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Statewide Events 0

Merry and Bright December 2023 Events in Arkansas

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Looking forward to a Holly Jolly Christmas?  With all the holiday events around Arkansas this December, you will surely get into the Yuletide spirit. Here is a great list to get your plans started. Also, make sure to check with your local chamber of commerce for information on your local parade and how to support local businesses as you shop this holiday season.

Batesville Christmas Capital of Arkansas

Every winter, Arkansas’ oldest city, Batesville, transforms into the Christmas Capital of Arkansas™. Visitors flock to Batesville to enjoy millions of dancing lights throughout the 35-acre Riverside Park. There are also carriage rides, ice skating, a parade, a Ferris wheel, free movies and much more! The show features over a million lights and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. The entire display is walkable, with illuminated trails throughout the park. Not only do they have a light display, but there will also be many other activities all month long: a Christmas craft show, Nutcracker performance, Christmas movies at the Melba Theatre, a 5k, Festival of Lessons and Carols, gingerbread making class, an Old-Fashioned Christmas, a polar express and more!
Venue: Batesville
Date: Nov. 22- Jan. 2
More Information: Click Here

Bethlehem Revisited | Conway

Experience the sights, sounds even the smells of what it may have been like on that night of the birth of the Light of the World! This immersive experience will take you from the prophecies of Isaiah through the bustling city of Bethlehem and finishing at the lowly stable. Admission is free and cookies and hot chocolate will be available at the end of the tour!

Venue: Antioch Church
Date: Dates: Dec. 6-8 (6:30-8:30)
More Information: Click Here

Robinson Center Holiday Events | Little Rock

Tickets to the Robinson Center make a great gift or a perfect outing with friends. They have a great line up this month of performances to enjoy during the holidays. Viewing a Nutcracker performance is a tradition that many families love!
Venue: Robinson Center
426 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201

  • An Evening with John Cusack- Dec. 1
  • An Evening of Jazz: Dec. 2
  • Ballet Arkansas Nutcracker: Dec. 8-10
  • Candlelight: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Dec. 14
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Home for the Holidays: Dec. 15-17
  • Candlelight: Holiday Special- Dec. 22
  • Nutcracker! Magic Christmas: Dec. 31

Tickets: Click Here

Winter Nights | Rogers

Make Winter Nights at Walton Arts Center a new holiday tradition for the whole family to enjoy! Twinkling lights, beautiful silvery decorations, a cozy cup of cheer and take your seasonal selfies or use the photo booth for your perfect holiday card shot. You can warm up in Joy Pratt Markham Gallery where there will be games and activities for children and adults, and guests will also have a chance to spread holiday cheer by writing a season greeting to a veteran or retirement home resident. Delightful treats and heartwarming drinks for both kids and adults will be available to purchase.
Venue:  Bradberry Amphitheater & Rose Garden and Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at Walton Arts Center
Date: Nov. 30-Dec. 22, 6 p.m.-Midnight (Thursday, Friday & Saturday only)
More Information: Click Here

Walton Arts Center | Fayetteville

There will also be more events at the Walton Arts Center this month. You can click here for tickets and more information.

  • Lorrie Morgan: Dec. 1
  • An Evening with John Cusack: Dec. 7
  • The Comedy Zone: Greg Morton: Dec. 7
  • West Street Live: Exile: Dec. 8
  • SoNA’s Christmas: Dec. 10
  • The Snowman: Dec. 12
  • The Tina Turner Musical: Dec. 13-17
  • Squirrel Nut Zippers: Dec. 21
  • A Very Mariachi Christmas: Dec. 22

37th Annual Christmas and Candlelight | Historic Washington

Make plans to visit Historic Washington State Park and enjoy the natural beauty that the candlelit streets provide as you stroll through the historic village. Decorations, music and more set the mood for a wonderful historic holiday experience. The homes are adorned with historic period decorations, and thousands of luminaries will light the streets throughout the town. Tours are available, as well as an evening meal at Williams Tavern Restaurant.

