It may be the dog days of summer now, but don’t blink, everyone. The busy fall season is right around the corner.
As always, as the the weather begins to cool and the students come back to town for the fall session at the University of Arkansas, that’s when lots of locals plan their music festivals, races, food festivals, and fall events in Northwest Arkansas.
Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger events that we know about coming up this fall so you can get them on your calendar. We’ll likely add to this list, and as always, feel free to let us know what we missed in the comments.
Rogers Cycling Festival
Date: July 26-28
Location: Rogers, Arkansas
Description: This 3-day cycling festival includes events for all ages and skill levels.
Scheduled events include a family glow ride, a kids mountain bike race, a 2-mile poker ride, a 4-hour endurance mountain bike race, a gravel ride, and USA Cycling-sanctioned amateur time trials, a criterium and a road race.
For more information about this year’s event, visit rogerscyclingfestival.com.
Tontitown Grape Festival
Date: Aug. 6-10
Location: Tontitown, Arkansas
Description: The 121st annual Tontitown Grape Festival is coming up Aug. 6-10 this year.
The event includes a carnival, arts & crafts, music, food, drinks, and more!
For more information about this year’s event, visit tontitowngrapefestival.com.
Kessler Mountain Jam
Date: Aug. 11
Location: Kessler Mountain Regional Park
Description: Fayetteville Parks & Recreation will host the Kessler Mountain Jam, a cross country race that is part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (AMBCS) in the heat of the summer at Kessler Mountain.
In addition to the bike races, the event will include plenty of food, music and beer as well.
For a bit more info, visit fayetteville-ar.gov.
Kessler Mountain Jam / Courtesy
Washington County Fair
Date: Aug. 20-24
Location: Washington County Fairgrounds
Description: The annual Washington County Fair is set for Aug. 20-24 this year. This year’s event will include all the attractions locals have come to expect over the years, including the carnival, animal judging, music, pageants, petting zoo, bull riding and more.
More information about the fair, including a schedule is available at mywashcofair.com.
Fayetteville Roots Festival
Date: Aug. 21-25
Location: Various locations around Fayetteville and surrounding area
Description: What started as a small music festival in a restaurant parking lot has grown into much, much more. Fayetteville Roots Festival has expanded to become a multi-day, multi-venue, multi-city music, food, and folk culture festival that is now one of the signature events each fall in Fayetteville.
This year’s festival includes music by headliners like Hiss Golden Messenger, Mavis Staples, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, along with several chef dinners, songwriting workshops, art installations, and tons more.
The event will also include the new Roots Food and Spirits event featuring some of the biggest names in the culinary world.
Many of the events at the festival will sell out, but a full schedule of events, including ticket information is available at therootsfest.org.
Date: Aug. 24
Location: Drake Field, Fayetteville
Description: SOAR NWA is a new event offering a variety of hot air balloon activities (weather permitting), kids play area, beer garden, live music and various aeronautics activities.
Music headliners this year include Randall Shreve and the Devilles, Jenna and the Soul Shakers, and more.
The event is a fundraiser for Open Avenues, an organization that helps people with disabilities find employment in the area.
For more information, visit soarnwa.com.
Photo: Nicolas Raymond, C.C. 2.0
Date: Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Location: Battlefield Park, Prairie Grove
Description: The Clothesline Fair is an annual tradition in Prairie Grove. The event includes a craft fair on the grounds of the Battlefield Park. There’s also a square dance exhibition on Saturday. On Monday, Sept. 2, square dancers from high schools around the region will compete in the annual competition.
For more information, check out the Facebook page.
Date: Sept. 7
Location: Tri Cycle Farms
Description: The biggest fundraiser of the year for local nonprofit farm, Tri Cycle Farms, is a celebration of the delicious creation known as pesto.
The 8th annual Pesto Fest is coming up this fall, and will include a pesto making competition judged by local celebrity chefs, live music, kids activities, and more.
The music lineup this year includes Tater, Mater, & Squarsh, Opal Agafia, Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo, and Ashtyn Barbaree and the Barbarians. The event will take place from 4-10 p.m.
For a bit more information, check out the Facebook event.
Square to Square Bike Ride
Date: Sept. 7
Location: Bentonville Square to Fayetteville Square
Description: The semi-annual Square to Square bike ride and festival is set for Sept. 7 this year.
