February 9, 2018

Fun Festivals and Springtime Events in NWA

Springtime is just around the corner, and with it each year come a ton of fun events to check out in the northwest corner of the state.

Here’s a sampling of the food and drink festivals, music fests, and other big events coming up over the next few months in Northwest Arkansas.

Mark your calendars!


Chilirhea

When: March 10
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: No list of food and drink festivals is complete without a chili cookoff, and this one is no exception.

Chilirhea is an all you can eat (and drink) chili competition benefiting Alzheimer’s Arkansas and the UAMS Center for Aging Research.

With over 30 teams competing for the best chili, there will be plenty to sample. This year’s event has an “Under the Bigtop” theme. There will be live music, and of course, plenty of adult beverages as well.

The folks behind the event have raised more than $350,000 for Alzheimers research since they started 13 years ago.

Tickets are available now on chilirhea.net. Kids 13 & under are free.


Fayetteville Gumbo Cookoff

When: March 17
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: The folks behind the popular Fayetteville Foam Fest and Ales & Tails festivals are bringing back their Gumbo Cookoff event for a third year.

The event will feature several teams creating their best batch of the classic New Orleans dish. In addition, there will be live music, and local craft beer available.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lib Horne Fayetteville Animal Shelter, The Ranger’s Pantry Pet Food Bank & The Washington County Humane Society.


Diacon Alley of the Ozarks

When: March 17
Where: Fayetteville Town Center
What: Some local folks are planning an unofficial fan convention dedicated to your favorite world of witchcraft and wizardry.

The first ever DiaCON Alley of the Ozarks convention is set for March 17, 2018 at the Fayetteville Town Center.

The event will include a host of activities related to the classic books by J.K. Rowling, including a sorting hat that will sort attendees into their proper houses, table top quidditch, costume contests, vendors serving up butterbeer and pumpkin juice, and more.

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Beer and Bagel Run

When: March 24
Where: Hazel Valley Ranch
What: The Beer and Bagel Run is a 4(ish) mile fun run and party featuring local craft beer, bagels, tailgate games, and other festivities.


Cow Paddy Run

When: March 30
Where: Gulley Park
What: The 2018 Cow Paddy Run is set for Friday, March 30 at Gulley Park in Fayetteville.

The annual event, which includes a 5K race and a 1K Fun Run, is hosted by The Spark Foundation and supports health and fitness education in local schools while providing funds for the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation.

Local schools receive prize money for having the highest overall participation rate for students, families, teachers and alumni. This year both elementary and middle schools are eligible for cash prizes. The school with the most participation will receive $2,500, second place will get $1,000 and third place will receive $500.

Cow Paddy Run / Courtesy


Ozark Mountain Bike Festival

When: April 4-6
Where: Devil’s Den State Park
What: The 30th annual Ozark Mountain Bike Festival will take place this spring at Devil’s Den State Park.

The event will include a weekend of celebrations of the Ozark Mountains and the Fossil Flats trail systems near the park, including a “big splash competition,” group rides, camping, cookings, and more for riders of all skill levels.


Ales & Tails

When: Saturday, April 7
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: Ales & Tails is a boiled crawfish and craft beer festival that started a couple years ago in Fayetteville.

In addition to thousands of pounds of boiled crawfish, there will also be crawfish dishes by local chefs and restaurants on hand, as well as beer by local and regional craft breweries.

The event is also a benefit for the Lib Horne Fayetteville Animal Shelter, The Ranger’s Pantry Pet Food Bank & The Washington County Humane Society.

More details about this year’s event will be released in the coming weeks at alesandtails.org.

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Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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