Praise the weather gods. We've made it to the cool side of Labor Day and are staring down the barrel of autumn nights, perfect afternoons and the return of a whole slew of citywide-favorite events, some of them for the first time since 2019.
Many organizers are still finalizing any COVID-19 safety protocols, and will continue to do so up until gametime. Our advice? Double check before you go, wear your mask if needed and get vaccinated to experience it all as safely as possible.
That said, Siri, please add all of these dates to our calendar.
Main Street Food Truck Festival | Sept. 11
Nature is healing. The MSFTF has often helped kick off the fall festival season, but canceling in 2020 and a later 2021 date put a stop to that. Now, it's all coming back to you Celine-style with entertainment, local vendors and more than 60 food trucks on the streets of downtown Little Rock. This is a statewide favorite for a reason, so bring stretchy pants.
Acansa Roots Festival | Sept. 21-24
No, you're not imagining things. Yes, the official (and COVID-postponed) Acansa Arts Festival of the South was in March. To help get back on its traditional fall schedule, the fest is doubling up with this scaled-down event reminiscent of its early years and highlighting artists with Arkansas connections at venues across the metro. No complaints here.
Little Rocktoberfest | Sept. 24
How does an entire stadium's worth of craft beer sound to you? The state’s premier brew and craft beer festival is offering exactly that as it enters its 18th year put on by the Central Arkansas Fermenters. Held at War Memorial Stadium, proceeds from this year's event go to the Miracle League of Arkansas. Also on Rocktober's to-do list: Great food, even more great beer, games and music. On ours: Be there.
Little Rock Yoga Festival | Oct. 2
Not every festival is about food and drinks. After a successful launch last year, this event brings together local yogis from various practices to lead meditations, hikes and of course, yoga sessions at Wildwood Park for the Arts. Ok, yes, there will also be food trucks and vendors on site. A yogi's gotta eat, too.
International Greek Food Festival | Oct. 21-22
We can smell the gyros now. This year's Greek Food Fest will once again be held curbside at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church where hungry locals can pre-order their favorite dishes online and pick them up drive-thru style. Are we anxiously awaiting the day the full festival returns? Of course. But until then, we can't quit you, baklava. Proceeds benefit Community Connections, Easterseals Arkansas, The Centers for Youth and Families, Youth Home and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas.
HarvestFest | Oct. 22
This event is all things to all people. You'll find concerts, tons of food, activities, a dog show and lots of vendors taking over the historic streets of Hillcrest at this family favorite festival. Pro tip: Make sure you hit up the pancake breakfast. Along with being delicious, a portion of the proceeds from this event benefits The Allen School.
Festival of Darkness | Oct. 22
More beer, please, but add a little undead spice. This block party at Lost Forty marks the brewery's annual release of its barrel-aged batch of Nighty Night Imperial Stout, along with serving up dark brews from across the region, but it also takes full advantage of the spooky season. Expect lots of zombies (including a costume contest), plus music and food trucks, all to benefit Recycle Bikes for Kids.
Flyght Black Wine & Culture Festival | Oct. 22
Beer not your thing? This one's for you. Held at Park on the River in Maumelle, this event serves a full menu of curated wine tastings, food trucks, live music, vendors and more, all with a focus on Black-owned businesses. It may only be in its second year, but the early buzz around the 2022 event suggests it's worth the hype.
Chili Fights in The Heights | Oct. 29
Cue the happy cry emoji. While you're at it, cue the pepper, fire and dancing lady emojis, too. Hosted by The Hat Club, this neighborhood fest is finally back, bringing teams from near and far to throw down the chili gauntlet and compete for top honors. It gets better: Attendees get to sample it all, and proceeds benefit the Arkansas Foodbank.
World Cheese Dip Championship | Oct. 30
When I dip, you dip, we dip ... right into a competition made of pure, liquid gold. Come enjoy live music as you make the rounds in the River Market Pavilions taste testing some of the world's best cheese dips from amateurs and professionals alike. That's right, we said "world." All proceeds benefit Harmony Health Clinic.
Filmland | Nov. 3-6
Popcorn on deck. One of Arkansas' top film festivals is back and bringing things back indoors. Hosted at the Ron Robinson Theater, attendees can expect a lineup of Hollywood appearances, panels and screenings of "cutting-edge, relevant, curated films and television shows" — plus Arkansas-made short films — that the Arkansas Cinema Society is known for. Keep an eye out for schedule announcements in the coming weeks.
And no, we haven't forgotten about the Arkansas State Fair Oct. 14-23. We broke that down for you here.
New for 2022:
Arkansas Times Margaritafest | Sept. 15
Ok, so this festival isn't technically new to the city, but this is the first time it's being held in the fall, and it's hard to turn down a whole Argenta Plaza full of margaritas. Food trucks, music and so many margs from local bartenders await. This is how you do Thirsty Thursday.
Also from the Arkansas Times events team comes this inaugural event, also to be held at Argenta Plaza. And if your powers of deduction led you to believe this fest is all about showcasing craft beers brewed in Arkansas, then we raise our glass (filled with tasty local brews) to you, detective. You've earned yourself a drink.
Not on the Calendar (Yet):
After COVID threw a wrench into things, we've seen some new dates, some switch-ups and some radio silence. Here's what's still missing from the traditional fall lineup.
- Africa Day Festival
- Arkansas Cornbread Festival
- Arkansas Italian Food & Wine Festival*
- Cupcakes for Goodness Sake*
- Festival of Wines
- Yadaloo Music & Arts Festival*
* Postponed 2021 event held earlier this year; TBD whether it'll return to an annual fall schedule
We'll be updating this list as we learn more. Have an update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.