By proclamation of Gov. Asa Hutchinson and in recognition of the positive economic, social, and cultural impact of the travel and tourism industry, Arkansas will celebrate Sunday through Saturday, May 6-12 as Tourism Week.
Across the state, communities are planning to salute the 35th annual National Travel and Tourism Week with educational demonstrations, historic photos and displays, samples of Arkansas-made products and more. Following is a list of places and activities planned, as submitted by the individual locations.
Several communities will celebrate the occasion.
Lake Village: Lake Village Welcome Center will host activities all week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Monday, May 7, the Welcome Center will host Blake Wintory with Lakeport Plantation. On Tuesday, Lake Chicot State Park will have some reptiles to show off. On Wednesday, the Dumas Chamber of Commerce will discuss local activities. On Thursday, Arkansas Post State Park will be onsite talking about their location.
El Dorado: The Arkansas Welcome Center at El Dorado will host a travel rally at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 8. Moro Bay State Park interpreters will be on hand with an alligator and the Union County Master Gardeners will be available for gardening questions. Main Street El Dorado, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce and the Smackover Chamber of Commerce will also be present. Johnson’s Antique Cars will have a display. Westrock Coffee will be served and local barbecue sauce samples, samples of Riceland rice and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning will be available for visitors.
Bentonville: The mayor of Bella Vista will speak on Tuesday, May 8. The Welcome Center will have several historical photos on display and will hand out samples of local spices as well as soft drinks and bottled water.
Blytheville: The mayor of Blytheville will sign a proclamation on Monday, May 7 at 10 a.m.
Corning: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum will be celebrating the wedding anniversary of Ernest and Pauline! Welcome Center staff will wear wedding veils and serve wedding cake to visitors on Tuesday, May 8. The Piggott Antique Car Club will display vintage cars on Saturday, May 12, if weather permits. The Welcome Center will also have a chart on display illustrating how visitor counts have changed over the years.
Harrison: The Arkansas Welcome Center in Harrison, located on U.S. Hwy 65, will celebrate Tourism Week on May 8. Welcome Center staff will serve visitors refreshments and snacks throughout the day. The Welcome Center is currently in a temporary facility, but visitors will be able to see plans for the new center. For more information, contact Leesha Miller, Welcome Center manager, at 870-741-3343.
Mammoth Spring: On Saturday, May 12, Mammoth Spring State Park and Welcome Center will hold its annual Tourism Week celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be live music from the Mammoth Spring String Band, free soft drinks and cookies, as well as delicious cupcakes from the Ozark Gateway Travel Association, and free drawings every half hour with the grand prize drawing at 4 p.m.
Red River: The Arkansas Welcome Center at Red River will celebrate National Tourism Week on May 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several different representatives will have booths set up, including: Historic Washington State Park and Williams Tavern Restaurant, Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Millwood State Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife-Pond Creek National Refuge, Arkansas Game and Fish-Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center, Tri-Lakes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Christian Motorcycle Association, and Harmony, a Christian band. Free bottled water, samples of Riceland rice and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning will be available to visitors. There will be a drawing for gift certificates from area restaurants and a few door prizes.
Siloam Springs: Siloam Springs Welcome Center staff will give away Little Debbie Snacks, Riceland rice, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, and Day Spring pocket calendars to visitors throughout the week. On Friday, May 11, Welcome Center staff will serve a lunch of hotdogs, potato salad, BBQ chicken sandwiches and baked beans starting at 11 a.m.
Texarkana: The Texarkana Welcome Center, located on Interstate 30 East, will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week May 8-10. Resource Raccoon from Arkansas State Parks will be onsite. Ruth Penney Bell, Mayor of Texarkana will read a proclamation on May 10. Other special guests will include Four States Auto Museum, Corvette Club, Victory Riders Club, Clinton Birthplace Home. Special entertainment will be provided by Alley Heaston, & Hempstead County Melody Boys. There will be booths by White Oak Lake State Park, DeGray Lake State Park, Cossatot River State Park, Daisy State Park, Millwood State Park, Crater of Diamonds, Historic Washington State Park, and Arkansas Game and Fish-Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center, Ron Coleman Crystal Mine, Main Street Texarkana and Westrock Coffee. Welcome center staff will be handing out Little Debbie cakes, Riceland rice, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, Yarnell’s Ice Cream, Post Winery Muscadine Juice, root beer from Diamond Beer Brewery and Williams’ Tavern Chocolate Earthquake Cake. For more information, contact Melissa Adams at 870-772-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Van Buren/Fort Smith: The Van Buren/Fort Smith Welcome Center, located near mile marker 3 on Interstate 40, will be treating travelers to complimentary Arkansas-made products, including locally-made candies and samples of one of Arkansas’s leading agricultural exports—rice. There will also be random prize giveaways happening all week. Also, the mayors of Van Buren and Fort Smith will be at the Welcome Center to greet visitors and read an official proclamation announcing National Travel and Tourism Week. Representatives from the Advertising & Promotion Commissions from Van Buren and Fort Smith will present a gift basket to one lucky visitor. For more information, contact Welcome Center Manager Kevin Billings at 479-474-9512.
West Memphis: The West Memphis Welcome Center will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week on Thursday, May 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Several vendors will participate, including Mississippi River State Park, Arkansas Game and Fish, Southland Park Gaming and Racing, Sultana Museum, Marion Animal Shelter, East Arkansas Family Health Center, and Historic Dyess Colony. The event will include free cupcakes, fried pies, hotdogs, chips, ice cream and drinks. There will also be door prizes and Arkansas-made products to be given away.
Representatives from area state parks will have their own displays including:
— May 7 - Lake Poinsett State Park will have a display, and the mayor of Blytheville will sign a National Travel and Tourism Week proclamation at 10 a.m.
— May 8 - Lake Frierson State Park will have a display set up - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— May 9 - Village Creek State Park will have a display, and a help nurse from Northeast Arkansas Baptist Memorial Hospital will conduct blood pressure screenings - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— May 10 - Parkin Archeological State Park and Big Lake Wildlife Management Area will have displays - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— May 11 - Hampson Archeological Museum State Park and Geology Arkansas Geological Survey will have displays - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— May 12 - Crowley’s Ridge State Park will have a display, and there will be an antique car show and hot dogs on the lawn - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.