Venue: Historic Washington State Park
Date: Dec. 8-9
More Information: Click Here

The Living Nativity |Searcy

The Living Nativity is a free drive-thru event where the Christmas story comes alive as the outside of a church is transformed to reflect the hustle and bustle of Bethlehem as it would have appeared in biblical times. There will be exotic animals, handmade costumes and crafts setting the scene for the Nativity. Visitors come face-to-face with the Roman guards at the city gates before being swept into an authentic-looking and multidimensional experience of the first Christmas.

Venue: Searcy First Assembly of God
Dates: Dec. 1-4, 6 and 8-10
More Information: Click Here

Christmas at the Park | Jonesboro

Christmas at the Park is a winter wonderland with over a half-mile drive-thru of an estimated 65 collections consisting of almost 450 pieces with over 400,000 lights. The trees at Joe Mack Campbell will offer a Snowflake Forest as well as the longest drive-thru lighted tunnel.  As guests travel through the drive-thru, they will have an opportunity to participate in an A-State Howl & Scarlet Scavenger Hunt of several custom-designed pieces. Guests will also be able to venture out of their cars and visit the concession stand, take pictures with props and when available, even meet Santa. The attraction will also offer events throughout the season, such as community caroling and fireworks.
Venue: Joe Mack Campbell Park
Dates: Click Here
More Information: Click Here

Marlsgate Plantation | Scott

The Marlsgate Plantation is a beautiful place to visit any time of year. But, during December there are several events to choose from that would make a perfect outing. Tickets are required for each. There is a candlelight dinner, Children’s “Road to Bethlehem” experience and a Christmas Afternoon Tea.
Venue: Marlsgate Plantation (Scott)
Dates: Varies depending on the event
More Information and Tickets: Click Here

A Christmas Story- The Royal Theatre | Benton

The Royal Theatre was originally built in 1920 and then remodeled and enlarged in 1948-49. The most notable features are the neon-trimmed marquee and the vertical Royal sign that came from the theater in Little Rock that was remodeled as the Center Theater (which is no longer standing). The Royal operated as a movie theater for many years and was later sold to Jerry Van Dyke in the early 1990s. Van Dyke, possibly best known as Luther on the TV show “Coach,” ran movies, as well as talent shows and events in the building. This December, there will be a showing of The Christmas Story to enjoy during the holidays.
Venue: The Royal Theatre (Benton)
Dates: Dec. 7-10 and 14-17 (Click Here)
More Information and Tickets: Click Here

Garvan Woodland Gardens Holiday Lights | Hot Springs

Celebrate the beauty of the season in an outdoor winter garden! The winter garden festival will run through the month of December. The garden is transformed into an absolute beauty with thousands of lights to enjoy. This would make a perfect night out to add to your holiday traditions.

Venue: Garvan Woodland Gardens
Date: Open Daily through December (Closed Christmas Day)
More Information: Click Here

Lights of the Ozarks | Fayetteville

Enjoy the award-winning winter wonderland on the Fayetteville Historic Downtown Square. Every year, nearly half a million twinkling lights illuminate the square each evening from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. through New Year’s Day. Winter treats, hot cocoa and festive music make the Lights of the Ozarks an event that cannot be missed. There will also be letters to Santa (you might get a reply!) and food trucks.
Venue: Downtown Fayetteville
Date: Nov. 17- January 1
More Information: Click Here

Andrew Peterson – Behold the Lamb  | Jonesboro and Fayetteville

Andrew Peterson has been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments. In the city of Nashville, TN, Peterson has forged his own path, refusing the artistic compromises that so often come with chasing album sales and radio singles and creating instead a long line of songs that ache with sorrow, joy and integrity, and that are, at the end of the day, part of a real, ongoing, human conversation. Andrew is also the award-winning author of The Wingfeather Saga, a four-book fantasy adventure series for young people. He will be performing in Jonesboro and Fayetteville this month.
Venue: University Baptist Church (Fayetteville)
Date: Dec. 8
Venue: Central Baptist Church (Jonesboro)
Date: Dec. 10
More information/Tickets: Click Here

