SEARCY, Ark. –There are plenty of reasons to plan a weekend trip to Searcy. But if you’re looking for a really good one, we suggest circling a few of the best annual events that go on in town. Each one offers the best opportunities to dxperience the unique taste and culture of Searcy.

Beats & Eats

This monthly food and music festival began in 2017 and has grown in size and attendance at every event!

Beats & Eats “seeks to promote unity and growth in our community by providing a place for artisans, musicians, and entrepreneurs to share their craft while facilitating an environment that encourages conversation in a family-friendly way.”

The event, which happens monthly about six times a year, has a new theme each time. Past themes include the science-and-art-centered Full STEAM Ahead, Choir-palooza, Star Wars, and a crawfish boil.

But no matter the theme you can always expect a few specific things; a family-fun zone with plenty of activities for kids and adults. There will be local food trucks and other local merchandise vendors lining the streets offering up something interesting.

Besides the ever-changing themed events, Beats & Eats also hosts two annual events: the Thankfulness event in November (featuring the longest Thanksgiving table in the state measuring 200-feet long) and the New Years Eve Ball Drop.

Admission is free, making Beats & Eats the perfect occasion to bring the whole family, even the dog! To become a vendor, committee member or if you just have a question or comment, check out the Searcy Beats & Eats Facebook page.

Photo by: Al Fowler | If you’re only going to attend one Beats & Eats event each year, we suggest the New Years Eve Ball Drop.

Get Down Downtown

Celebrating its 12th year as the largest music festival in Searcy, Get Down Downtown is an annual two-day, family-friendly, outdoor festival featuring live music, vendors, games, rides and other activities.

Held the last weekend in September; Friday night and all-day Saturday, the downtown Searcy area is full of life. From the live music from amazing headliners to the performances from local dance groups and marching bands, and the tempting selection of food and merchandise from over 100 vendors.

This Main Street Searcy festival draws crowds of over 30,000 and is not something to miss! Past headliners have included Sammy Kershaw, Restless Heart, Big Silver, Little Texas, Keith Anderson, The Salty Dogs, Deana Carter, Ricochet and more.

Make plans to bring the whole family to this free admission festival in the heart of Searcy’s downtown! For more information about Get Down Downtown, visit Main Street Searcy online.

Photo by: Al Fowler | Searcy’s biggest music festival Get Downb Downtown is free and features great headliner acts every year, like Little Texas.

Farmer’s Market

The Searcy Certified Farmer’s Market, located on the east end of the historic White County Courthouse in downtown Searcy, runs from mid-April to October, every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-noon. During the summer months, the market is also open every Tuesday afternoon from 3-6 p.m.

Shoppers can expect to find meat, fresh eggs, baked goods, jams and jellies, homemade soaps, produce and other hand-crafted items on each visit.

Take a minute to talk to the merchants and they will tell you where each product came from, how it was grown or made, and maybe a little about their history of being an Arkansas farmer. You can even get tips on how to cook a particular piece of produce and how it will taste prepared different ways. The Searcy Certified Farmer’s Market is full of experts who are excited to share what they produce with you on a weekly basis.

Live music, activities like face painting for kids and a dog-friendly atmosphere make this a weekend must-do! For weekly updates on the Farmer’s Market, check out the Searcy Certified Farmer’s Market Facebook page.

Holiday of Lights

Searcy really lights up for the Holidays with thousands of bright and beautiful bulbs glowing across town.

It starts with the lighting ceremony in downtown Searcy’s courthouse square on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Along with the courthouse square being lit up, hot chocolate, live music, and carriage rides can be enjoyed by all at the annual lighting ceremony.

Just a few days later, Harding University holds their annual lighting ceremony. Approximately one million LED lights are flipped on to illuminate the campus and stay on until the New Year.

Don’t forget to drive around Berryhill Park to check out the thousands of lights shaped into holiday-themed displays. We suggest getting out and walking around the park to really get the full experience.

The Holiday of Lights isn’t just about twinkling bulbs; there’s Santa in the Square who shows up multiple times until Christmas for kids to take pictures. The Pioneer Village holds their annual Christmas in the Village. The Christmas parade marches down Race Street every year. And of course the skating rink at Spring Park just outside downtown Searcy.

Keep an eye on our event calendarto find dates and times for everything each year.

