9 fun food, drink and music festivals coming up in Fayetteville

Block Street Block Party / Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer Staff

If we’re being honest, January probably isn’t topping the list of many folks’ favorite months in Fayetteville.

It is cold out there this time of year. It is dark out before most of us get off work. By comparison to the busy spring, fall and summer months, there just isn’t as much happening in town.

But rest assured, because better, warmer times are just around the corner.

Here’s some information on nine local food, drink, and music festivals coming up in Fayetteville in the months ahead.

Frost Fest

When:Saturday, Feb. 6
Where: 603 W. Ash St. (future home of the new Fossil Cove brewery)
What: The folks behind Fossil Cove Brewing Co. are planning a winter beer fest in February. The event will feature more than 20 of their favorite breweries, along with live music by Adam Faucett and the Tall Grass, National Park Radio, Vintage Pistol, and more.

Participating breweries include Fossil Cove, Ozark, Apple Blossom, Core, West Mountain, Bentonville Brewing, Saddlebock, Lost 40, Stone’s Throw, Bubba Brew’s, Blue Canoe, Springfield Brewing, Earthbound Beer, Crane Brewing, Coop Ale Works, Mother’s Brewing Company, Anthem Brewing Company, Diamond Bear Brewing Co, Flyway Brewing Co., Torn Label Brewing Company, Columbus House Brewery, Damgoode Pies, Black Apple Crossing, and Bike Rack Brewing Co.

Here’s more info about the festival from our beer columnist, Brian Sorensen.


When: Saturday, Feb. 20
Where: Fayetteville Town Center
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 40 teams competing for the best chili, there will be plenty of chili to sample. The Uncrowned Kings will be playing and there will be a hot dog man, an oreo bar and plenty of adult refreshments.

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

Fayetteville Gumbo Cookoff

When: Saturday, March 5
Where: Fayettechill Smokehouse Outlet (1725 S. Smokehouse Trail)
What: The folks behind the popular Fayetteville Foam Fest and Ales & Tails festivals are starting a new event this year.

The event will feature 15 teams in the inaugural year creating their best batch of the New Orleans favorite. In addition, the event will highlight local beer by Core, Fossil Cove, and Ozark Beer Company. There will also be live music by Clifford Todd and the Sharp Elevens, and Rachel B. Table for Three. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Foundation.

On the Map Festival

When: March 24-26
Where: Fayetteville Town Center
What: Some local folks are planning a brand new independent music festival called On the Map this spring.

Organizers of the inaugural event are hoping to put Fayetteville back on the radar for national independent music booking agents who have mostly gotten out of the habit of sending bands through town since the closure of Clunk Music Hall and the original JR’s Lightbulb Club (see our original story).

The event will take some cues from Hot Springs’ Valley of the Vapors independent music festival, which capitalizes on the stream of bands who are headed back home (or continuing tours) after performing at South by Southwest in Austin each Spring.

Artists already announced include This Will Destroy You (Dallas, TX), Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires (Birmingham, AL), Water Liars (Oxford, MS), Pallbearer (Little Rock, AR), Bleached (Los Angeles, CA), Tristen (Nashville, TN), Mike Adams At His Honest Weight (Bloomington, IN), and Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass (Little Rock, AR).

Here’s our original story about the festival.

Ales & Tails

When: Saturday, April 2
Where: Fayetteville Town Center
What: Ales & Tails is a boiled crawfish and craft beer festival that started a couple years ago in Fayetteville.

In addition to thousands of points 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 Arkansas Chapter of the ALS Association.

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


When: Saturday, April 16
Where: Downtown Dickson Street, Fayetteville
What: Springfest will return to Dickson Street in April

The event, which has been a Fayetteville tradition since the early 80s, is a street fest that includes local vendors, live music, a 5k run, pancake breakfast, a dog parade, and of course, the bed races up Dickson Street.

The lineup and details of this year’s event has not been released, but we expect to know more in the next month or so.

The event is also a benefit for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Springtime of Youth Festival

When: Saturday, April 30
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: The University of Arkansas’ Headliners Concert Committee annoucned recently that their new Springtime of Youth music festival will return for a second year.

The event debuted last year, and was introduced as an alternative to of the once-per-semester concerts held in the past at Barnhill Arena.

This year’s event is set for Saturday, April 30 and will likely include a diverse lineup of about 6-8 artists.

The lineup will probably be released sometime in February or March.

Fayetteville Foam Fest

When: Saturday, May 7
Where: Walton Arts Center Parking Lot, Fayetteville
What: The grandaddy of Fayetteville beer festivals will return for a fifth year in 2016.

The event, which as far as we can remember, was the first local beer festival of its kind in Fayetteville, is set for Saturday, May 7 in the Walton Arts Center Parking lot.

It’s also probably the largest beer festival in town in sheer numbers of craft beers available in town, boasting over 300 varieties in 2016.

The event will feature live music this year by Cutty Rye, a silent auction, and local food trucks.

There’s also a brewers dinner and brewery cycling tour planned in association with this year’s event.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Apple Seeds, Inc., and Ranger’s Pantry pet food bank.

Block Street Block Party

When: Sunday, May 22
Where: Block Avenue, Fayetteville
What: Block Street Block Party, the annual music, art, craft, and funkiness festival on Block Avenue is set to return on Sunday, May 22 this year.

The event will feature several stages of live music, beer gardens, local arts and craft vendors selling their wares, as well as activities for kids, and more.

It’s always one of the most fun days of the early summer in Fayetteville.

The lineup typically comes out in late spring.

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit onlyinark.com.