NWA provides so many annual events that there are more than enough to keep any family busy all year long!
From arts and craft fairs to motorcycle rallies, NWA has something to count on every year, for everyone. If running is a passion, there are annual 5k runs, if vehicles are something you love, there are annual events for you, too. NWA is a regular visiting spot for travelers of all interests, and with so many amazing things that keep coming back, it gives visitors another reason to stay.
Bikes Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally is probably the most famous annual event in NWA. This event takes place around the end of September each year in Fayetteville. Bikes Blues and BBQ is the world’s largest charity motorcycle rally, and all proceeds collected are donated to local NWA charities. The Roads of the Ozarks can convince any bike-lover that the trails themselves are worth the drive; the scenery awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping. The destination is more than worth the trip for hundreds of thousands of people every year. In 19 years, Bikes Blues and BBQ has raised over $2 million dollars, and all of this is to benefit the women, children, and underserved members of NWA. This event is family friendly and lasts for three jam packed days. In 2004 there were as many as 200,000 visitors for this event, and more than 400,000 in years since, although the travel numbers have slowed some in the more recent years. It takes more than 100 staff members to operate this event, most of them volunteers, all of them with the mission to make every visitor enjoy their time at Bikes Blues and BBQ. There are multiple free events here, as well as others that require passes or tickets. It isn’t a feat to find ways to enjoy yourself at this annual event, though! There is a vast selection of events within Bikes Blues such as band performances, a parade, a bike show, a bike giveaway, barbeque competitions, contests, demo rides, helicopter rides, bull riding, and more! There is a car and truck show to make time for, too, as well as the tattoo and art expo, Ink and Art In the Ozarks, for those of you that have a love for ink and art. This bike rally is huge, and second only to Sturgis! There are accommodations made in surrounding counties for the vast number of visitors that come in, including home rentals and car services. There are even brands of motorcycles like Road Kings, Ultra Classics and more to rent for the event! If you want to get a real feel for NWA, visiting Bikes Blues and BBQ is a really great way to do it!
If you prefer the sound from a great film over the sound of revving motorcycles, NWA has an annual event for you, too! The Bentonville Film Festival is hosted on the Bentonville Square in Benton county in early May every year! This six day event is a 501c3 non-profit American Film Festival that focuses primarily on diversity. It was made possible by Geena Davis, and brought to Bentonville when the founding sponsor, Walmart, suggested it for a location. The mission of this film festival is to facilitate actionable change towards balanced, diverse, and inclusive media. There are 400 inclusive films over the six day festival, as well as 60 impactful panels, a diversity and inclusion summit, and powerful discussions on diversity in media. This film festival wants to change the representation of media to adequately represent the diverse world around us by promoting underrepresented voices in the entertainment industry through research, education, mentoring, and industry partnerships. The Bentonville Film Festival is a wonderful place for the family, that provides a peaceful and fulfilling mission to share with our neighbors in NWA.
The roads of the Ozarks that lead you to NWA are simply breathtaking in the fall! The foliage and natural beauty lining all routes makes for a wonderful trek to NWA’s famous Fall Arts and Crafts Fairs. The Homegrown Festival in Siloam Springs is a great spot to visit in early October. They have arts, crafts, live music, food trucks, and even kayaking! Another festival to check out is the Spanker Creek Farms Arts and Crafts Festival that has been going strong for 11 years, and comes around in mid-October. Another huge fair hosted by NWA that you just can not miss is the War Eagle Mill Craft and Culinary Fair! This fair has been a part of NWA annual events for 44 years, and provides a wide array of arts and foods to fawn over. The War Eagle Mill Craft Fair provides watercolor art, botanical art, ceramics, jewelry, homemade soaps, delectable food samples, a cooking demo, and live music! The mission of this fair is to keep true handcrafted arts alive and well in the ozarks, and for almost 45 years they have been doing exactly that!
If food and music are your preferred arts, every year in August you can find the Fayetteville Roots Festival. This urban music and food festival is a great time for family and friends, neighbors or visitors. In Bentonville, the Oktoberfest is a great annual getaway for parents and friends. This festival is chock full of food, beer, and music! If that is something you love, then you should also know that NWA also hosts the annual Bite NWA; a three day food festival that celebrates the regions culinary arts. NWA prides itself on our food and drink, but don’t forget it also hosts several different annual runs and walks. NWA is host to the Purple For A Purpose 5k & Fun Run every year, to spread domestic violence awareness. NWA also hosts the Out Of The Darkness Walk in September to help aid in suicide prevention, and awareness. The Run Bentonville Half Marathon is another annual run hosted in Benton county that is worth exploring, as well!
NWA is known around the country for multiple annual events, and is the host to the largest LGBTQ pride celebration in the state, the NWA Pride Parade and Festival. Art lovers of all kinds come to visit our corner of Arkansas, as well as food and drink connoisseurs, motorcycle fans, famous actors, and others that just come to feel included and heard. There is no shortage of events in this area, and plenty of reasons to come back year after year. If you’re thinking about visiting to the NWA metropolitan area, any time of the year is a good time for events! So good, in fact, that you may even consider your next trip down to be your last so you can become a permanent member of such a beautiful, dynamic, and supportive area!