Festivals Flourish During September in the Arkansas Delta and North Central Ozarks


September brings fun, family-friendly festivals to eastern Arkansas, along with cooler temperatures and the beginning of fall. It’s a great time to explore the Arkansas Delta and the North Central Ozarks!

Since 1941, the city of Rector has been celebrating the American worker, American families and American pride during the annual Labor Day Picnic. On Monday, Sept. 2, the tradition continues with the 72nd annual Rector Labor Day Picnic. The four-day event kicks-off on Friday, Aug. 30, with a golf tournament, an Oldies show, and a rodeo. Saturday, Aug. 31, begins with a 5K walk/run, followed by a classic car, truck and tractor show, the Hall of Fame luncheon, and a rodeo at 7:30 p.m. It’s armband day for the carnival on Sunday, Sept. 1, followed by various age groups competing for the Miss Rector titles. Monday, Sept. 2, begins with the parade at 9 a.m., followed political speeches, various Little Mister Rector and Little Miss Rector pageant categories and live entertainment. 

rector labor day2

Head to Osceola on Sept. 7 and try to hook “the big one” during the 2nd annual Big Catch Catfish Festival. Held along the banks of the Mississippi River at Sans Souci Park, the festival offers a catfishing tournament, kids activities, a 5K run, a band battle featuring local music groups, a Kids Fun Zone, food and beverage vendors, and live entertainment, including headliners Billy “Soul” Bonds and Andy Griggs. 

big catch catfish festival

The St. Francis County Museum and the Gladlands hosts the Downtown Farmers Market and Artisans’ Event in Forrest City on Saturday, Sept. 14. The event offers locally grown produce for sale, live music, and works available for purchase by local artists. The Forrest City Little Theatre performs, along with legendary folk singer, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller. 

Walnut Ridge hosts the 2nd annual Beatles at the Ridge Music Festival on Sept. 20-21. The festival commemorates the anniversary of the Fab Four’s visit to the town in 1964 and pays tribute to the legends of Rock n’ Roll who played venues throughout the area in the 1950s and 60s. The event features three stages of entertainment, demonstrations, a talent contest, a parade, a costume contest, a duck calling contest and over 100 vendors. 


The 70th annual White River Water Carnival is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Batesville. This year’s carnival brings back some favorite event traditions like the putt-putt tournament, the catfish cook-off, and the ballroom dance competition, while adding newer festivities like Art in the Park, the River City Cruisers car show, the Bone Collector wing-eating contest, the Kids’ Zone, fireworks, and the wildly popular Afterglow 5k and dance party, which takes place after the festival. 

white river water carnival 70th logo 2

Marianna hosts the 19th annual Autumn on the Square in the town’s historic downtown square on Sept. 21. The family-friendly event offers live music, a pet parade, arts and crafts booths, food vendors, a 5K run, a zip line, pony rides, bungee jumping and a street dance. For more information, phone 870-295-2469.

The Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott hosts the 10th annual Native American Day on Sept. 21. Boy Scouts from the region will display teepees and crafts, demonstrate Native American dance and games and make pinch pots. The outside event takes place from noon until 3 p.m. Free hot dogs and drinks will be served. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the afternoon activities.

native american day pfeiffer

It’s all about art at the Delta Dayz Arts Fest in Helena-West Helena on Sept. 21. Sponsored by the Arkansas Delta Arts Partnership, the event features local craftspeople and artisans selling their art and wares. In addition, there are craft projects for children of all ages. The event takes place at the Court Square Park, across from the Phillips County Courthouse on historic Cherry Street. 

Delta Dayz Arts Fest

Have a ding-dong of a great time at the 34th annual Ding Dong Days Festival in Dumas on Sept. 21-29! Watch as the Ding Dong Daddy and Ding Dong Momma are crowned. Join in for the Ding Dong eating contest. The festival also features rides and activities for children, a parade, a hoe down, open house at the Desha County Museum, pancake breakfast, live entertainment, and a variety of booths and concessions. 

ding dong days ding dongs

Have a great September!