Photo Courtesy: Harding University

The Living Nativity

Searcy First Assembly of God makes the story of the birth of Jesus come alive each holiday season with their drive-through attraction, The Living Nativity.

Running for several weekends each year in November and December, The Living Nativity takes between 10-13 thousand visitors each year through a live storybook, full of real animals and Bible characters come to life.

Upon arrival, guests wait in their cars while family holiday favorites from film and TV are projected onto the side of the church building. As they move forward in the queue, guests are given hot chocolate and an audio recording to play in their car that will narrate the story as they make their way through Bethlehem. Guards stoically stand in front of the large gates into the city as you and your passengers take in the sights and sounds of this ancient city and its people. Bethlehem merchants surround you on your journey as you visit familiar scenes like the census takers, the stable, the angel and wise men, leading up to the manager and Jesus’ birth. Experience this spectacular and poignant story in a truly amazing way through the hand-constructed production of The Living Nativity.

Hundreds of volunteers make this event a reality and spread the story of Jesus to thousands of people each holiday season. There is no charge for this event, but donations can be given at the end of the Nativity experience.

For more information, including event dates, check out The Living Nativity website.

Trick or Treat on the Square

This Halloween event was created 15 years ago to provide a safe and fun environment for children on the spookiest night of the year.

Local churches, organizations and businesses distribute candy on Halloween night on the Downtown Searcy Square. The event also includes activities, games, costume contests, and more! Offering a safe alternative to trick or treating, this event boasts over 2,000 attendees each year who stroll the downtown square in full costume.

Trick or Treat on the Square is coordinated by Main Street Searcy in partnership with the Searcy Parks and Recreation Department, Crain Media, the Searcy Public Library, and other community leaders.

To participate in the event as an organization, check out the Main Street Searcy online.

White County Fair 

The White County Fair, a staple of the fall events calendar and one of the top 10 county fairs in the nation, began in 1935. The week-long event — annually held in September — kicks off with the White County Fair parade that travels through the Downtown Searcy area. A rodeo, demolition derby, talent show, and pageant are just some of the many events and attractions you’ll find at the fairgrounds.

The fair also offers rides for all ages, a petting zoo where you can get up close to the animals, plenty of fair food, animal shows, midway games and live music that will keep the crowds coming back year after year.

Step into one of the two large barns to find dozens of local businesses and organizations set up to let you learn more about what they do in White County. Another is full of 4-H projects, local crafts, agriculture education and artwork done by White County residents young and old. These impressive displays are also being judged and you will find numerous blue and red ribbons in each booth indicating winners and honorable mentions.

Hand-battered corndogs, funnel cakes big enough to share (if you want to), and something new deep fried and on a stick make the White County Fair a real treat. Get a pulled pork sandwich and help support your local Scout troop.

The White County Fair is always thrilling with new events and sights every year! For more information including ticket prices and dates, check out the White County Fair website.

Photo by: Al Fowler | Plenty of rides and thrill at the White county Fair each year.

Big Bloomin’ Weekend

This two-day, community-wide beautification effort hosted in April was created to encourage the Searcy community to plant or install flowers.

This effort is open to all and encourages community organizations and citizens to participate together to beautify the city of Searcy. Past events have included lectures on gardening from the White County Master Gardeners, as well as a plant sale.

This event is in partnership with: Main Street Searcy Farmers’ Market, White County Master Gardeners, Searcy Parks & Recreation, U of A Division of Agriculture Research & Extension, Searcy Art Gallery, Greenkeepers Garden Club, Harding University, and Think Idea Studio.

Spring Sing

Spring Sing is Harding University’s annual musical revue extravaganza. For over 40 years, this event has spanned Easter weekend welcoming over 11,000 attendees from all over the world to come to Searcy.

This production is a ticketed event coordinated by Harding University students. Over 1,000 students participate each year competing for a cash prize donated to a local charity of their choice. This annual event gives over $7,000 to Searcy nonprofits as a charitable donation.

Each year, a new theme is developed for the overall show. Pyrotechnics, strobes, laser lights, and projections are utilized to make this a truly thrilling performance. The Harding University Jazz Band performs live and also accompanies student hosts and hostesses for the evening.

Come visit the Benson Auditorium on Harding’s campus for this special, can’t-be-missed theatrical event! For a look back at past performances, check out the Spring Sing section of Harding’s website.

Photo by: Jeff Montgomery | Spring Sing is a unique musical event the whole family will love.