Festivals & Events
The Ozark Gateway Region plays host to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Festivals celebrating the culture that is unique to the Ozark happen year-round. Harvest time celebrations occur throughout the area in the fall, allowing visitors to see both the history and present of agriculture. Film festivals for adults in the spring and children in the summer provide a unique opportunity to experience local art. Golf tournaments for the ardent golfer are always interesting as are the unique races and contest that occur throughout the year. Carnivals and homecoming festivals occur year-round throughout the region and the Fourth of July celebrations (and the fireworks displays that follow) are always worth a visit. Seasonal events like heritage festivals draw crowds from around the world and special events even occur underground amid the beautiful caverns of the region. With something interesting happening in the region virtually every day, there is always something to see or do. The Ozark Gateway Region truly has something for everyone, so plan your visit today!
The 20th annual Depot Days music festival is set to take place on Saturday, September 29-30th, 2017 on historic Front Street in downtown Newport, Arkansas. The festival is a showcase of local, regional, and national talent paying tribute to the early history of Rock and Roll. Old U.S. Highway 67, which runs through the heart of Newport and Jackson County, was the home for dozens of roadhouses and nightclubs which hosted early shows by rock pioneers in the 1950’s and 60’s. Music legends such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Sonny Burgess all frequented the venues along the highway when Rock music was in its’ infancy. Festival goers from Europe, Australia, and all over the U.S. make annual pilgrimages to Front Street to catch a glimpse of living legends from the 50’s as well as younger generations of musicians who were inspired by the elders.
The festival also offers food vendors, crafts, children’s activities, a BBQ contest, and free prizes given away from the stage all day! Coolers are welcome. Admission is FREE! For more information see our Depot Days Facebook page, our website at www.depotdays.org or contact the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com or call 870-523-3618. Visit http://depotdays.org/ for more information on events schedule.
Arkansas Folk Festival
Mountain View presents the Arkansas Folk Festival, highlighted by an old-fashioned hometown parade complete with school bands, patriotic veterans groups, show horses and decorated floats. Live folk music seems to never stop in the friendly, inviting atmosphere of the town’s courtsquare. Come out and share the fun, bring your own instrument and sit in during Pickin’ on the Square. Take a trip back to the good old days, and see firsthand why Mountain View is known as the Folk Music Capital of the World. [Visit their website…]
Calico Rock Trout Tournament
Calico Rock, Arkansas, located on the beautiful White River, hosts its annual one day trout fishing tournament. Come enjoy our world-class trout fishery and land a beautiful rainbow or brown trout; you may also hook a cutthroat or brook trout. The event begins at daylight with weigh-in through early evening. From mid-afternoon through weigh-in there is a hosted BBQ for event participants and the awarding of cash and merchandise prizes for the single heaviest fish presented and two runners-up. A special grand prize is awarded if a trout weighs-in and breaks the current Arkansas state record for that species. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission trout fishing regulations apply.
38th Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival
July 27-29 2017
“Welcome Home” to this year’s Cave City Watermelon Festival! For three days this August, we hope you’ll join us for a celebration of friendships, family, and “the world’s sweetest” watermelons. There’s something for everyone and the admission is free! Mark your calendars now !
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Cave City Watermelon Festival, PO Box 663, Cave City, Arkansas 72521
Ozark Foothills FilmFest
The Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest continues to bring nationally recognized independent films and their makers to the Ozark foothills. The festival provides a showcase of exemplary movies from the state, region, and nation. This year’s line-up also includes films from Sweden, France, Spain, the Russian Federation, and Hungary. We’ll screen 38 films, including 9 features and 28 Arkansas premieres!
Ozark Foothills FilmFest has been called “the best small town film festival in the country” by the Arkansas Times. Check it out at www.OzarkFoothillsFilmfest.org.
BeanFest & Great Championship Outhouse Race
Autumn is a time for celebration, and there’s none bigger in Mountain View than the Arkansas Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Race. For more than 23 years, thousands have flocked to the town to enjoy 2,000 pounds of free pinto beans and cornbread along with lots of great folk, bluegrass, Cajun and gospel music. Then comes the Parade of Outhouses, where crowds cheer for their favorite “people-powered potty” team as they maneuver their wheeled outhouses into place for a race the likes of which you’ve never seen before.
For complete information including an entry form for this year’s talent show please visit the Mountain View website: www.yourplaceinthemountains.com or check out the schedule at www.yourplaceinthemountains/schedule
Mountain View Bluegrass Festival
The Mountain View Bluegrass Festival kicks off in high gear with some of the hottest bluegrass music you’ll find anywhere in the country. Indoor and outdoor jamming areas at the beautiful Ozark Folk Center Auditorium and Grounds showcase top-notch national music groups across three full days of fun for the whole family. Plenty of food and lodging and possibly more friendly people than you’ll ever meet in one place what a great way to spend a weekend! The Mountain View Bluegrass festival is held the second weekend in March and second weekend in November.
The PortFest “Rollin’ on the River” Festival will return on June 9 and 10, 2017 at Jacksonport State Park with all new entertainment options, events, schedule and ticketing structure. This year will be particularly exciting as PortFest 2017 becomes the largest tribute artist festival in the mid-south with 14 acts on two stages, featuring tributes to popular artists past and present.
On Friday, June 9 on the George’s of Newport/O’Connor Distributing stage, Twist on Taylor tribute to Taylor Swift kicks off at 5 p.m. by Sarah Jessica from Las Vegas, Nevada kicks off at 5 p.m. Raise Your Glass P!nk tribute from Orange County, California recreates the music of the Grammy award-winning pop star at 7 p.m. The Katy Perry Tribute by Prizmatic from San Diego, California brings their amazing Firework tribute to the stage at 9 p.m.
Also on Friday, June 9, entertainment on the M&P Bank/ASU-Newport Stage begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute by Edge of Forever from Topeka, Kansas recreating the sound of spirit of Skynyrd for Southern Rock enthusiasts. At 7:30 p.m., the Real Good Man tribute to Tim McGraw by Jason Glenn from Riverside, California brings the music of Tim McGraw to the stage. Country power house Jason Aldean will be recreated by Joel Dixon from Las Vegas, Nevada at 9:30 p.m.
Entertainment begins early on Saturday, June 10 on the George’s of Newport/O’Connor Distributing stage with the Bandimonium battle of the bands competitions from noon to 4:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., Kiss the Sky’s Jimi Hendrix tribute from New York, New York lets you experience a rock legend on stage as seen on AXS TV’s the World’s Greatest Tribute Bands series. A Prince tribute by The Controversy Band from Fresno, California takes the stage at 7 p.m. The Earth, Wind and Fire tribute by Kalimba from Seattle, Washington, performs at 9 p.m. with their 12-piece band.
Enjoy Classic Rock of the 70s and 80s tribute by Arkansas’ own Riverbilly on the M&P Bank/ASU-Newport stage followed by One Hit Wonders of the 70s by KTel and the Amazing Offerings at 1:30 p.m. The Who tribute by The Who Generation from Hollywood, California performs at 3:30 p.m. This band has been featured on AXS TV’s show The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. PortFest is excited to have been named a qualifying event for the C&C Distributors U.S. Air Guitar National Championships, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. and is sponsored by C&C Distributors. At 7:30 p.m., see the award-winning Elton John Tribute by Kenny Metcalf from Los Angeles, California, who has also been featured on AXS TV’s The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. Ko-Ed KISS from Hollywood, California delivers the first “coed” all-star KISS tribute in the world at 9:30 p.m.
Additional events added to the all-new PortFest on Saturday, June 10 include the Unity Health Harris Medical Center Run Lizard Creek Obstacle Mud Run, Hoopfest 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Jackson’s Funeral Home Jerry Hulett Memorial Car, Truck and Bike Show, all new Greenway Equipment Hunting & Fishing Village, Greenway Equipment Agri Village and Art Village, VIP area, Arkansas Steel Associates Children’s Village, Farmers Electric/Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Fireworks Show and much more.
PortFest faced a new reality in early 2016 when Riverfest, the state’s largest festival, moved to the traditional weekend of Portfest. Coupled with increased cost of entertainment in recent years, PortFest directors took a proactive approach to reinventing the festival while still offering great entertainment to festival supporters in the region.
Festival tickets will go on sale by May 1, 2017. For more information, go to www.portfest.org, call the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-523-3618 or email email@example.com.
Caroling in the Caverns
Without a doubt one of the most popular special events of any Ozark holiday season is Caroling in the Caverns, where an evening of traditional Christmas carols are performed deep within the earth at Blanchard Springs’ Cathedral Room. The blend of area folk musicians’ voices and instruments rises from the darkened room with perfect acoustics to magically create the true spirit of Christmas, Ozark-style.
