1. Oaklawn’s Spa Blast
July 3: Bring the entire family out to Oaklawn Park for a day of fun. There will be a misting tent, a kids zone with inflatables, a rock wall, petting zoo, concession stands and more. The party begins at 4 p.m., with live music from six bands, including Hillbilly Vegas and Brian Kelley, and the fireworks will start at approximately 9:15 p.m., with songs from Miss Arkansas. No coolers are allowed; however, blankets and chairs are welcome, and admission is free.
(800) 625-5236 | oaklawnpark.com
July 9 through 19: You won’t want to miss this production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma,” one of the most popular musicals ever, being presented at the historic Royal Theatre. Our editor attended their production of “Legally Blonde” last fall and said it was fabulous. Their presentation of this classic promises to be the same; performances at 7 p.m., each Thursday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m., Sunday.
(501) 315-5483 | theroyalplayers.com
3. Evening Canoe Float
July 11: Enjoy the beauty of Pinnacle Mountain State Park and get some exercise, all while taking a guided canoe float on the Big Maumelle River. There’s a true serenity in watching twilight become a moonlit night. Advance payment of $40 per canoe is required.
(501) 868-5806 | arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain
4. Alive After Five
(top of page; photo by Amy Long Photography)
July 16: It’s a third Thursday, which means it’s time for Alive After Five on Huntington Avenue between Main and Church Streets. From 5 to 8 p.m., the Downtown Jonesboro Association hosts this event, featuring live bands; artisan, craft and farmers’ markets; a kids corner; and movie night. Admission is free.
(870) 919-6176 | downtownjonesboro.com
5. Arkansas Steak Cook-off Championship
July 18: Witness the inaugural Arkansas Steak Cook-off Championship at the Benton Event Center. Teams will compete for more than $3,500 in prizes and the chance to advance to the 2015 Steak Cook-off Association World Championship in Texas. There will also be a steak–eating contest, helicopter rides, live music and fun family activities. For an additional cost, participate in the “people’s choice grilled appetizer” contest or enjoy a steak dinner. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of and available at the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce or online.
6. Third Sunday Art Show
July 19: The historic Michael’s Mansion, a three-story, neo-classic building, is the perfect backdrop for this show, which will feature works by Jimmy Leach, Lorrie Bridges, Pat Riggs, David Gates, Olen A, and guest artist Rebecca Perkins, whose works include paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces. The show begins at 1 p.m., and refreshments will be served.
(479) 316-3691 | michaelsmansion.biz
7. ‘Shrek the Musical’
July 24 through 26: Based on William Steig’s 1990 book and the Oscar-winning movie, the hilarious musical brings to the Rogers Little Theater stage Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Lord Farquaad and a cast of fairy tale misfits. There are 19 new songs, entertaining dances, great scenery and, of course, romance and make-believe … delightful for all ages. Ticket prices range from $10 to $60.
(479) 631-8988 | rogerslittletheater.org
8. Fifth Annual Race for Sight Lawnmower Races
July 25: Help raise funds at this off-the-beaten-path lawnmower race to support the Pea Ridge Lions Club as they assist blind and sight-impaired persons with surgical costs, glasses and more. Competitors from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma will participate in screeching lawnmower and semi-pro races. Other activities include children’s Power Wheels races and bounce houses, shopping at vendors’ booths and more. Admission is $5 and for children 4 and younger, it’s free; additional fee for barbecue dinners by Cannonball BBQ Restaurant.
(479) 640-0767 | pearidgelions.com
9. Gaston’s Fly Fishing School
July 27 and 28: Whether you’re new to fly-fishing or want to improve your catch, this two-day course with renowned fly fisherman Frank Saksa is for you. Saksa is a great teacher and has developed several new techniques for catching fish on the White River, which is the setting for the acclaimed Gaston’s White River Resort. Reservations are required, and the $240 registration fee does not include waders or lodging.
(870) 431-5202 | gastons.com
10. 74th Annual Johnson County Peach Festival
July 30 through Aug. 1: Celebrate this flavorful fruit at a peachy-keen festival. Activities include a banana-split contest, scavenger hunt, diaper derby, helicopter tours, bake-offs, jam and jelly contests, a talent show, pageant, lip sync contest, of course a peach pie eating contest and much more. Admission is free.
(479) 754-9152 | jocopeachfestival.8m.com