2020 Arkansas Anniversaries

From popular festivals to historic commemorations, Arkansas is ready to celebrate in 2019. Learn more about the festivals, performances and other events that mark a milestone anniversary this year.

Red Ryder BB Gun turns 80
Region: Northwest

Rogers is home to the Daisy Manufacturing Company, the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of airguns, ammo and accessories and the Daisy Airgun Museum showcase its history with 150 antique airguns dating to the 1600s.

The most famous BB gun in the world, the Daisy Red Ryder, is a classic tradition that’s as strong now as it was when it was designed 80 years ago. This lever action carbine has taught marksmanship and gun safety to generations. Introduced in 1939, the Daisy Red Ryder is easily the most famous BB gun ever built. Maybe you own one, or may you know it from the movie, “A Christmas Story” with that well-known line, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” You can see a leg lamp like the one in the movie at the museum too.

CONTACT: midamericamuseum.org, (501) 767-3461 

55th annual Daisy National BB Gun Match
Region: Northwest

Each year the Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match features youth teams from across the nation competing in this 5-meter, 4-position National Championship match. In 2019, 64 teams converged on Rogers for the 54th year of the “Daisy Nationals,” from as far away as Oregon, Montana, Georgia and Houston, Texas. Teams consist of five shooters and two alternates ages 8-15, who have completed the Daisy Curriculum and other training provided by organizations such as the 4H Shooting Sports, Royal Rangers, the American Legion and other community and youth based clubs. Teams must also place first, second or third in their state’s NRA-sanctioned contest to get an invite.

Youth competitors shoot 10 shots from each of four positions – Standing, Kneeling, Sitting and Prone – at the target placed at 5 meters and these kids are good. They shoot Daisy Model 499B Champion BB guns, billed as the most-accurate BB gun in the world. Each year multiple shooters place all 10 shots in the bullseye.

There’s also a safety aspect to this match. On the first day, every competitor takes a 50-question written test that covers gun safety, match rules and shooting knowledge. The results of the test make up 20 percent of each competitor’s final score  and that can be the difference between the Gold and Silver medals.

2020 marks the 55th year for the competition.

CONTACT: https://www.daisy.com/daisy-nationals/, 479-636-1200


Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
March (TBA): 30th annual Kite Festival
Region: Northwest

Sponsored by KaleidoKites of Eureka Springs, this free-to-attend event is held on property at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and it's the only kite festival in the world hosted by a big cat sanctuary.

Enjoy food/service/merchandise vendors, live music, games, giveaways and more at this all-ages event. Bring your own kite or make one onsite with the experts from KaleidoKites. And be sure to tour the Refuge during the day to learn about the nonprofit's animal residents and how you can help protect survivors of the exotic animal trade. (Note: Standard admission applies to tour the Refuge. Learn more here.)

Turpentinecreek.org; 479-253-5992


2020 Anniversaries and Events – Arkansas Delta

April 2020 marks the 155th anniversary of the Sultana disaster. On the early morning of April 27, 1865, the SS Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis. It became America’s greatest maritime disaster, killing nearly 1,800 of the nearly 2,400 passengers onboard. Many of those were former Union soldiers on their way home following the end of the Civil War. The boat sank near Marion, home to the Sultana Disaster Museum.

The renowned King Biscuit Blues Festival in historic Helena celebrates the big 3-5 in October 2020! The acclaimed blues festival brings visitors from across the globe to the banks of the Mighty Mississippi to celebrate the Arkansas Delta’s influences on the genre. The festival dates for 2020 are Oct. 7-10.  

The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival in Stuttgart is one of the biggest and best festivals in the Arkansas Delta. In 2020 the renowned festival celebrates 85 years. Thousands from across the country flock to the event to celebrate the town’s moniker as the “Duck Capital of the World!” The festival is held Thanksgiving week. The festival also hosts the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-off. In addition to the world-class calling competitions, the event features a carnival, sporting goods and collectibles shows, arts and crafts and a variety of exhibits.


May 30: 15th annual Running of the Tubs
Region: Southwest

Costumed teams push customized bathtubs on wheels down historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. Free and fun for the whole family.

CONTACT: visithotsprings.org, (501) 321-2277

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