The sight of a paddlewheel riverboat chugging soundlessly along the smooth waters of the Arkansas river…children laughing and playing under sunny skies…crowds singing along with big-name performers under the stars…foods from all over the world tempting your taste buds at every turn. Sound like fun? Head to beautiful Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas for the annual Riverfest festival! The festival’s inaugural year was 1978, a fundraiser for riverfront and downtown projects, now attracting more than a quarter million attendees each year. It’s the largest festival in the state!
Downtown Little Rock, Arkansas comes alive during Riverfest, and this year’s lineup of music and fun is stellar. Festival dates are May 25, 26 and 27; before the festival even gets rocking, a special celebration and wine tasting will be held on May 24 in the Rivermarket Pavilions. Attendees can bid on artwork, with proceeds used to fund a special Scholarship Fund. Gates officially open Friday at 6 pm, a great way to get your Memorial Day weekend off to a great start.
KidZone Playtime Promenade is located near the Peabody Playground and Water Park, where children can enjoy crafting, face painting, get a just-for-fun finger cast and play games. There will be lots of scheduled entertainment on stage, geared towards children. The Family Zone is located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer Village. A stage of entertainers keeps things peppy while you enjoy exciting activities including the Retriever Championships and the Soccer Collies. The Super Retriever Series Super Dock Championship offers the chance to see some of the most skilled dogs in the world, performing long jump and high jumps into a pool. These events are held each day at Heifer Village. The International Village is also found here, featuring performers from around the world and crafts galore. Dozens of food vendors will be on hand, serving up all kinds of dishes including fajitas, turkey legs, baklava, funnel cakes, corn dogs, gyros, egg rolls, pizza, crawfish, and the list just goes on and on. Merchants selling handmade jewelry and artwork, clothing and decorative items will be found at various locations throughout the grounds.
Head to Clinton Presidential Park to watch amazing triple twisting flips and incredibly cool acrobatics performed by top athletes who form the Rule the Air Trampoline Team. This synchronized performance includes skis and snowboards, using 2 trampolines, with super athletes jumping more than 25 feet in the air. Another sure to be popular event held at Clinton Presidential Park is the Dallas Cowboys On Tour program, a 53 foot trailer filled with LCD screens, a Super Bowl trophy and ring display, a replica locker room and life-size mannequins of your favorite players. Also offered are daily performances by a Monster Stunt Bike Team, sure to keep your kids happy they came along!
Among the major Riverfest activities which have been planned: get active at the Riverfest Rock ‘N Stroll 5K, Saturday May 26, and the 1st annual Ruff-on-the-River Pooch Parade will kick off on Saturday at 3:00, followed by a Weenie Dog Derby at the Family Zone.
So, what about all that music you’ve been promised? The lineup of stars includes some really big names, and a variety of musical genres is offered in hopes of pleasing almost everybody! The Miller Lite Amphitheatre’s shows are as follows: May 25 Neon Trees and BoyZ II Men; May 26 Lynyrd Skynyrd; May 27 Little Big Town and Joe Walsh. The Bud Light Stage features: May 25 Gov’t Mule and Staind; May 26 Mutemath, Chevelle and Third Eye Blind; May 27 B.o.B. (Bobby Ray Simmons) and Snoop Dogg. Stickyz Music Tent offers Sleeper Agent on May 25, The Itals on May 26 and Archnemesis on May 27. Additionally, Trout Fishing in America will perform at 8 pm on Sunday on the Arkansas Select Buick GMC Dealers Stage. What an amazing selection of musical talent, all in one place!
Economical 3-day passes are available for $30 and pre-sale tickets are discounted at $15 during April, rising to $20 May 1-27. Kids under 6 years old get in free with a paying adult. It’s easy to get around downtown Little Rock and to many local attractions on the CAT River Rail System; festival shuttles are available for $3 from War Memorial Stadium/AT&T Field and North Little Rock High School. Please do not bring coolers, beverages, food, bikes, skates, cameras with detachable lenses, video or audio recorders. For further festival information, check out the Riverfest website.
Looking for other things to do while visiting Little Rock? Family-friendly attractions include the much-loved Little Rock Zoo with its Children’s Farm and the Arkansas Museum of Discovery science center. If you are into history, this city hosts the Clinton Presidential Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the State Capitol and the Old Mill at Pugh Memorial Park. You can also visit the Central High School National Historic Site, a well-known icon from the civil rights movement. Everything you need to know before you visit this city can be found at our Little Rock City Guide!
Little Rock is the jewel of Arkansas, boasting a rare beauty you might expect from a state nicknamed “The Natural State”. Springtime is the perfect time to visit Little Rock, with mild temperatures and flowers blooming, so make plans to attend its favorite party, Riverfest, today!
With any major event or attraction, creating great travel plans can make or break your experience. For Riverfest, making your travel plans as far in advance as possible is helpful. An option is to book a downtown Little Rock, AR hotel and air package deal. If you are bringing the whole family, never fear as we offer all the Little Rock, AR discount hotels at the lowest prices. If you are budget-minded, check out our Little Rock Arkansas Last-Minute Weekend Deals for unbelievably low prices. Many visitors enjoy North Little Rock AR hotels as well, as this area offers many hotel and restaurant chains.