23 festivals and events in NWA for fall 2018

Fayetteville Roots Festival / Photo: Meredith Mashburn

Fall is right around the corner, and that always brings about one of the busiest times of the year in and around Fayetteville.

The weather begins to cool, the students come back to town, and with the nicer weather plus 27,000 extra residents in the city, it’s kind of an ideal time to host an event or festival in the region.

As a result, that’s exactly what everyone does.

Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger events that we know about coming up this fall so you can get them on your calendar. We’ll likely add to this list, and as always, feel free to let us know what we missed in the comments.

Washington County Fair

Date: Aug. 21-25
Location: Washington County Fairgrounds
Description: The annual Washington County Fair is happening a little earlier this year. The event has moved up a week, but will still include all the same attractions locals have come to expect over the years, including the carnival, animal judging, music, pageants, petting zoo, bull riding and more.

New this year, a Lumberjack Show has also been added to the festivities.

More information about the fair, including a schedule is available at mywashcofair.com.

Fayetteville Roots Festival

Date: Aug. 22-26
Location: Various locations around Fayetteville and surrounding area
Description: What started as a small music festival in a restaurant parking lot has grown into much, much more. Fayetteville Roots Festival has expanded to become a multi-day, multi-venue, multi-city music, food, and folk culture festival that is now one of the signature events each fall in Fayetteville.

This year’s festival includes music by headliners like Gillian Welch, Turnpike Troubadours, Josh Ritter, Mavis Staples, Gregory Alan Isakov, Booker T. Jones, and John Fullbright, along with a host of chef dinners, food and spirits tastings, songwriting workshops, art installations, and tons more.

Many of the events at the festival will sell out, but a full schedule of events, including ticket information is available at therootsfest.org.

Clothesline Fair

Date: Sept. 1-3
Location: Battlefield Park, Prairie Grove
Description: The Clothesline Fair is an annual tradition in Prairie Grove. The event includes a craft fair on the grounds of the Battlefield Park. There’s also a square dance exhibition on Saturday. On Monday, Sept. 3, square dancers from high schools around the region will compete in the annual competition.

For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Pesto Fest

Pesto Fest

Date: Sept. 8
Location: Tri Cycle Farms
Description: The biggest fundraiser of the year for local nonprofit farm, Tri Cycle Farms, is a celebration of the delicious creation known as pesto.

The 7th annual Pesto Fest is coming up this fall, and will include a pesto making competition judged by local celebrity chefs, live music, kids activities, and more.

The music lineup this year includes Arkansauce, Ashtyn Barbaree and Nick Caffrey, The Home School Dropouts, and Warren Dietzel.

Advance tickets are $30, and proceeds benefit the farm. For more information, tickets, or to register for the event, visit tricyclefarms.org.

AMP Fest

Date: Saturday, Sept. 8
Location: Walmart AMP
Description: For the third year, the folks at Walton Arts Center are organizing an annual celebration of live music, craft beer, and technology at the Walmart AMP.

The third annual AMP Fest is set for Saturday, Sept. 8 this year. The event will include live music by Dazz & Brie, Goose and Mixtapes, craft beer from 20 local, regional, and national breweries, technology demonstrations, and more.

Tickets are $44, on sale now at waltonartscenter.org.

Chefs in the Garden

Date: Sept. 11
Location: Botanical Garden of the OZarks
Description: Chefs in the Garden is a fundraiser for Botanical Garden in the Ozarks featuring food created by a host of local chefs. Guests can stroll through the garden and sample from a diverse selection of sweet and savory culinary creations.

This year’s Honorary Chef is Mario Valdovino, Corporate Executive Chef and Senior Director of Culinary Innovations in the Research & Development Department at Tyson Foods.

Ticket prices are $50 for garden members and $75 for non-members. Visit bgozarks.org for more info.


Date: Sept. 15
Location: Winslow, AR
Description: A live music, arts and crafts, and family festival in Winslow, Arkansas.

This year’s event will include live music by Oreo Blue, Crescent City Combo, Randall Shreve, Greenland Station Bluegrass Band, Dylan Earl and the Reasons Why, The Creek Rocks, the Outliers, and Sugar Creek.

For a bit more info, visit winfestmusicfestival.com.

Cane Hill Harvest Festival

Date: Sept. 15-16
Location: Cane Hill College, 14219 College Rd (WC4762), Cane Hill, AR
Description: Cane Hill Harvest Festival includes live music, food, arts & crafts, quilt show, tractor show, children’s games and a petting zoo. There will also be demonstrations on making sorghum molasses, lye soap and hominy, and other attractions.

