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Northeast Batesville
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Northeast Travel 3

Batesville: A Christmas Wonderland


Some consider Batesville to be the Christmas Capitol of Arkansas, and rightly so. The White River Wonderland features millions of twinkling lights along America’s best trout fishing riverbanks.

But seriously, Christmas is a “thing” in Batesville, and everyone comes out for the show. We still hope a Hollywood team finds this the perfect film studio for an Arkansas Hallmark movie! Can you think of a better location?

The White River Wonderland is the best spot in Batesville to see lights. Some may even argue that distinction applies to anywhere in Arkansas! Park and walk the illuminated trails with your family and friends. Batesville is a destination-worthy holiday weekend or at least a day trip from many sections of the state.

The White River Wonderland also includes several features that ramp up the festivities:

  • Lights Display – through Jan. 2.
  • 70-foot Ferris wheel
  • Train Ride – all aboard the custom-built White River Express
  • Ice skating on the synthetic ice rink. Groups can rent the rink for two-hour segments, and discounts are available for school groups.
  • Carriage Rides – old-fashioned, traditional sleigh ride experience
  • Snap a selfie with Santa and leave your wish list

How can I experience Christmas in Batesville?

A Very Melba Christmas
A free movie lineup of Christmas classics in a historic theater began the week after Thanksgiving, with some repeats carried through Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to check out the concession stand for memorable holiday and movie-themed treats. Doors open one hour before movie time with general admission seating.

Batesville Christmas Parade
Hosted annually by the Kiwanis Club, the community parade meanders along historic Main Street with a Christmas in Toyland theme where dancers, drummers, drivers, and local businesses will parade along the route to gather the community and celebrate the season.

A Downtown Christmas
Hosted by Main Street Batesville, the most wonderful time of the year is full of wonderful events. And, if Small Business Saturday was any indication, it will be a Christmas to remember. Follow Main Street Batesville on Facebook and beyond for daily details and updates for many of the events below, including holiday shopping challenges, hidden shopping sprees, and where to avoid the Grinch!

A Festival of Lessons and Carols
Imagine an evening of pioneers gathered in a small white church with candles and traditional hymns. Lessons and Carols is a valued tradition by many liturgical faiths. Students from Lyon College and the Batesville Choral Society will usher in the Christmas season with traditional hymns, readings, poems and scripture readings. The event is free and open to the public.

Lyon College Concert and Tree Lighting
This annual event sets the stage for the Christmas season on Lyon College’s campus. Join local musicians and college students for vocal performances, choral presentations, and greetings from university leaders during the concert in Sloan Auditorium, followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony.

Ye Olde Christmasse Madrigal
An annual event hosted by Southside High School featuring the choral department in a reenactment of a 15th-century medieval feast. Traditional bites of a Christmas festival with jester entertainment, stories, and choral performances are treats for guests.

Christmas Tour of Holiday Homes
The Preservation Society finds the holidays a perfect time to offer self-guided access to five historic downtown homes. Experience a bygone era and imagine families of old gathering in kitchens and living rooms while children run the halls singing Christmas tunes. Tickets can be purchased online.

Wassail Walk
While sipping on Christmas’ oldest beverage, shoppers are encouraged to stop at all participating businesses on Main Street and get a punch in their card for a chance to vote on the best wassail and local shopping spot in the historic commercial district. This is a great way to mark off your Christmas list!

Holiday Variety Show
Batesville Community Theater is one of the most active troupes in the state, and around the Christmas season, all participants like to show off their talent. In a typical Holiday Variety Show, participants perform multiple acts, from reading to dancing, singing and instrumental acts, while local volunteers also coordinate costumes and show production. It is a great way to support local community theater, learn more about community members, invest in year-round events, and even snag a few tasty holiday treats.

Other Christmas Events in Batesville

For a full lineup of Community Events, visit the Batesville Chamber of Commerce website.

What Christmas events occur for children in Batesville?

Furry Frenzy Toy Toss
Lyon College Women’s Basketball team hosts an annual event to benefit Angel Tree. Admission to their game on November 30 is free for anyone who brings a fuzzy stuffed animal. After they score their first points, the fur will fly! The local Angel Tree program receives the stuffed toys.

Christmas at The Ridge
Cedar Ridge Elementary School’s annual Pancakes with the Grinch and Pictures with Santa event raises money for the local PTO and is a great place to mingle with local friends and support a great cause. The event is December 2 from 8-11 a.m. and is open to the public.

NHCOC Polar Express
In addition to all the fun at the Wonderland, join the members of New Heights for their annual Polar Express event for the whole family. Children will experience treats, crafts, a message about Jesus and pictures with Santa!

Christmas Craft Day with Santa
Join others in Santa’s workshop at the Old Independence Regional Museum. Make holiday crafts and visit the gift shop for specialty gift items from local artisans.

What else can I do in Batesville?

Download the Batesville Insider’s Pass. An in-app experience gives you 30 locations to check off and win prizes as you digitally check in at businesses and historic sites around town.

Meet the

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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3 responses to “Batesville: A Christmas Wonderland”

  1. […] 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 […]

  2. […] River Wonderland | Batesville Do not miss visiting the Christmas Capital of Arkansas. Last year, 48,000 vehicles drove through the incredible display that ranks as a top idea for […]

  3. […] NHCOC Polar Express Family Night | Batesville […]

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