never be left with an empty glass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L – LOVE THE DRAMA! 

Keep calm and love local theater! This fall, NWA performing arts organizations are launching their 2017-18 seasons! With new plays, premiers and productions that gamut from Sense and Sensibility to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, get your tickets today! TheatreSquared, Trike Theatre, Arts Center of the Ozarks, Arkansas Public TheatreFaulkner Performing Arts Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M – MOUNTAIN BIKING: TOP TRAILS IN NWA

Every season is mountain biking season in Northwest Arkansas! With 200+ miles of trails criss-crossing the region, the only jump park of its kind in this part of the country, and our welcoming cycling community, NWA is your mountain biking sweet spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N – NAVIGATE THE MAIZE

Get lost in Cave Springs at the Ozark Corn Maze! Besides the wrong turns and dead ends, there’s a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch to pick your own and a ‘corn cannon’ to test your skills!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O – OUTDOOR FUN & ADVENTURE

With the best of Mother Nature at our lakes, rivers, trails and state and national parks, plus the Slaughter Pen Jam Mountain Bike Festival on Oct. 8-10, get ready to immerse yourself in outdoor fun and adventure Northwest Arkansas-style!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P – PLAYING IN THE DIRT WEEKEND

This Nov. 10-12 event mixes it up to celebrate 30 years of mountain biking in NWA! First, a benefit concert at the George’s Majestic Lounge, followed by a day of mountain biking at Devil’s Den State Park, and then mingling at an evening cocktail gala. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q – QUILT FAIR AT SHILOH MUSEUM

Nothing quite compares with the beauty of a handcrafted quilt. Find antique and contemporary quilts for show and sale at this 40th annual fair held at Shiloh Museum of Ozark History on Sept. 9 in Springdale. 

 

 

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R – RAZORBACK SPORTS NATION!

In Northwest Arkansas, we call the Hogs year ‘round! Whether you’re a football or basketball fan, check out all that our beloved Razorbacks are offering in the 2017-18 season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S – SQUARE 2 SQUARE BIKE RIDE

This 30-mile fun ride on Sept. 16 goes from Bentonville to Fayetteville via the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway. This ride has grown leaps and bounds since it kicked off in 2015, and a crowd of close to 1,700 is expected!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T – TINKERFEST AT THE AMAZEUM

This Oct. 7 festival celebrates the curious and creative in all of us! Together, makers, artists, and tinkerers showcase their work while inviting attendees of all ages to join in the DIY fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U – UNDERGROUND ART DOWNTOWN

The Fayetteville Underground art gallery presents a new exhibit each month, and through November, the Underground’s openings are part of Fayetteville First Thursday celebrations on the downtown square. Everyone is welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 V – VINTAGE MARKET DAYS

Grab your girlfriends, your mother or your kids for the very best of vintage vendors from across the U.S! This upscale vintage-inspired, indoor/outdoor market on Oct. 13-15 features the works, and is a favorite with locals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W – WE LOVE PUBLIC ART!

Northwest Arkansas has embraced public art and made it our own! In Fayetteville, it’s popping up everywhere as part of the Green Candy public art initiative. Look around – murals by international and local artists are activating outdoor public spaces all over downtown. Large-scale paintings are appearing in other cities too, from a gigantic blue octopus in Bentonville to a giant jack rabbit along the Razorback Regional Greenway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X – XNA NONSTOP FLIGHTS TO NWA

Fly your long-distance friends to NWA this fall for Bikes, Blues and BBQ, Arts and Crafts Fair week, or Razorbacks sports action! With the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA)’s nonstop flights from 14 U.S. cities, you can!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y – YUCK IT UP OVER COCKTAILS

On Oct. 5, mix, mingle and sample cocktails infused with herbs grown onsite at the Peel Mansion gardens as mixologists compete to create the best beverage! An assortment of amazing bites will be available to accompany your fabulous chilled concoctions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z – ZOMBIE CRAWL 

A creeping parade procession of funeral hearses and post-mortem street performers will lead the undead through downtown Eureka Springs on Oct. 28 for the 6th Annual Zombie Crawl. Need some practice before the parade? Check out the free “Thriller” dance workshop!