May Events Taking Place in Central Arkansas

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Kerry Kraus, travel writer

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

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Note to the Print and Broadcast Media:

In order to better serve your needs and to keep you from getting extremely long documents from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, we have decided to break down our Travelin’ Arkansas release into regions organized by date. This way you will be able to look only at the areas you are interested in covering. The territories covered in Travelin' Arkansas adhere to the six geographical regions found in the Arkansas Tour Guide. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions: or 501-682-7606.


If you are between the ages of nine and 14 and you love to jump, throw and run, be sure you sign up for the Hershey Track & Field Games in Jacksonville. Participants compete in basic track and field events at Jacksonville High School, 2400 Linda Lane. All those who enter have a chance to receive an all-expense paid trip to Hershey, Penn. take part in the annual North American Final Meet. The competition takes place May 3. Phone 501-982-4171 for more details.


Conway invites you to have a “toadally fantastic weekend” May 4-6 as the 31st Annual Toad Suck Daze rolls around. All the festival favorites are back, such as Stuck on a Truck, arts and crafts, 5K and 10K races, the Toad Market, the Toadal Kids Zone, the Toadal Game Zone, and Mardi Daze parade. Also taking place are performances by the Faulkner Academy of Arts members, Toad Suck car show, the Toad Daze pageant and the kid’s crawl, drag and squirt. New this year is a bicycle safety rodeo and tune-up shop.

Special guest entertainers this year are En Vogue on Friday evening, Indian Rodeo, Drake White, Randy Houser and Jamey Johnson on Saturday, and Jonny Diaz and Todd Agnew on Sunday. Highlight of the event is, as always, the World Famous Championship Toad Races.

All proceeds fund scholarships for Faulkner County students. Downtown Conway is home base for the festival. Admission is free. Visit for a full schedule or phone 501-327-7788 for more information.


It’s that wonderful time of the year again when fresh Arkansas produce is available. The Certified Arkansas Farmers Market opens May 5 for the season. The CAFM, in the heart of historic downtown Argenta, opens at 7 a.m., closing at noon. The market is located on the River Rail Trolley route in downtown North Little Rock at the corner of Main and 6th Street and has an abundance of free parking. Visit or phone 501-379-9980 for information.


A huge array of traditional Jewish dishes awaits those who attend Little Rock’s annual Jewish Food Festival, Sunday, May 6. These include old fashioned corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, cabbage rolls, blintzes, latkes, kugel and other ethnic delicacies. Homemade Jewish treats such as rugelach, honey cakes, challah and mandel bread are featured in the bakery. Visitors can also sample Israeli foods such as kabobs, falafel and salad. In addition to all the good eating, there will be cultural and religious booths showcasing various aspects of Jewish life from Arkansas to ancient Israel. The kids’ area will have plenty of activities, ranging from face painting to an area for jumping. Admission is free and all events are held at the River Market Pavilions. Visit or phone 501-663-3571 for additional information.


If you’re a numismatist, make a note of May 11-13 in Jacksonville. The 41st Annual Razorback Coin Show takes place at the Jacksonville Community Center, located at the intersection of Municipal Drive and West Main. It features dealers from throughout the region who buy and sell gold, silver, U.S. and foreign coins, currency, medals, tokens, jewelry and supplies. Admission is $2. Additional details are available by calling 501-985-1663.


One of the most beautiful areas of the Capital City is highlighted during the 48th Quapaw Quarter Association's Spring Tour of Historic Homes, May 12-13. P. Allen Smith’s original Garden Home, the Charles Thompson-designed Croxson House and the recently rehabilitated Boyle House are some of the featured structures. Several other privately owned homes along Arch and Gaines Streets are also a part of the event. As is traditional, there will be a candlelight tour followed by a dinner and gala at the Spanish Revival YMCA on Saturday. The Sunday afternoon tour is from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Event prices vary from $20 to $150 and can be found on Phone 501-371-0075 for additional information.


“Wicked Divas” will be on stage along with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra May 12-13 at Robinson Center Music Hall in downtown Little Rock. Eden Espinosa and Emily Rozek will be performing popular favorites from “Wicked,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Chicago.” Espinosa is an acclaimed vocalist best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked.” She has also performed the role of the green witch in both Los Angeles and San Francisco
. Rozek appeared at Glinda in the Los Angeles performances of “Wicked.” The curtain rises at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices range from $20-$65; $10 for students. Tickets can be ordered online by visiting Phone 501-666-1761 for more information.