The music lineup for this year’s event hasn’t been released just yet, but last year’s was pretty great.

For a bit more info, visit the Facebook event.

NWA CX Series

Date: Sept. 29-30, Oct. 13, Oct. 21, Nov. 10-11, Nov. 18, Dec. 1.
Location: Fayetteville, Johnson, Springdale, Lowell, and Avoca
Description: A new group is hosting a series of Cyclecross races throughout the NWA Region this fall. The NWA CX Series is a six-race series intended for elite riders and newcomers. For those who aren’t familiar, Cyclocross is the fastest-growing discipline in bike racing, and is a highly spectator-friendly cross between criterium racing and mountain biking.

Events are scheduled in Lowell (Sept. 29-30), Bentonville (Oct. 13), Johnson (Oct. 21), Fayetteville (Nov. 10-11), Springdale (Nov. 18), with the Arkansas State Championship scheduled for Dec. 1 in Avoca.

For a bit more info, visit ozarkcross.cx.

Oz Cross, part of the NWA CX Series

Red Bull Pump Track World Championships

Date: Oct. 13
Location: Downtown Springdale
Description: The Jones Center is currently in the process of building a world-class mountain bike park and pump track, and as soon as it’s complete, it is set to host the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships this fall.

Qualifying rounds for the final began in March in Indonesia. Other events have since been held in the Philippines, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Chile, Thailand, Scotland and France. In all, 21 qualifying events will have taken place around the world ahead of the championship final.

More information about the event is available at redbullpumptrackworldchampionship.com/.

Fayetteville Film Fest

Date: Sept. 20-22
Location: Downtown Fayetteville
Description: Fayetteville Film Festival will take place at various locations around downtown Fayetteville, though most of the screenings occur in the Global Campus Theater on the square. The festival includes feature films, shorts, documentaries, experimental films, along with workshops, filmmaker Q/As, a red carpet kickoff party, and other film-related events.

More information, including tickets, are available at fayettevillefilmfest.org.

Square to Square

Date: Sept. 22
Location: Bentonville Square to Fayetteville Square
Description: The semi-annual Square to Square bike ride and festival is set for Sept. 22 this year.

The Square 2 Square Bike Ride follows the Razorback Greenway, and in the fall, will begin on the Bentonville square and and finish in downtown Fayetteville. It’s a 30 mile ride in all, though riders can choose to start anywhere along the trail system to participate. In addition to the ride, there are festive pit stops along the way, refreshments, and more.

A mini-festival will take place on the Fayetteville square at the finish line.

The ride is $25 for adults, and $15. More information is available at the city of Fayetteville’s website.

Square to Square / Staff photo

Frank Stanford Literary Festival

Date: Sept. 21-23
Location: Various locations around Fayetteville
Description: Ten years ago, a gathering of more than 100 poets from across the country assembled in Fayetteville, Arkansas to read the poems of Frank Stanford and celebrate the vibrant work of other outsider artists.

This fall, the folks from Open Mouth Readings and Typo Magazine will honor Stanford’s legacy and creative work with another installment of the Frank Stanford Literary Festival.

The event will also celebrate the work of fellow Arkansas-born poet and Lost Roads co-founder, the late C.D. Wright, the continuing work of Lost Roads Publishers, and the array of poets influenced by Stanford and Wright who continue to work, as Stanford charged, to “reclaim the landscape of American poetry.”

The festival will include tribute readings, readings by active poets, panels and conversations, film screenings, special guests, and a marathon reading of Stanford and Wright’s work.

For more information, visit the event website.

Bikes, Blues & BBQ

Date: Sept. 26-29
Location: Various locations around Fayetteville, NWA
Description: One of the largest bike rallies in the country, Bikes, Blues & BBQ roars into Fayetteville and the surrounding area every year in late September. The four-day event includes dozens of local and regional blues acts, a barbecue competition featuring some of the best pit-masters in the country, a huge bike parade, a battle-of-the-bikes competition, beer gardens, a Miss Bikes, Blues & BBQ pageant, and tons more.

For more information, visit bikesbluesandbbq.org.

Bikes Blues & BBQ / Photo: Clayton Taylor


Date: Oct. 4
Location: Hello Cocoa (4170 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.)
Description: The Jackson L. Graves Foundation will host their annual “Choctoberfest” event at Markham & Fitz in Bentonville this fall. The event “blends the best of Chocolate and Beer to benefit the Jackson L Graves Foundation” and their mission to support local families with a baby in the intensive care unit at local hospitals.

