Get ready to rock. Riverfest sets up on the banks of the Arkansas River, plugs in a few amps and turns downtown Little Rock into Rock City Friday (May 25) through Sunday (May 27).
The adult lineup will please locals’ eclectic music tastes with acts ranging from Snoop Dogg to Staind to Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s plenty to entertain young revelers, too. Here are seven things families won’t want to miss:
Arkansas Select Buick GMC Dealers KidZone Playtime Promenade
At Playtime Promenade near the Peabody Playground & Water Park in Riverfront Park, families will find hands-on activities, games, crafts, face-painting, chalk drawing, bean bag tosses, bubbles and hula hooping. In between, kids can splash around in the area’s water feature.
Arkansas Select Buick GMC Dealers KidZone Playtime Stage
Nearby, mini mosh pits are sure to form at the KidZone Stage, which features a packed lineup of kiddie performers. Little rockers can catch a set by The Doo-Dads, a group of rockin’ papas from Kansas City. Or get a dose of humor from ventriloquist Wayne Francis and the Kazoobie Kazoo Show with Rick Hubbard. At 8 p.m. Sunday, Grammy-nominated band Trout Fishing in America hits the stage, pauses briefly for the 9 p.m. fireworks show, and continues to thrill youngsters until way past bedtime.
For KidZone Playtime Promenade hours and complete KidZone Stage schedule click here.
Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Family Zone
Families have a brand-new free area to romp around in this year: the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Family Zone. Located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International, the zone offers even more activities and entertainment, including a Super Retriever Crown Championship Series, the Weenie Dog Derby (see Ruff on the River Pooch Parade), the Arkansas Arts Center ArtMobile, a performance by the Monster Stunt Bike Team and more. The Family Zone is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday (May 26) & 1-7 p.m. Sunday (May 27).
Also in the Clinton Presidential Park and Heifer International area, festival-goers can visit six countries for free at the International Village. Children can pick up a passport at the Customs Office and get a new stamp at each country’s tent for a special prize. Each stop also offers opportunities to learn about the nations’ traditions and make crafts.
Creative kids can craft paper flowers in Mexico, decorate Octoberfest hats in Germany, bedazzle Brazilian Carnival masks, fold origami fans in Japan, paint a Picasso portrait in Spain and make the familiar red, white and blue flag of the good old U.S.A.
Yarnell’s Family Stage
Part of the Family Zone, the Yarnell’s Family Stage showcases local and international performers that excel in a wide range of the arts. Watch dancers from Little Rock School of Dance, O’Donovans School of Irish Dance, McCafferty’s School of Irish Dance, I CAN! Dance and ARK All-Star Cloggers. Marvel at athletic displays from Jesse White Tumblers, Anderson’s Taekwondo Center and Kenya Safari Acrobats. Click here for a full schedule.
Ruff on the River Pooch Parade
This parade of costumed pups is a must for little dog lovers. Head to Third St. (anywhere from River Market Avenue to Heifer International) to scope out the promenade of pooches, which starts at 3 p.m. Saturday (May 26). Owners will dress their four-legged friends in creative outfits that fit the theme “Let the Good Times Flow,” with a panel of judges choosing a favorite. Immediately following the parade, join the Weenie Dog Derby in the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Family Zone at Heifer International. All the doggie fun will benefit several local canine-focused organizations. Click here for info on how to register.
The Food Drive at Riverfest
Winter isn’t the only season of giving. Help fill the Arkansas Foodbank’s shelves for the summer by donating non-perishable food items at the festival. The Arkansas Foodbank asks for the following items: Canned meats, fish or poultry, canned or packaged meals, peanut butter, cereal, soups, canned vegetables and fruits, juices, pasta and pasta sauce, and diapers. Drop off foodstuffs at shuttle pickup locations to receive $1 off of the $3 round-trip fare, or bring items to one of three collection points set up at the festival for a free Coca-Cola beverage.