Friday, May 18 brings Argenta's 3rd Friday ArtWalk in downtown North Little Rock. The event is held third Friday of the each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is along the River Rail trolley route. Over 10 businesses on Main Street from Broadway to 7th Street, then along Maple to 4th Street participate. Art works are found inside and out of the shops and galleries in the Argenta Arts and Entertainment District. Admission is free. Visit for a map and more information or call 501-758-1424.


An abundance of food is available at the 28th Annual International Greek Food Festival, May 18-May 20 in Little Rock. Various culinary traditions include Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Romanian, Russian, Indian, Middle Eastern, English and a dash of American dishes. In addition, music, dance and other cultural traditions are explored as well. A special kid’s area features face painting, a candy walk, a climbing wall, rides and grilled hot dogs. The indoor Old World Market has an ethnic grocery, frozen dinners to go, pastries, Stavriana jewelry, and other items. Guided tours of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church are also scheduled. Everything takes place at the church, located at 1100 Napa Valley Drive in Little Rock. Visit for a complete schedule of activities or phone 501-221-5300.


Get your shopping mojo going because the Antique Alley Arkansas Antique Show features over 40,000 temperature-controlled square-feet of antiques from around the country just waiting for you. Architectural salvage, Depression glass, antique and primitive furniture, estate jewelry, coins, antique silver, shabby chic décor, and more will be for sale May 19-20. The Conway Expo Center is located at 2505 E. Oak Street. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for ages 12 and younger. Visit or phone 501-230-5728 for more information.


The 35th annual Riverfest will “Let the Good Times Flow!” May 25-27 as Arkansas welcomes the beginning of summer. Activities take place in Riverfront Park and River Market District in Little Rock and the North Shore Riverwalk/Argenta District in North Little Rock. Headliners for 2012 are Joe Walsh, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boyz II Men, Government Mule, Mute Math, Chevelle, Third Eye Blind, Little Big Town, Snoop Dogg, Staind, B.o.B., Neon Trees and Trout Fishing in America.

The Rock-N-Stroll 5K Fun Run & Walk takes place on May 26 on the north side of the Arkansas River. The race covers a flat, fast course through the historic Argenta District. Dress as your favorite rock 'n roll star or cartoon character. Prizes for runners, prizes for the best costumes, and rock 'n roll music at the conclusion of the race. Registration fee includes a 3-day admission pass to Riverfest and a race T-shirt.

Tons of children’s activities, including squirt art on canvas, fanciful face painting, finger casts, a bean bag toss, bubble blowing, chalk it up fun, and hula fun take place in both the KidZone Playtime Promenade and KidZone Craft area located in the Ozark Pavilion. A huge array of food vendors will once again stretch the entire length of Riverfront Park including funnel cakes, cotton candy, corn dogs, turkey legs, burgers, brats, nachos, roasted corn, pies, ice cream, barbecue, pizza, Greek, Phillipine, and the world famous doughnut burger.

New this year is "Ruff on the River,” a pooch parade to be held at 3 p.m. on May 26. Get creative in costuming your dog then head to the River Market District to register and take park in the stroll. Tickets at the gate are $30. A full schedule of events is found on Additional information is available by calling 501-255-3378.


Two holiday events featuring the Riverfest fireworks display take place Sunday, May 27 on the river in downtown North Little Rock. Maddie's Memorial Day Maritime Bash begins at 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Sponsored by Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders in cooperation with museum, it includes live music, a picnic, and the viewing of Riverfest fireworks from the deck of the USS Razorback submarine. Dinner includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, baked beans, cole slaw, cookies, and a soft drink. There will be a donation bar as well. Admission is $25 and is tax deductible. AIMM is located at 120 Riverfront Park Drive. Visit or phone 501-371-8320 for more information.

The Arkansas Queen Riverboat is hosting a Fireworks Dinner Cruise, also on May 27. The menu features a garden salad, roasted pork tenderloin, queen’s chicken, scalloped potatoes, Southern-style green beans, whole kernel corn, rolls, Captain’s dessert, and beverages. The price is $41.95 per person. Visit or call 501-372-5777 for more details.


Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"