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This weekend, communities across central Arkansas will join together in a variety of celebrations designed to showcase the best things about Arkansas’s 501 area code on 501 Day.
A while back, members of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership were brainstorming community activities when it dawned on them that central Arkansas’s area code corresponded with a date on the calendar they had circled for a potential event. This lightbulb moment led to creating a new holiday that would be celebrated not just in downtown Little Rock but across the 501 area code.
Ellen Lampe, director of communications for the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, said, “501 Day provides a fun and unique opportunity to celebrate our region. Even more fortuitous is that May 1 (5/01) takes place during a gorgeous time of year, allowing for plenty of outdoor events and activities. As soon as we had the idea for a 501 Day on 5/01, we began calling other cities within the 501 to gauge their interest. Every single one was instantly on board and excited to participate. This has truly been a regional effort, and we’re grateful to everyone who has joined in! It has been a lot of fun to plan.”
The creativity and ingenuity of people and businesses in the 501 have really shined as the list of scheduled events planned for 501 Day begins to grow. Lampe has been overwhelmed by the clever events that communities are planning and mentioned that expectations for the first 501 Day had been far exceeded.
You may be familiar with the Celebrate 501 social media campaign that has been ongoing to celebrate unique and interesting things happening in our region. You may even follow @Celebrate501 on Instagram and Facebook. 501 Day is an extension of this campaign and is intended to be an annual celebration across the 501.
According to Lampe, a parade in Conway will kick off 501 Day weekend Friday, April 30. Other activities include a 501 Makers’ Market will take place in Heber Springs, and a “501 Fest” in Little Rock, all featuring local makers and businesses.
Numerous $5.01 deals will be available at local businesses and restaurants throughout the 501.
The event list continues to grow, and you can find a complete list at Celebrate501.com.
Lampe and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership hope to see this event grow into a weekend festival during the first weekend of May, or into a celebration with deals lasting the entire month of May. Luck had it that 5/01 fell on a Saturday in 2021. Lampe said it well when she said, “Supporting local can and should happen any day of the week, so regardless of what day of the week 501 Day falls on each year, we are confident there is plenty of fun and celebrating to be had.”
Celebrate501.com serves as the landing place for all events happening that day. Visit that website, click on your city, and see what’s going on near you and celebrate in your home community. If you are looking for a bit of adventure, take a road trip and explore somewhere new!
Can’t attend a 501 event this year? Grab a 501 Day shirt from Rock City Outfitters, the official T-shirt sponsor of the event, and celebrate in spirit!
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