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ANNUAL TRADITIONS

There are some things that just never seem to grow old. That’s how we tend to feel about some of our annual festivals and events. Yes, it’s about community and seeing old friends. It also is about sharing in celebrations that remind us of people and events we don’t want to forget, and why we’re still proud to live here.

For the newcomers, the just-visiting or long- time natives who just haven’t tried some old favorites, we encourage all to come out for a little fun and festivities. Here are our top 10 favorites:

FEBRUARY // 

Fort Smith Marathon: Held annually in downtown Fort Smith. Includes a full marathon, half-marathon and relays.


Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks
Relive the history of America's original gateway to the Wild West at reenactments during Fort Smith Western Heritage Month.

Riverfront Blues Festival at Harry E. Kelley Park starting June 23.
The Unexpected Project - Fort Smith
The Unexpected Project brings contemporary art and public art to Fort Smith.
The Unexpected Project - Fort Smith
Each December, thousands of community volunteers from all over the region come together to transform the Fort Smith National Cemetery.

MAY //

Western Heritage Month: Fun re-enactments and exhibits on the Old West are a highlight of the monthlong look at Fort Smith’s heritage.
 
JUNE//
 
Fort Smith has hosted the annual rodeo since 1933. Begins on Memorial Day.
 
Held at Chaffee Crossing and includes five road-biking courses, a 15-mile guided mountain bike ride and a 5K run/walk.
 
Held on the banks of the Arkansas River, the festival is one of the longest-running in the nation.
 
JULY//
 
Music and arts festival held in downtown Fort Smith.
 
International artists venture to Fort Smith during this weeklong festival.
 
 
SEPTEMBER//
 
Includes the Mighty Thomas Carnival and youth livestock show. Held at Kay Rodgers Park each fall.
 
DECEMBER//
 
Hundreds of volunteers help lay wreaths at the graves of the Fort Smith National Cemetery, where they remain through the holiday season.