The event runs from 5-10 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, and $45 at the door, and all of the proceeds benefit the Jackson L. Graves foundation.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 1 at jacksongraves.org.

Downtown Runaround

Date: Saturday, Oct. 6
Location: Downtown Springdale
Description: The third annual Downtown Runaround is set for Saturday, Oct. 6 in downtown Springdale.

The event, benefiting local nonprofits The Jones Center and Camp War Eagle, will include a 5k, 10k, and a fun run race showcasing areas of the downtown area including Springdale’s Shiloh Square, the Razorback Greenway, and other parts of the downtown area. After the race, an after party featuring family-friendly activities including food, games, inflatables, and live music is planned along Emma Street.

Registration is $20 for the 5k, $30 for the 10k, and $10 for the “funnest” run through Sept. 24, and will go up by $5 for each entry after that.

Visit thejonescenter.net for more info.

Fayetteville Oktoberfest

Date: Oct. 7
Location: Fayetteville square
Description: A local celebration of craft beer organized by the Arkansas Brewers Guild, Oktoberfest is set to take place on the square this year.

It will include live music, local beer, arts and crafts, and other festivities.

More information about this year’s event will be released at a later date.


Date: Oct. 13
Location: St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1386 S. West End St. in Springdale.
Description: The annual Brewtober festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 13 at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1386 S. West End St. in Springdale. The event showcases homemade chili, brats, and craft beer made by local homebrewers. Festivities include all-you-can-sample tastings of chilis and craft beers, live music, bratwursts, a silent auction and a people’s choice award for the crowd’s favorite chili and homebrew.

To enter this year’s competition, visit straphaelcc.org/brewtober-chilifest.

Downtown Runaround / Courtesy

Hillberry Festival

Date: Oct. 11-14
Location: The Farm (1 Blue Heron Lane, Eureka Springs)
Description: The Hillberry Festival is a music festival that takes place each fall at The Farm in Eureka Springs. This year’s lineup includes Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Lettuce, Sam Bush, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Big Smith, Split Lip Rayfield, and lots of other acts.

Tickets range from $60 for a one-day pass, to $860 for the full weekend. For more info, visit hillberryfestival.com.

Hero Half Marathon

Date: Sunday, Oct. 14
Location: Lake Fayetteville
Description: The Hero Half Marathon is a scenic, chip-timed, point-to-point race starting at Lokomotion Family Fun Park before jumping onto the trail system at Lake Fayetteville. The race finishes on Dickson St. in historic downtown Fayetteville where participants will be greeted with a Finish Line Festival that includes music, food trucks, a beer garden, local vendors, sponsor booths, and activities for children. The race coincides with Fire Safety Awareness week, and includes a 9/11 Memorial to commemorate the sacrifices made then and now by firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders. Each year, several firefighters run the race in their full fire suits.

Proceeds support several local organizations that organizers say meet important community needs. Visit their website for more information.

True Lit Festival

Date: Oct. 28-Nov. 4
Location: Fayetteville Public Library
Description: True Lit: Fayetteville’s Literary Festival will be held from Oct. 28-Nov. 4 this fall. The literary festival, in its fifth year this year, will offer a variety of events including author talks, writing workshops, and more.

True Lit is organized by the Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville Public Schools, Fayetteville Education Foundation, Fayetteville Montessori School, and the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation. This year’s event will include readings by Kwame Alexander, Gordon Korman, and many others.

For more info, visit truelitfest.com.

Fayetteville Half Marathon

Date: Nov. 3
Location: John McDonald Outdoor Track Stadium
Description: The Fayetteville Half Marathon is a race intended to visit some of Fayetteville’s most unique landmarks. The event features a vendor retail expo at The Chancellor Hotel just off the downtown square, along with a half-distance marathon, 5K, and a 1 mile fun run/walk. The race begins and ends at The Gardens on the UA Campus.

For more information, visit fayettevillehalfmarathon.com.

Kessler Mountain Jam

Date: Nov. 3-4
Location: Kessler Mountain Regional Park
Description: Kessler Mountain Jam is a mountain biking festival and race at the Kessler Mountain Regional Park on Nov. 3-4. Formerly hosted in Bentonville as the Slaughter Pen Jam, Kessler Mountain Jam will be family friendly and feature live music, food, and much more. The single-track race is part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (AMBCS), a series of mountain bike races across the state of Arkansas.

For more information, check out our story from the spring about the event. There’s also more at the city of Fayetteville’s website.

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