Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run in Mena


 
Zoie Clift

 



The 36th annual
Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run is this weekend 
(Aug 26-27) in Mena. The event takes place at both Queen Wilhelmina
State Park and downtown. Around 200 hot rod and classic car owners from across
the nation make the trek to town. While there, there is plenty to do!

 


For starters, Mena is home
territory to the Wolf Pen Gap ATV trail system inside the Ouachita National
Forest. If you are into biking, there is the 6.8-mile Earthquake Ridge Trail.
For cyclists, the Talimena Scenic Byway is a long time favorite. The route
includes tough climbs, adrenaline packed downhills and beautiful overlooks. Or
you can drive the 54-mile scenic road. Vistas along the highway give panoramic
views across the Ouachitas.  It’s
great terrain for motorcycles!

 


There are also great
hiking opportunities in the area such as the Ouachita National Recreation
Trail.
  And the Ouachita Mountains
provide nice wildlife viewing spots. 

 

13 miles northwest of downtown  Queen Wilhelmina State Park, also known as
“The Castle in the Sky”, is located on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, the
second highest peak in the state. More details about what to do near or at this
state park can be found here.

 

Speaking of parks, other spots in town include Janssen Park,
a 10-acre park host to an 1851 log cabin rumored to have been used as a hideout
by the notorious Jesse James, besides being used as a hospital, post office,
and city hall during its lifetime. The park is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.

 

Another historic locale is the Kansas City Southern Depot at
524 Sherwood Avenue. The depot now serves as the town visitor center and houses
local history and railroad memorabilia. It’s listed on the National Register of
Historic Places.
 
Downtown on Main Street, the Mena Art Gallery features works
from local artists. The Ouachita Little Theater, originally the Lyric movie
theater, occupies a restored building that is now home to local playwrights and
productions.

 

The 1928 restored Esso Gas Station has rare muscle, classic,
and antique cars; street rods; and motorcycles and is located at 423 Mena Street.
It’s available to tour by appointment.

 
The Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary is also a great stop. I had a chance to visit the sanctuary and it really makes for a memorable time.   

 

Day trips are also an option while here. Located east of
Mena in the Pine Ridge community, the Lum & Abner Jot ‘Em Down Store & Museum houses memorabilia related to the popular 1940s radio comedy team of Lum and
Abner. The late Norris Goff of Mena portrayed Abner. Among the outdoor opportunities in the area are fishing on Lake Wilhelmina and area streams, challenging whitewater in the Cossatot River State Park/Natural Area and peaceful float trips on the Ouachita River.



 








 

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