Northwest Arkansas is a hot vacation area in the fall, not only for its brilliant foliage, but also for its renowned arts and crafts festivals during the third week of October. Some of the finest, juried art shows take place here annually and have for more than 60 years.
With various fairs spread out across this beautiful Ozark Mountain region, it’s best to pick a hub to base your fair travels from. Bella Vista works great as a home base because of its unique lodging, large juried show, and easy access to the interstate to reach other fairs.
We've created a Northwest Arkansas Arts & Crafts Festival map to show you the locations of all the festivals happening in this area during the week of October 16 - 20th.
Take full advantage of your vacation time by arriving early for the Flea in the Park show on Oct. 12 and 13 in Bella Vista. This annual vintage flea market includes live music, food trucks, vintage car and RV show, and a kid’s fun zone. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission.
Then, on Monday and Tuesday before the big arts and crafts fairs kick off, enjoy exploring the area. Hike the Bella Vista trails, play a round of golf, and visit Cooper Memorial Chapel and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
The fairs start Wednesday, although some begin Thursday and run through Saturday or Sunday. Most are open from 8 a.m. ending anywhere from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Make a plan of which venues to visit which day and wear comfortable shoes. All festivals are within a 1-hour drive, so with good planning, you can hit them all!
Here's the list of fairs and festivals you don’t want to miss:
Known for having one of the finest, juried art shows requiring all items on sale to be handmade, the festival has grown to about 225 artisans. Spread out on a large festival site, it is considered one of the premier arts and crafts shows in Northwest Arkansas.
Shoppers can expect to see a wide variety of goods, such as pottery, fused glass, stained glass, repurposed metals such as tool boxes with laser cuts designs, driftwood art, leather works, furniture, jewelry, repurposed furniture, beadwork, handmade Native American rugs, wine, soaps, bath bombs, preserves, sauces, soups, dips, monkey puppets, doll clothes and more.
The festival has indoor and outdoor spaces. Food at the fair includes custom-made gyros, smoked meats, as well as traditional fair food like funnel cakes, corn dogs, and kettle corn.
Also setting the show apart from others is its 200-plus volunteers that go out of their way to assist vendors and visitors. Greeters distribute event directories as shoppers arrive, plus there’s an information tent, package holding area and large item package pickup service.
The War Eagle Fair in Hindsville is the “granddaddy” of them all. It was the first fair more than 60 years ago and is the reason this regional event is referred to as “War Eagle Weekend” by longtime craft goers. Located along the banks of the War Eagle River and alongside the Historic War Eagle Mill, this is also a juried show.
Note that there are actually three shows in this one area. Most folks mistake them as one big show.
War Eagle Mill vendors are located on the Mill parking lot grounds, across the bridge from the War Eagle Fair. Juried participants from across the U.S. offer original, handmade work such as country decorative items, folk art, watercolor and oil paintings, pottery, stoneware, wreaths, potpourris, dried arrangements, quilts, miniatures, country clothing, wearable art, candles, homemade soaps, country furnishings, antique broken china jewelry, bird houses and feeders, collectibles and more.
Also popular at this show is the Bean Palace Café on the third floor of the Mill, which opens for a full country breakfast featuring War Eagle biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, bacon and lunch specials.
This show takes place on fields adjacent to the Mill. The fair has more than 250 booths offering visitors a wide array of handmade crafts from skilled artisans throughout the country.
Artisans set up booths on a beautiful farm setting in Bentonville. Spanker Creek runs along the entire south side of the fair grounds and flows into Sugar Creek on the west side. The north side boasts a hillside of beautiful bluffs and trees.
Held at the Benton County Fair Grounds in Bentonville, this fair offers four fun-filled days of shopping local artisan and small business owner booths. There are also giveaways and food.
Held at Frisco Station Mall in Rogers, it offers crafts and retail items in a climate-controlled environment.
This craft fair in the heart of downtown Rogers features talented local artisans from fine art to handmade crafts. It takes place in the heart of downtown Rogers, where you can enjoy historic buildings along with other shops and restaurants.
The Springdale fair is held Oct. 18-19 in the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center. The Fayetteville fair is Oct. 17-19 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. With a total of 650-plus booths, these fairs offer quality art, home spun crafts, home décor, fashion apparel, antiques, vintage and more plus concessions and ample parking.
By Jill Rohrbach