HarvestFest is back and greener than ever. The 25th annual fall festival kicks off bright and early on Saturday, Oct. 12 — and in honor of its big anniversary milestone, HarvestFest is taking steps to become more environmentally friendly.

The festival will now ban single-use plastic bags. When guests purchase a product from a vendor, they'll be given their item in a free bag made from 100% recyclable material. The beer garden will also be selling reusable beer mugs and HarvestFest is encouraging vendors to eliminate styrofoam products.

“We’re a big festival, and it will take time for us to be as green as possible,” HarvestFest chair Steve Shuler said. “This year, we’re taking sustainable steps that we can build on to make HarvestFest the most environmentally friendly festival that we can.”

The fest will take over Hillcrest with 150 vendors, 13 food trucks, a gumbo cook-off, an all-day concert event, kids entertainment area, dog show, local beer garden and more. This year will also feature the new HarvestFest Baggo Tournament. Teams of two can register online or on the HarvestFest Facebook page. The winner will take home $250 and a prize package from Flyway Brewing. Proceeds from the tournament go to support the PTSA at Pulaski Heights Middle School in Hillcrest.

“With the fight for local control of the Little Rock School District, we felt it was important to support our own neighborhood public schools in any way we could,” Shuler said. “This tournament will help raise money that will support teachers and students while also providing a lot of fun and excitement for the festival.”

HarvestFest's primary charity is The Allen School. Located in Hillcrest, The Allen School works with special needs children up to age 5, helping prepare them and their parents for kindergarten. The Allen School has served the community for 60 years, helping hundreds of children develop their full potential. 

“The Allen School holds a special place in the hearts of the HarvestFest committee,” Shuler said. “The work that the school has done is vital. Children and parents leaving The Allen School are prepared to face the challenge of school life in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. It is our deepest honor to play a small part in The Allen School’s mission.”

Here's the schedule of events for HarvestFest 2019:

  • Lost Forty Fall Concert — All day (East End)
    • Momandpop – 11:30 a.m.
    • Little Joe and the BK’s – 1 p.m.
    • Rodney Block – 2:30 p.m.
    • Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster – 5 p.m.
    • CW Stoneking – 6:30 p.m.
    • Joshua Asante – 8 p.m.
  • Sunrise Yoga  7-8 a.m. (Hodge Orthodontics)
  • Hillcrest Farmers Market — 8 a.m. to noon 
  • Pancake Breakfast — 9-11 a.m. (Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church)
  • HarvestFest Baggo Tournament — Noon until 6 p.m. (West End)
  • Local Beer Garden — All day (Beechwood St.)
  • VIP Pavilion — All day (Parking lot above Hill Station)
  • Simmons Bank Kids Area — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Gumbo Cook-Off — 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Hodge Orthodontics, $5 admission)
  • HarvestFest Dog Show — 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Concert area)

For more info about HarvestFest, head to the Facebook event page or website.