LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is hosting a variety of events this holiday season across the state. From an annual eggnog competition at a local museum, to walk-through light shows, to a horse-drawn carriage ride through a candlelit historic village, to choral and instrumental performances, to open houses with crafts, refreshments and a visit from Santa, the Department has many holiday activities and events to enjoy.
“With a state as diverse as Arkansas, there is something for everyone to enjoy, especially during the holiday season,” said Shea Lewis, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “During this festive season, we welcome you to celebrate with us at one of our many holiday events across the state. Come make new memories, start new family traditions and learn about the natural, historical and cultural sites that make our state so special.”
Holiday Open Houses, Sunday, Dec. 3
The Division of Arkansas Heritage’s museums are hosting holiday open houses on Sunday, Dec. 3.
The Historic Arkansas Museum is hosting its 56th Annual Frolic from noon to 4 p.m. This free event features old-fashioned fun with music, dancing, ornament making and other craft activities. The Frolic also includes refreshments like hot cider and ginger cakes, as well as gluten-free options. The museum’s recreated 1830s pleasure wagon will be available for photo opportunities. The Historic Arkansas Museum is located at 200 E. Third St., Little Rock.
As part of the day’s events, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is hosting its Holiday Open House and Grand Reopening on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. The grand reopening follows a $3.5 million renovation of the museum’s permanent gallery and the event kicks off with a ribbon-cutting. Santa’s Workshop will be set up for photos with Santa and sweet potato pie from the winner of the 2023 “Say it Ain’t Say’s” Sweet Potato Pie contest. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located at 501 W. Ninth St., Little Rock.
Visitors can get in the holiday spirit with choral and instrumental music at The Old State House Museum from 1 to 5 p.m. Come enjoy music, hands-on activities and refreshments. The Old State House is located at 300 W. Markham, Little Rock.
Other Department holiday events
For those who live in the Delta or plan to visit for the holidays, stop by the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena for a Holiday Open House and Bake-Off on Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 pm. at the Delta Cultural Center’s Depot Museum. Visitors can enjoy a holiday baking contest, music, refreshments and more. The Delta Cultural Center’s Depot Museum is located at 95 Missouri St., Helena.
Return to the Historic Arkansas Museum on Friday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. for the Nog-Off competition between local restaurants, bars and businesses. At this annual event, guests sample and vote on the year’s best eggnog recipe and judges select a Taster’s Choice Award. The competition coincides with the museum’s 2nd Friday Art Night, which features live music by Bonnie Montgomery.
Make reservations to enjoy musical performances at the Old State House Museum by the Arkansas Chamber Singers on Friday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m.
At locations across the state, Arkansas State Parks are hosting a variety of holiday events. Christmas and Candlelight, a well-loved annual event celebrated at Historic Washington State Park in Washington, Ark. is in its 37th year. On Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, the park lights up the village’s streets with thousands of luminaries, gives candlelit tours and offers horse-drawn surrey rides. Historic Washington State Park is located at 103 Franklin St., Washington.
The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources’ Light Extravaganza is in its 16th year and features a walking tour with more than 100,000 lights. The event is open for guests Friday and Saturday evenings, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., from Nov. 17 to Dec. 23 at the park, 4087 Smackover Highway, Smackover.
Across Arkansas, thousands of illuminations twinkle and glow throughout the month of December when more than 60 towns around the state deck the halls for the holidays as part of Arkansas Tourism’s Trail of Holiday Lights. A list of places with light displays and holiday events can be found on the Arkansas Tourism Calendar of Events at www.arkansas.com.
Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism.