Several fun food and drink festivals, and other springtime events coming up in Fayetteville

Volunteers serve samples at Chilirhea, one of several fun food, drink, music festivals, and events coming up in Fayetteville

Courtesy photo

Things get admittedly a little sleepy in Fayetteville in the cold winter months, but stay tuned, everyone. This place is about to wake up.

In the warmer months ahead, there are a host of music festivals, food and drink fests, and other fun one-day or weekend long events happening in and around the city, and all of that is right around the corner.

Here are several events we know of that are happening over the next several months. As always, feel free to let us know which ones you are excited about in the comments below.


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 the Broyles Foundation, 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 a Western 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. Not too shabby.

Tickets are available now on 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.

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

Hogeye Marathon

When: April 14
Where: Springdale, AR
What: The annual Hogeye Marathon includes a full marathon, a half marathon, a 5k run, and other festivities.

The races make their way through Springdale, with a start and finish in the downtown area on Emma Avenue.

Joe Martin Stage Race

When: April 12-15
Where: Downtown Fayetteville
What: The Joe Martin Stage Race is a 4-day, 4-stage professional men and women’s cycling race along with a 2-day, 2-stage amateur stage race held in early spring each year in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

2018 will mark the 41st anniversary of the amateur races; 16th anniversary on the USA Cycling Pro Racing Tour (PRT) and 4th year to be on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) America Tour calendar.

The Joe Martin Stage Race is part of both the USAC Pro Racing Tour (PRT) which is the pro and elite amateur cycling tour of USA Cycling and the UCI America Tour.

Over 750 athletes and teams from 27 countries and all 50 states will be attending the race.


When: TBD
Where: Downtown Dickson Street, Fayetteville
What: Some new blood is trying to take over Springfest in 2018.

Habitat for Humanity took the reins from some local merchants last year, but have decided not to run the event this year. Local musician Amanda Rey, however, is trying to rally support to keep the tradition alive in Fayetteville.

A new Facebook page has been established, but no date for the event has been announced yet. We’ll keep you posted.

Springtime of Youth Festival

When: April 28
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: The University of Arkansas’ Headliners Concert Committee recently announced that their Springtime of Youth music festival will return for a fourth year.

The event debuted in 2015, and was introduced as an alternative to of the once-per-semester concerts held in the past at Barnhill Arena.

The lineup for the event will likely be released sometime in March. Past performers include Diplo, Børns, Wiz Khalifa, Mutemath, MisterWives, Moon Taxi, Big Sean, and Young the Giant.

Arkansas Brewgrass Festival

When: April 29
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: The Arkansas Brewers Guild’s annual craft beer and bluegrass festival is set to return to Fayetteville this spring.

The event will include local and regional bluegrass music, local arts & crafts, and of course, plenty of Arkansas craft beer as well.

It’s set to be a family-friendly event with plenty of activities for the kids. There will also be a market featuring handmade items from local makers and artists.

The music lineup this year will include East of Zion, Homeschool Dropouts, and Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings.

A full lineup of participating breweries, ticket info, and more will be announced at a later date.

Fayetteville Yoga Fest / Courtesy

Fayetteville Yoga Fest

When: May 4-6
Where: Mount Sequoyah
What: A three-day yoga festival is coming up in May.

The event, called Fayetteville Yoga Fest, is set for May 4-6 on Mount Sequoyah, and is “a celebration of movement, music, and mindful living.”

The event will feature more than 60 indoor and outdoor yoga classes, meditation classes, live music, group hikes, and more.

Bentonville Film Festival

When: May 1-6
Where: Downtown Bentonville
What: A film festival “focused on promoting underrepresented voices in the entertainment industry through research, education, mentoring and industry partnerships” will return to Bentonville this spring.

The Bentonville Film Festival, created by movie star Geena Davis and sponsored by Walmart, is set for May 1-6 at various locations around downtown Bentonville.

The week-long event will feature film screenings, panel discussions, and other events.

Fayetteville Foam Fest

When: May 12
Where: Fayetteville Downtown square
What: The largest of Fayetteville beer festivals will return for year seven in 2018.

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 12 on the Fayetteville square

The event will feature live music, a silent auction, and local food trucks. A VIP experience at the event includes heavy hors d’oevres, and local homebrew from local club, FLOPS (Fayetteville Lovers of Pure Suds).

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lib Horn Animal Shelter, Ranger’s Pantry, and the Breakaway Cycling Team.

Nutty Runner

When: June 2
Where: Columbus House Brewery
What: Featuring its namesake beer at every mile, this 5K race caters to those that want the chance to exercise outdoors, enjoy craft beer, and give back to a local nonprofit all at the same time.

Starting and finishing at Columbus House Brewery, this 5K course will weave through Fayetteville’s historic downtown and Wilson Park neighborhood.

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