T Tauri Film Festival
The T Tauri Youth Film Festival and Movie Camp takes its name from the astronomer’s term for a new star. T Tauri, launched in 2005, offers filmmaking workshops for aspiring filmmakers up to age 18. The current workshop line-up includes Script to Screen, Acting on Camera, and Claymation. Workshop films and projects are screened at on the last day of the festival, along with a number of films by young Arkansas filmmakers at UACCB. Workshop fees are low; workshop instructors are experienced, well-trained, and enthusiastic; and students have fun while they learn. They also receive official T Tauri t-shirts and DVDs including all of the workshop films. Check it out at www.ttauri.org.
Arkansas Scottish Festival
The Arkansas Scottish Festival, held every year at Lyon College in Batesville, celebrates Lyon’s Presbyterian and Scottish roots. Admission is free. Festival highlights include competitions for pipe bands, individual bagpipers, drummers, Highland dancers and Scottish athletics; sheepdog demonstrations; Scottish food music, and merchandise; a traditional Feast and Ceilidh on Saturday night; and the Iona Scottish Worship Service on Sunday morning. A Celtic Concert is held on Friday evening. The festival opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.lyon.edu/scotfest.
The Cave City Watermelon Festival is 3 days of FREE entertainment. Most musical tastes should be satisfied with acts ranging from Bluegrass to Country to Gospel. The watermelon growers donate watermelons for a free watermelon feast enjoyed by all. There are arts and crafts vendors set up around the park as well as a variety of food vendors to please any taste bud. Children may enjoy activities such as the watermelon eating and seed spitting contests as well as many games at the various booths. Bring your lawn chairs and comfortable shoes and join us for 3 days of fun. For more information visit www.cavecityarkansas.info or call the Chamber line at 870-283-7333 or 1-866-351-7333.
Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour
The first “Off the Beaten Path” Studio Tour was held on September 15, 16, 17, 2017. There are several studios on the tour, all located within 30 miles of the Court Square in Mountain View. The tour was offered free of charge to the public then, and it still is today. It is funded by artists’ fees, the sponsorship of local businesses, and lots of volunteer labor!
Each year new artists have been added to the tour through a peer review process which considers the type and quality of work produced and the geographic location and accessibility of the artist’s studio. Eligible studios must be within 30 miles of the Court Square in Mountain View and are limited to artists who have private working studios.
An open studio tour such as this provides visitors a unique opportunity to connect with local artists and craftsmen in their working environments. It allows the visitor to see not only what the artists make but to see how their lives and working spaces reflect and influence their work.
The “Off the Beaten Path” Studio Tour showcases the creative artists in and around Mountain View and provides an opportunity for visitors to purchase work directly from these artists. When you choose to buy a handmade product, you are not only buying a unique piece of art but you are supporting Arkansas artists who make their living creating unique traditional and contemporary crafts with their own hands in their own studios in the beautiful Ozark mountains.
For more information visit
Fulton County Homecoming Festival
The Fulton County Homecoming Festival is held in Salem and is one of the longest running festivals in the area. The festival provides a time for former residents to return to Fulton County and enjoy a wide variety of activities including street dances, the Mark Thomas Memorial Apple Pie 5K Run, a squirt race for youth, horseshoe pitching, terrapin race, street market and food booths, music, and a parade. The festival provides a convenient time for class reunions and families to get together. Visit Fulton County and enjoy the celebration of the Annual Fulton County Homecoming Festival. www.salemAR.com.
White River Carnival
As the White River Water Carnival has been held every summer since 1943, it is widely considered to be Arkansas’ longest-running annual water event. The Water Carnival includes numerous features such as crafts, foods, entertainment, sporting events, a car show and a parade. One of the water sports events is the National Boy Scout Invitational White River Canoe Race, a 3-day, 118 mile event, which reaches its conclusion at Riverside Park. Another highlight of the festival is the White River Beauty Pageant, which has produced numerous wearers of the Miss Arkansas crown and two Miss Americas. Even on the other 51 weeks of the year, Riverside Park is a popular local attraction, situated at the point where the White River plunges over Corps of Engineers’ Lock and Dam Number 1.
Loco Ropes is a high wire forest adventure for fun loving folks of all ages. Our 3 Loco Lines, made up of 30+ elements, such as ziplines, tarzan swings, rope bridges, and swinging logs, offer challenges from the mildly cautious to the seriously adventurous! If you’re looking for an introduction into our adrenaline fueled world, try our Tower Adventures: the 300 foot Flying Pig Zipline with a bonus round trip cable ride to the tower platform, the 35 foot HotShot FreeFall that cable drops you straight to the ground, and the Planks Peak Climbing Wall giving you 5 attempts with beginner to advance climbing choices. Stay long or stay short – come to Loco Ropes for an adventure you’ll long remember, talk about, and want to experience all over again!
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