Annual Festivals in Arkansas’s Capital City

Little Rock is Arkansas’s Capital for events

Little Rock is the capital of events and festivals in Arkansas–with year-round activities, excitement and festivals, there's always fun to experience. From music to marathons and food to film, Little Rock also has a wealth of annual events for the entire family.
Little Rock Marathon
The Little Rock Marathon has become one of the city’s largest events since its inception. Touted nationally as the race with the “World’s Largest Finishers Medal,” the race is in early March and consists of six categories – full marathon, half marathon, relay marathon, 5K run run/walk, classic rockers marathon, and the Little Rockers youth marathon.   

The Arkansas Literary Festival is an annual celebration of literacy, language, and the written word. The festival takes place the third weekend of April with activities for readers of all ages, abilities, and interests. 

Riverfest, Little Rock, Arkansas's largest festival is each Memorial Day Weekend. Riverfest is a family festival of visual and performing arts and more than 250,000 annual visitors attend Riverfest. Little Rock, Arkansas families and visitors from all over the state enjoy multiple bands, games, food and fun. The three-day event offers four stages of live performance and a variety of entertainment options, from a children’s free activity area, an area for young teens, art classes at the ArtZone, the International Village,  where festival-goers can travel the world, and numerous special attractions, events and family oriented activities. As the largest of the annual festivals in Arkansas, Riverfest offers something for everyone.

The International Greek Food Festival in mid-May is the largest of the ethnic festivals in Arkansas. More than 1,000 pounds of butter, 750 pounds of nuts and 700 pounds of filo dough are what it takes to make the more than 10,000 sourota, 17,000 pieces of Baklava and other pastries are prepared for the three-day annual event.  

The Little Rock Film Festival is an annual event each spring in Downtown Little Rock. Based in the historic River Market District, the festival showcases the best in narrative, documentary and short films from around the world – as well as parties, panels, workshops and youth programs. Southern and Arkansas filmmakers are featured and promoted, and in its first four years, the festival has hosted more than 350 films from three dozen countries. MovieMaker Magazine named the festival one of the “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and many refer to it as the “Best Little Film Festival in the South.”

Pops on the River is an annual event at the First Security Amphitheater each Fourth of July.  It is a free event, with a wonderful firework display accompanied by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  

The Big Dam Bridge 100 allows visitors to experience the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the world built specifically for that use. Each September, the Big Dam Bridge 100 weekend offers bicycle rides with 100, 75, 50, 32, or 14 mile options, all benefiting the Big Dam Bridge Foundation, organized to promote and support the advancement of health, fitness, cultural and recreational activities in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas State Fair attracts more than 400,000 patrons each year. It features a livestock show, rodeo, carnival midway and many live musical acts each October.  The 10-day event filled with fun for the whole family.  

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the second largest event that takes place in the capital city each October.  With over 40,000 women registered each year and growing, Little Rock’s race has become the eight largest in the country.  

Boo at the Zoo, The Little Rock Zoo’s Halloween event, offers a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. Thousands of Halloween lights, carnival rides, the Boo Express Haunted Train, the Haunted Lion House, and goblins help make the night an enjoyable experience for all. The event is held each October at the Little Rock Zoo. 

The Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade is held the first Saturday in December in downtown Little Rock. A free event, the parade features floats, costumed characters, a band competition and more. After parading through downtown Little Rock, an official lighting ceremony and fireworks display follows at the State Capitol.