The Square 2 Square Bike Ride follows the Razorback Greenway, and in the fall, will begin on the Bentonville square and and finish in downtown Fayetteville. It’s a 30 mile ride in all, though riders can choose to start anywhere along the trail system to participate. In addition to the ride, there are festive pit stops along the way, refreshments, and more.
A mini-festival will take place on the Fayetteville square at the finish line.
The ride is $25 for adults, and $15 for kids. More information is available at the city of Fayetteville’s website.
Chefs in the Garden
Date: Sept. 10
Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Description: Chefs in the Garden is a fundraiser for Botanical Garden in the Ozarks featuring food created by a host of local chefs. Guests can stroll through the garden and sample from a diverse selection of sweet and savory culinary creations.
Ticket information will be released at a later date. Visit bgozarks.org for more info.
Date: Sept. 13-14
Location: Byrd’s Adventure Center
Description: A live music festival at Byrd’s Adventure Center.
This year’s lineup includes The Schwag Grateful Dead Experience, The Hindenburg Project Led Zeppelin Tribute, Lou Dog Sublime Tribute, and more.
Tickets range from $30 for a one night pass in advance to $75 for both nights at the gate.
For more information, check out the Facebook event.
Raptor Trail Run
Date: Sept. 15
Location: Devil’s Den State Park
Description: Raptor Trail Run is a 10K and 25K trail run at Devil’s Den State Park.
The event is unique in its scoring system. Awards will be given based on a handicap system instead of overall and age-group awards. There will be awards & prizes for gross (lowest time w/o handicap) and net (with handicap). (See this site for details.)
For more info about the run, check out the Facebook event.
Date: Sept. 21
Location: Winslow, AR
Description: Winfest is a live music, arts and crafts, and family festival held annually in Winslow, Arkansas.
This year’s event will include live music by Ben Miller Band, Brad James Band, Washboard Leo, Paul Benjamin Band, Creekrocks, Boss Tweeds, and more.
For a bit more info, visit winfestmusicfestival.com.
World Champion Squirrel Cook Off
Date: Sept. 21
Location: Benton County Quail Barn
Description: The annual World Champion Squirrel Cook Off is coming up on Sept. 21 in Bentonville.
The event features teams cooking up their own versions of “tree-to-table” dishes. Past events have included dishes such as squirrel ice cream, squirrel sausage, pizza, hamburgers, meatloaf, squirrel stuffed pickles, French squirrel quarters, gumbos, pies, and hundreds of other dishes.
Some of the contestants will even prepare samples for the public.
More info about the event, including how to enter the cookoff, is available on Facebook.
Dishes from the World Champion Squirrel Cook Off
Cane Hill Harvest Festival
Date: Sept. 21-22
Location: Cane Hill College, 14219 College Rd (WC4762), Cane Hill, AR
Description: Cane Hill Harvest Festival includes live music, food, arts & crafts, quilt show, tractor show, children’s games and a petting zoo. There will also be demonstrations on making sorghum molasses, lye soap and hominy, and other attractions.
The music lineup for this year’s event hasn’t been released just yet.
For a bit more info, visit the event website.
Bikes, Blues & BBQ
Date: Sept. 25-28
Location: Various locations around Fayetteville, NWA
Description: One of the largest bike rallies in the country, Bikes, Blues & BBQ roars into Fayetteville and the surrounding area every year in late September. The four-day event includes dozens of local and regional blues acts, a barbecue competition featuring some of the best pit-masters in the country, a huge bike parade, a battle-of-the-bikes competition, beer gardens, a Miss Bikes, Blues & BBQ pageant, and tons more.
For more information, visit bikesbluesandbbq.org.
Bikes Blues & BBQ / Photo: Clayton Taylor
Fall Demolition Derby
Date: Sept. 28
Location: Parson’s Stadium, Sprindale
Description: Drivers will compete to be the last car standing at a demolition derby event at Parson’s Stadium in Springdale.
For a bit more info, check out the Facebook event.
Date: Oct. 3
Location: Walmart AMP
Description: For the fourth year, the folks at Walton Arts Center are organizing an annual celebration of live music, craft beer, and technology at the Walmart AMP.
The fourth annual AMP Fest is set for Thursday, Oct. 3 this year. The event will include live music, craft beer from 20 local, regional, and national breweries, technology demonstrations, and more.
The lineup for this year’s festival hasn’t been announced just yet.
Early-bird tickets are on sale now for $35. To purchase, visit waltonartscenter.org.
