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If you’re short on fun ideas for family time this year, bored with the same old same, it’s time to branch out! Luckily, the Arkansas events calendar is jam-packed with summer festivals, sporting events, and crafts fairs. This week, I’ve gathered all the best July and August events in Arkansas for 2024 to help you and your crew make the most of those limited summer days.

The Top Family-Friendly Events in Arkansas This Summer

As always, I’ve tried to include a little something for everyone, with events that are not necessarily mainstream news. If you’re crafty, you’re in luck because the Ozarks are famous for their folk music and crafts fairs. If you’re sporty, then baseball and wrestling are on the menu, and if you’re into the great outdoors, then obviously The Natural State is your jam! Music lovers won’t have any trouble finding a fantastic festival this summer, and if you’re academically inclined, we’ve got a few fun events for you too.

I’ve divided events by region for organizational sake, including only events in July and August. Since most major cities have some form of Independence Day celebration that’s widely announced, I’ve (mostly) skipped those for this article. For a comprehensive list of activities in AR, you can always refer to the Arkansas Tourism Events Page.

Summer Events in Northwest Arkansas

group of women running on brown wooden floor

1. Independence Day Cookout—Eureka Springs Community Center: July 4

Eureka Springs Farmer’s Market is hosting their 20th Anniversary cookout on Independence Day. There will be free hot dogs, watermelon, chips, and drinks. The farmer’s market will be open as well and entertainment includes family-friendly carnival games, live music, and a raffle!

Event runs from 8 am to 1 pm.

This isn’t the only event in Eureka on July 4th. It just so happens that Eureka shares a birthday with the United States, and this year, Eureka turns 145! There will be a huge celebration at Basin Spring Park from 12-2 pm that includes a kid’s splash zone, birthday cake, bingo, trivia, and food trucks! This is all followed up by a JAMBOREEKA fireworks show and festivities at Lake Leatherwood from 5-9:30 pm!

2. A Salute to Service—Bentonville: July 5

On JULY First Friday, from 3-9 pm, Bentonville’s Downtown Square will feature live music, family-friendly activities, local artists, and a host of local event vendors all for FREE!!

3. Silence in the Jungle—Eureka Springs: Friday Nights

If you’re a theater junkie, then don’t miss the intimate live shows on Friday nights at Melonlight Historic Ballroom. Melonlight has developed a reputation for phenomenal performances with elaborate costumes and a highly professional soundscape and set design. This summer, they’ll whisk you away on a jungle exhibition full of love, adventure, and a bit of fright. Grab your cocktail or mocktail at the door and enjoy!

Show runs from 7-9 pm.

4. Fayetteville Movement Festival—Mount Sequoyah Center: July 5-7

If you love to dance, or just find peace in movement, then check out the third annual Movement Festival in Fayetteville. The festival seamlessly integrates the dance, yoga, performance art, and improvisation communities for a weekend of nurturing creativity and your body. Classes include elements of dance, yoga, functional movement, and relaxation techniques and are appropriate for all levels. Lodging is available on-site.

5. Astronomy Night With Sugar Creek Astronomical Society—Hobbs State Park: July 13

Got a budding astronaut in your brood? Take them for a special event of educational fun at Hobbs State Park. The night starts with a classroom-style short lecture from Bill Murphy, followed by a guided viewing of an 8-day-old moon, Venus, and the Milky Way. Society members graciously provide their telescopes and expertise for the viewing. Bring your own binoculars, bug spray, and lawn chairs.

Events generally run from approximately 07:30-11 pm.

6. Gallery Performance— Crystal Bridges Museum of Art: Second Sunday (May-October)

If you live in or around Bentonville, then you know that there’s always something going on at Crystal Bridges. Its summer exhibitions include an over-the-top light show created by singer/songwriter Jewel, Exquisite Creatures, and concerts by the likes of John Legend, on top of almost daily workshops and summer camps. Check out the full calendar of events at Crystal Bridges and fill your summer with artistic fun!

This summer they’re also hosting the third year of the Trillium Salon Series which showcases classical music in a totally different way. They aim to destroy the idea that classical music is only for the high brow. These concerts are intimate, with the musicians and audience interacting with one another in a low-key environment. It’s high-class art for everyone!

