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.
For some events, this will be the first in recent years without COVID-19 safety protocols. Our advice? Double check before you go, wear your mask if needed and get vaccinated or boosted to experience it all as safely as possible.
That said, Siri, please add all of these dates to our calendar.
Acansa Arts Festival of the South | Sept. 7-23
Yes, the festival season is technically already underway. Now back on its traditional fall schedule, Acansa is once again spanning three weekends with live performances across the metro including everything from ballet to bluegrass. No complaints here.
Arkansas Times Fall Margaritafest | Sept. 14
A companion to its springtime marg event, this festival brings a whole Argenta Plaza full of margaritas. Food trucks, music and margs from some of your favorite local bartenders await. This is how you do Thirsty Thursday.
Don't forget: Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 - Oct. 15. Here are three local events celebrating just that.
Tinkerfest | Sept. 16
We haven't forgotten you, parents. This Museum of Discovery fest is in its 12th year, taking over the River Market streets with hands-on activities, crafts and demonstrations for all ages, and all to encourage a spirit of innovation and creativity.
Main Street Food Truck Festival | Sept. 17
Another season-starter, MSFTF is the most flavorful event downtown (perhaps the whole city) sees all year. The 12th annual fest promises entertainment, local vendors and more than 60 food trucks lining Main and Capitol. This is a statewide favorite for a reason, so bring stretchy pants.
Little Rocktoberfest | Sept. 23
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 19th 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 and Dunbar Garden. Also on Rocktober's to-do list: Great food, even more great beer, games and music. On ours: Be there.
Also from the Arkansas Times events team comes this local pride event, which is also to be held at Argenta Plaza. It debuted last year as the Brewed in Arkansas Craft Beer Festival and is expanding this year to showcase even more delicious sips created right here in Arkansas.
Little Rock Yoga Festival | Oct. 8
Not every festival is about food and drinks. After a successful launch in 2021, 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, vendors and even a silent disco on site. A yogi's gotta eat, too.
Filmland | Oct. 13-17
Popcorn on deck. One of the state's top film festivals is back with a new venue: the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. 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.
Flyght Black Wine & Culture Festival | Oct. 15
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 third year, but the early buzz around the 2023 event suggests it's worth the hype. Update: This year's event has been canceled.
Festival of Darkness | Oct. 21
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 (this year's sub-theme is pirates), plus music and food trucks.
HarvestFest | Oct. 28
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.
Chili Fights in The Heights | Oct. 28
Neighboring neighborhoods, neighboring festivals. Hosted by The Hat Club, this fest is finally back in the fall rotation, 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.
Arkansas Cornbread Festival | Nov. 4
Cue the happy cry emoji. While you're at it, cue the skillet, fire and dancing lady emojis, too. For the first time since 2019, this foodie fest is back, once again flooding the streets of SoMa with competitors vying for top honors. Attendees will get a taste of it all, along with local vendors. Your stretchy pants are getting a workout this year.
Central Arkansas Whiskey Festival | Nov. 4
Whiskey enthusiasts, you're up. This fourth annual event is coming to the Maumelle Center on the Lake for a day of whiskey, bourbon and scotch tastings, along with other tasty cocktails perfect for sipping lakeside.
World Cheese Dip Championship | Nov. 17
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, taste testing some of the world's best cheese dips from amateurs and professionals alike. That's right, we said "world." This year comes with a new location at Dickey-Stephens Park and a "Foam Fest Craft Beer Festival." All proceeds benefit Harmony Health Clinic.
And no, we haven't forgotten about the Arkansas State Fair Oct. 14-23. We broke that down for you here.
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.
We'll be updating this list as we learn more. Have an update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.