Events set throughout Arkansas for Travel & Tourism Week May 7-13
Arkansas will celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week May 7-13 with several events throughout the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
In 2016, visitors who traveled in Arkansas spent an estimated $7.7 billion, which generated $538 million in state and local taxes and supported more than 100,000 jobs, according to a department press release.
Area welcome centers will celebrate throughout the week with on-site celebrations and booths at popular tourism spots.
The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau will host a rally event on May 8 at Benny Craig Park. The event will showcase Fourche Creek with a boat ramp ribbon cutting and complimentary guided canoe trips hosted by Gretchen Hall, visitors’ bureau president & CEO; Kane Webb, executive director of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
The Arkansas Welcome Center in Siloam Springs will give out Little Debbie snacks, Cavender’s seasoning and Riceland rice all week. On May 12, the welcome center will serve hot dogs, BBQ chicken sandwiches, baked beans and salad for all guests, according to the press release.
The Texarkana Welcome Center will celebrate on May 9-11, with appearances from Rocky the Resource Raccoon from Arkansas State Parks. Mayor Ruth Penney Bell will read the Governor’s Proclamation of Tourism Week on May 10. Other guests include representatives from Four States Auto Museum, Corvette Club, Victory Riders Club, Clinton Birthplace Home and Texarkana Twins collegiate baseball players.
Entertainment at the three-day Texarkana event will be provided by Alan & Jerry and Hempstead County Melody Boys. Giveaways include Little Debbie snack cakes, Riceland rice, Cavender’s Greek seasoning, Yarnell’s Ice Cream, Post Winery muscadine juice and Williams’ Tavern Chocolate Earthquake Cake, according to the department.
The Red River Welcome Center, located on U.S. Highway 71 North in Texarkana, will host Rally Day on May 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hot dogs, chips, Little Debbie snack cakes and bottled water will be available. There will be representatives from Crater of Diamonds State Park, Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Cossatot River State Park, Historic Washington State Park, Williams’ Tavern restaurant, and the Tex-Ark Car Club. Samples of Riceland rice and Cavender’s Greek seasoning available all week.
The Arkansas Welcome Center in Van Buren/Fort Smith give to complimentary Arkansas-made products including locally made candies and samples of one of Arkansas rice. On May 11 at noon, the mayors of Van Buren and Fort Smith will greet visitors and read an official proclamation announcing Arkansas Tourism Week. Representatives from the advertising and promotion commissions from Van Buren and Fort Smith will select a tourist and present them with a gift basket.
An interpreter from Lake Fort Smith State Park will be on site with live snakes to educate travelers about these reptiles and about the unique history and heritage of the Van Buren/Fort Smith area, according to the press release.
The Arkansas Welcome Center in West Memphis on May 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature representatives and displays from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Sultana Museum, the Osceola Historical Museum and the Arkansas Geological Survey Commission.
The Arkansas Welcome Center on Interstate 55 South in Blytheville will also host a proclamation day kick-off at 10 a.m. on May 7 with brunch and a meet-and-greet with local mayors and State Rep. Monte Hodges. Staff from various parks will be on-hand each day.
The Arkansas Welcome Center on U.S. 67 in Corning on May 10 will mark what would have been the 90th wedding anniversary of Ernest and Pauline Hemingway. The center will serve wedding cake. There will be individuals dressed in official Arkansas wedding attire. A new exhibit case from the Arkansas State University Heritage Site will feature items of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, according to the department.
Also at the Corning welcome center, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on May 11 will share its latest publications, and Kenny Renshaw, an ambassador for NASA Solar Systems, will on May 12 show a short presentation on the solar system, display a piece of a meteorite that landed in Paragould in 1930, and showcase a collection of items on loan from NASA, according to the press release.
The Visitor Information Center in Hot Springs will celebrate May 7 with a passport-themed photo booth from 1 to 3 p.m. at Hill Wheatley Plaza in conjunction with Arts & The Park.
On May 9, the Hot Springs center will highlight influential people in the city’s tourism history. The event will be on Facebook Live @VisitHotSprings.
Shonen Knife will perform 8:30 p.m. May 12 at Low Key Arts in Hot Springs, and a Beatles tribute band will play May 13 at the Tower of Ministries in honor of tourism week, according to the department.
In Lake Village, the welcome center will have a reptile display on May 8 and will feature staff from the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum in McGehee and the Jerome and Rohwer Internment Camp sites on May 9.
General information on National Travel and Tourism Week is available by contacting Cassie Crane, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, at 501-682-1676.