Fayetteville Film Fest
Date: Oct. 3-5
Location: Downtown Fayetteville
Description: Fayetteville Film Festival will take place at various locations around downtown Fayetteville, though most of the screenings occur in the Global Campus Theater on the square. The festival includes feature films, shorts, documentaries, experimental films, along with workshops, filmmaker Q/As, a red carpet kickoff party, and other film-related events.
More information, including tickets, are available at fayettevillefilmfest.org.
Date: Oct. 6
Location: Uptown Fayetteville
Description: The Razorback Run began in Fayetteville, AR in 1979 as a Fall race for the Hogeye Marathon.
The two events went on for about 15 years before it became hard to find someone to organize the race, especially around football games, when Arkansas joined the SEC conference. Many of the early runners of the 15K were former collegiate runners, and the course started and finished on the campus, with the start and finish on Razorback Road.
The Razorback Run restarted back in 2014 with the slogan “Bringing Back the Tracks”, and is again the Fall race for the Hogeye Marathon & Relays. Due to the extreme development around the south part of the University of Arkansas campus and Fayetteville, the event is now run primarily on the Razorback Greenway, with portions on the Fayetteville trails and streets. There is now a 5K and still the original 15K (9.3mile).
Date: Oct. 10-13
Location: The Farm (1 Blue Heron Lane, Eureka Springs)
Description: The Hillberry Festival is a music festival that takes place each fall at The Farm in Eureka Springs. This year’s lineup includes Railroad Earth, Del McCourey Band, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Galactic, Keller & The Keels, and more.
Tickets range from $60 for a one-day pass, to $600 for the full weekend. For more info, visit hillberryfestival.com.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 12
Location: Downtown Springdale
Description: The fourth annual Downtown Runaround is set for Saturday, Oct. 12 in downtown Springdale.
The event, benefiting local nonprofits The Jones Center and Camp War Eagle, will include a 5k, 10k, and a fun run race showcasing areas of the downtown area including Springdale’s Shiloh Square, the Razorback Greenway, and other parts of the downtown area. After the race, an after party featuring family-friendly activities including food, games, inflatables, and live music is planned along Emma Street.
Registration is $20 for the 5k, $30 for the 10k, and $10 for the “funnest” run through Sept. 9, and will go up by $5 for each entry after that.
Visit thejonescenter.net for more info.
Hero Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13
Location: Lake Fayetteville
Description: The Hero Half Marathon is a scenic, chip-timed, point-to-point race starting at Lokomotion Family Fun Park before jumping onto the trail system at Lake Fayetteville. The race finishes on Dickson St. in historic downtown Fayetteville where participants will be greeted with a Finish Line Festival that includes music, food trucks, a beer garden, local vendors, sponsor booths, and activities for children. The race coincides with Fire Safety Awareness week, and includes a 9/11 Memorial to commemorate the sacrifices made then and now by firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders. Each year, several firefighters run the race in their full fire suits.
Proceeds support several local organizations that organizers say meet important community needs. Visit their website for more information.
Date: Oct. 26
Location: St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1386 S. West End St. in Springdale.
Description: The annual Brewtober festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 26 at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1386 S. West End St. in Springdale. The event showcases homemade chili, brats, and craft beer made by local homebrewers. Festivities include all-you-can-sample tastings of chilis and craft beers, live music, bratwursts, a silent auction and a people’s choice award for the crowd’s favorite chili and homebrew.
To enter this year’s competition, visit straphaelcc.org/brewtober-chilifest.
True Lit Festival
Date: Oct. 20-27
Location: Fayetteville Public Library
Description: True Lit: Fayetteville’s Literary Festival will be held from Oct. 20-27 this fall. The literary festival, in its fifth year this year, will offer a variety of events including author talks, writing workshops, and more.
True Lit is organized by the Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville Public Schools, Fayetteville Education Foundation, Fayetteville Montessori School, and the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation. This year’s event will include readings by Gene Luen Yang, Jarrett Krosoczka, Melanie Benjamin, and many others.
For more info, visit truelitfest.com.
Fayetteville Half Marathon
Date: Nov. 16
Location: John McDonald Outdoor Track Stadium
Description: The Fayetteville Half Marathon is a race intended to visit some of Fayetteville’s most unique landmarks. The event features a vendor retail expo at Fayetteville Town Center on the downtown square. On Saturday there will be a half-distance marathon, 10k, 5K, and a fun run/walk. The race begins and ends at the John McDonald Outdoor Track Stadium on the UA campus.
For more information, visit fayettevillehalfmarathon.com.