Piccoloe Zoppé Winter Circus  | North Little Rock

This is not just any circus that is coming to town. The Zoppé family has enchanted audiences worldwide since traveling the cobblestone roads of Italy in 1842. One hundred eighty years later, their passion for performing their art and sharing their hearts with their audiences remains true to this day. Arkansas residents for over 35 years, The Zoppés are excited to bring their talent to the families of their home state. Piccolo Zoppé is an intimate, European-style circus, classic in its beauty. No audience member is more than 18 feet away from the ring. When you arrive, you will be greeted by some of the performers in the foyer, where you’ll be entertained and invited to emerge in the surroundings, stepping back in time and indulging in European-style street food and, of course, all the circus favorites, popcorn, cotton candy and other delectable delights. So come early and bring your appetite. As you enter the main tent, you will soon become aware that this circus is completely different. Petite and unique. You will witness the beauty of galloping horses, performing dogs, aerialist feats, jugglers, acrobats, and all you would expect from a classical European circus. Join them for a most unforgettable experience where you will laugh, cry, and become part of their family.
Venue: Argentina Arts District, North Little Rock
Date: Dec. 1-10, 15-23, 26-31
More Information: Click Here

Breakfast with Santa at the Zoo | Little Rock

Santa is coming to the Little Rock Zoo for a holiday breakfast!
Join Santa at Café Africa where he will listen to wish lists from little children and “big” children alike. Breakfast begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. Food will be served until 10:00 a.m.
Venue: Little Rock Zoo
Date: 12/16
More Information: Click Here

TheatreSquared’s A Christmas Carol | Fayetteville

TheatreSquared’s signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state’s largest theatre, welcoming more than 80,000 community members to 350 performances and events each year. The company is Northwest Arkansas’s theatre, offering a unique audience experience of immersive, professional productions in an intimate setting and this month you can enjoy A Christmas Carol live performance. There are several dates to choose from.
Venue: 477 W Spring St., Fayetteville
Date: There are several dates to choose from in December
More Information: Click Here

December Running Events in Arkansas

During the holiday season, many towns around Arkansas host running events that the whole family can enjoy! You don’t have to be an experienced runner to enjoy an Ugly Christmas Sweater run. Check out a run that is locale to you and consider adding it to your holiday traditions.

More Information on the following races: Click Here

Freedom Frosty 5k- Bentonville- Dec. 2
Jingle Bell 5k- Mountain Home- Dec. 2
Jingle all the Way- Van Buren- Dec. 2
Hope for the Holiday- Batesville- Dec. 2
Jingle Bell Run- Little Rock- Dec. 2
Diamond Jingle 5k- Murfreesboro- Dec. 2
Santa Shuffle- Harrison- Dec. 2
3 Bridges Marathon- Little Rock- Dec. 9
Ugly Sweater 5k- Wynne- Dec. 9
Ugly Sweater Race- Little Rock- Dec. 16

Hometown Holiday

In addition to all the events listed above, there are countless Holiday Open Houses, hometown parades, hometown craft fairs, and lighting ceremonies in communities all over the state. No matter where you live in the state, it will be easy to find a local holiday event to enjoy!

Happy December, Arkansas!

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Amanda Farris is homeschooling mom to four. She is a teacher/coach who hung up her coaching whistle after she got promoted to motherhood. She loves running and homeschool and is a certified running coach and has a YouTube channel all about homeschooling. She loves long chats over coffee with her husband and fresh flowers on her table. Her friends would call her a "gatherer of people” and a “doer of projects” ! You can find her on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/@Home.School.andLife

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