Ways to Enjoy October in Arkansas

If I had to pick, October is probably my favorite month in Arkansas. But… I’m glad I don’t have to pick ­čÖé

First of all, the hottest part of summer is usually over by now, and the trees are starting to turn. Football is the topic at the water cooler (Go, Hogs!), and Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Here’s a quick rundown of the best of October in Arkansas:

The Arkansas State Fair! This year the fair will be held from Friday, October 14 through Sunday the 23rd at Barton Coliseum. Bret Michaels, Rick Springfield, Clint Black and Collin Raye head the lineup of performers this year. Of course, what’s a state fair without the livestock judging, competitive events and the PBR! Check the State Fair website for more information and ticket prices to special events.

Two very special foodie events also happen here in October – the World Cheesedip Championship and the Cornbread Festival. Kinda glad they’re on different weekends… otherwise I’d be happily overdoing it on calories all at once!

In case you didn’t know, it’s been pretty definitively determined that cheesedip was invented here in Arkansas in 1935 by Blackie Donnelley, the owner of Mexico Chiquito restaurant. Over the years, others took liberties with the ingredients, and today we have the cheesedip championship to determine by popular vote which “queso” is the best! The Championship competition is on Saturday the 22nd at the River Market Pavilion from noon to 3pm. Buy your tickets early so you don’t miss it! Tickets and other information can be found on their website.

The following weekend, you shouldn’t miss the Cornbread Festival on the 29th from 11am to 4pm in SoMa (go South on Main, you can’t miss it!).┬áThere are several categories of winners, so get your tickets early (for $8 instead of $10 at the door; less for 12 and under) and be ready to sample some of the best of the best cornbread you’ve ever had!

Of course, October wouldn’t be complete without spooky stuff, and there’s plenty!

For the past many years, Thursdays in October meant only one thing to morning commute radio listeners: ┬áThriller Thursdays on Alice 107.7. ┬áCallers would share their scary stories, or Heather or Poolboy would read some emails they’ve received… complete with eerie background music… to make your hair stand on end! You can listen to these stories on their podcasts┬áthis year. Older shows are on their website (search for Thriller Thursday).

Arkansas Ghost Catchers (AGC) is again hosting the Paranormal Expo on October 8 and 9. This is their sixth year of sharing the unexplained events at the MacArthur┬áMuseum of Arkansas Military History, known to be probably the most haunted building in Arkansas. There will be vendors, guest speakers and food trucks as well. Admission is $10 for the weekend, and proceeds from admissions, the raffle and vendor fees are donated to the MacArthur Museum to help with upkeep of the building. This is an amazing don’t-miss event every year if you’re interested in the paranormal. AGC also hosts a Paranormal Support Group that meets monthly. Their website has more details.

Another don’t-miss event in October is the Tales of the Crypt performance by the Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School drama class every second Tuesday in October at the Mount Holly Cemetery. As the webpage states, although this is held in October in a cemetery at dusk, this is not meant to be a scary event, but rather a historical performance. Parkview drama students prepare a monologue of a famous person buried in the cemetery, and perform it in period costumes for groups of visitors. There is no admission charge, but donations are gladly accepted and turned over to the Mount Holly Cemetery Association.┬á

Last but not least, if you’re interested in the haunted history of Little Rock, you absolutely must take the Haunted Tours of Little Rock, hosted by Linda Howell. These tours are only held on Fridays in October, and seating is limited to 23 per tour, so be sure to book your reservation online ahead of time. Linda will guide you through five purportedly haunted buildings in downtown Little Rock, giving you historical information as well as documented and unexplained phenomena that have occurred at these locations. Linda is a wealth of information on the paranormal, and can answer many questions from her vast experience.

If I’ve missed your favorite October festivity, please comment below or on Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll be sure to include them next time!

Happy fall, y’all!

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