7. Firefly Fling—Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks: July 20

Let your imagination run wild with one of the most anticipated events of the summer. Slip into your favorite fantasy costume for a whimsical night in the gardens. A host of trucks will be on-site to serve food items ranging from BBQ to delectable desserts. Enjoy face painting, henna tattoos, photos with pirates and real mermaids, giant bubble machines, and much more. There are even live dancers and a laser show!

Event runs from 5-10 pm. Tickets are available to purchase now.

8. Lauren Daigle—Walmart AR Music Pavilion: August 13

World-renowned Christian music artist, Lauren Daigle, will be performing at the Walmart Music Pavilion in Rogers as an extension to her widely acclaimed “Kaleidoscope Nights” tour. Tickets are available online and start at $72 for lawn access. Make sure to check the Walmart Amp calendar, as they are hosting a huge array of popular artists this summer including Lindsey Stirling, Lainey Wilson, and The Doobie Brothers.

9. Bluegrass and Fried Chicken Festival—Mountain View: August 23-24

From 7-10 pm, come enjoy two days of timeless folk music and Southern cuisine at Ozark Folk Center State Park. This year’s stage is headlined by SPGMA International Bluegrass Band Champions, The Waddington Brothers!

Summer Events in Central Arkansas

religious concert performed by a band on stage

10. National Championship Chuckwagon Race—Clinton: August 24-Sept 1

Chuckwagon races, arena events, trail rides, live concerts, and everything else your cowboy heart yearns for are waiting for you at the annual chuckwagon extravaganza in Clinton! You can even pop a tent and camp on-site if you wish. For admission, pricing plans, and camping info, check out their website and do it soon! This is a huge event that draws people from all over the country.

11. Dynamite & Rampage—Simmons Bank Arena: July 17

If your crew is obsessed with wrestling, let them live out all their chair-smashing dreams with a night on the ropes at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock. This mega AEW event includes performances from Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, Adam Copeland, The YoungBucks, Mark Briscoe, and many more! Get your ticket now!

12. Hot Springs Baseball Weekend— HS Convention Center: August 23-24

The 7th Annual Baseball Weekend in Hot Springs is a celebration of America’s favorite pastime. It includes two full days of free youth clinic at Majestic Park with Cardinals legend Al Hrabosky, a free screening of It Ain’t Over (a documentary on Yogi Berra), a baseball card show, speeches from Hall of Famers, and a Q&A with the pros. If you’ve got a baseball lover on your hands, do not miss this FREE event!

13. Amplify Music Festival—Benton: August 9-10

For more of your favorite worship artists, check out the two-day Amplify Festival in Benton! This year’s lineup includes Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Anne Wilson, K8, and Colton Dixon, plus amazing breakaway sessions, evangelism & outreach training, and top-notch food vendors!

14. Arkansas Renaissance Festival—Dragonstone Springs: Aug 31-Sept 2

Run away from reality to the simpler Medieval days at the Arkansas Renaissance Fair in Mount Vernon. Watch a little jousting, gnaw on a turkey leg, and have tea with the queen in the royal gardens. These are the opening dates, but the festival continues every weekend for five weeks with a different theme each weekend!

Summer Events in the Arkansas River Valley

man and woman standing in front of galaxy
Photo by Mark de Jong

15. Johnson County Peach Festival—Clarksville: July 11-21

The Johnson County Peach Festival is the longest-running festival in the state of Arkansas. It includes several pageants, live music, a fishing derby, greased pig chases, crafts booths, concessions, a parade, and much more. The highly popular Kentucky Headhunters will be playing this year on the 20th.

16. Perseid Meteor Showers Viewing—Mt. Magazine State Park: August 12

Climb to the top of Arkansas’s tallest mountain for an up-close and personal view of the ice and rock remnants left to us by the 1992 Swift-Tuttle comet. These remnants pass in front of the Perseus constellation and appear as shooting stars. The special event only happens once a year and Cameron Bluff’s dark skies are the perfect spot for viewing!

17. Fort Smith Comic Con —Kay Rogers Park: July 27-28

Suit up in your best superhero gear and head for Kay Rogers to join the rest of the squad for family-friendly games, celebrity meet & greets, live-action roleplay, cosplay, wrestling, shopping, and after-dark entertainment! If you’re looking for a weekend of light-hearted fun the whole family will enjoy, then you can’t beat Fort Smith Comic Con!

18. Fort Smith International Film Festival & MidAmerica Film Market—TempleLive: August 22-24

Calling all movie buffs! The 2024 Fort Smith International Film Festival will take place this August in Downtown Fort Smith featuring the newest and best in local and international film across several categories. The small film festival is in its fourth year, but it’s making big waves with an awesome venue and wonderful staff that’s passionate about film!

Summer Events in Southern Arkansas

Girl eating watermelon

19. Hope Watermelon Festival: August 8-10

Hope is famous as the home of Bill Clinton and the giant Hope watermelons. Now, whether Hope or Cave City watermelons are your favorite, we’ll let you judge, but both towns have a festival to celebrate the juicy red delicacies. There’s no idle watching at this festival, all guests get to actively participate in a myriad of fun events. The festival includes Watermelon Olympics, food vendors, arts & crafts, a fishing derby, a 5K, a talent contest, a vintage car show, and a Kidz Zone. Plus, Rodney Atkins will be gracing the main stage this year!

Concert tickets are now available online and via local sales at the Hope Chamber of Commerce.

P.S. The Watermelon Parade is early on August 5th!

20. Music in the Park—Historic Washington State Park: July 20

Gather on the lawn of the 1874 Courthouse to enjoy live music from local faves. The community of Washington celebrates its 200th birthday this year! The Hempstead County Melody Boys will fill the air with classic Bluegrass tunes, and visitors will also have a chance to compose and perform original works for a little cash competition! Light concessions will be available inside the courthouse. Bring your lawn chair!

21. Hip Hop and Poetry Camp—Pine Bluff: July 8, 12

If you’ve got a way with words, or you want to learn to express yourself better verbally, check out this innovative Hip Hop or Poetry Camp at Adam B. Robinson Jr. Black Box Theater. Hip Hop sessions take place on the 8th at 9 am and on the 12th at 12 pm with Epiphany “Big Piph” Morrow.

Poetry classes are offered with Jasmine Harris on the 8th at 1 pm and the 12th at 4 pm. These camps are small groups of up to 15, and they fill up quickly, so don’t waste another second!

22. Queen Wilhemina Rod Run—Mena: August 23-24

If you’ve got a car enthusiast or two in your house, then head down to the beautiful Ouachita mountains for a fun weekend full of fabulous landscapes and hot rods! This two-day event features more than 200 street rods competing for a myriad of titles. If you’ve got a hot rod, you can for sure enter, but it’s just as fun to plop a blanket down for a picnic and watch them wind their way up to the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge at the top of Arkansas’s second-largest mountain.

Summer Events in Northeast Arkansas

cosplay, spiderman, deadpool
Photo by TaniaVdB

23. Nerds! Assemble: Skool’s Out 4 Summer—Jonesboro: July 27-28

Join your fellow nerds for a Comic Con event at Arkansas State University Centennial Hall. Meet your favorite comic book artists, learn about set and costume design, engage in cosplay and photography, and meet new comic-loving friends too!

24. NEA Game Fest—Jonesboro: July 11-14th

Join your fellow gamers at Hilton Garden Inn for four days of open gaming, demos, board games RPGs, CCGs, miniatures, tournaments, and more all for charity! Badges are selling out quickly, so don’t wait! Save $10 by purchasing online.

25. Labor Day Classic—Crowley’s Ridge Raceway: August 30

Just outside Paragould, the Crowley’s Ridge Raceway puts on stock races on their 1/4-mile dirt track every Saturday night during the summer! However, they’re also hosting a special race on August 30th to celebrate Labor Day. The event will include Unico Bank Late Models, KKC Street Stocks, and 305 Sprints. Keep an eye on the website for further info as the date approaches!

Closing Out the Best Summer Events in Arkansas

Bluegrass band playing instruments

While researching this article, I was truly blown away by how many awesome events we have going on in Arkansas for the months of July and August, and there’s even more coming in the fall. The problem wasn’t finding 25 events, it was narrowing them down! If you didn’t find anything in your area on this list, make sure to check the event calendar on your city website or take a glance at the Arkansas Tourism website for more events.

P.S. You can also browse our very own Arkansas Frontier Travel Blog for fun activities and trips all over the state! We’ve detailed the best caves and caverns to explore, a few volunteer vacations you’ll love, and the most amazing Arkansas campsites for the summer!

‘Til next time… get out there and explore Arkansas folks!

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