(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, etc., etc. Yet, here in the Arkansas Ozarks, it seems as though one more thing has been added to the holiday list of favorite things: the Christmas holidays in Eureka Springs. This year’s schedule of traditional events, orchestrated by Eureka Springs Main Street is scheduled from November 25 through December 16.
The festivities begin this year once the leftover turkey and dressing has been safely wrapped and refrigerated. Alternate Black Friday (November 24) allows those hungry to begin their holiday shopping to calmly stroll through the region’s premier shopping district, downtown Eureka Springs, and find that one-of-a-kind “Made in Eureka” gift. No crowds, no long lines, nor dodging those rushing to grab things allows shoppers to do so in peace and while discovering those perfect, unique gifts in perfectly unique stores.
One of the hairiest events is The Great Ozarkan Beard Off (November 25). Gentlemen from a five-state area come into town to for this celebration of hair to measure and compare. This is a benefit for men’s prostate health and cancer awareness.
Shop Small Saturday (November 25) starts in Basin Spring Park where shoppers are given a free VIP shopping bag stuffed with discounts and gift certificates for the first 100 holiday consumers. Featured that afternoon from 1 to 3 o’clock will be Santa In The Park enabling the kids to have their photo take with ol’ Saint Nick. Another event is Santa’s Beard Contest where any man, woman, child or pet with a beard, real or otherwise, will be judged for valuable prizes.
The first Weekend in December starts a very active holiday week with the Eureka Springs Chamber’s Annual Parade of Lights. That evening, bright lights, holiday tunes, magnificent floats, marching bands and of course, Santa Claus follow the concrete serpentine pathway through downtown that is lined with thousands of bright eyes and smiles. The annual Christmas Parade of Lights (December 1) never fails to excite.
Santa hops out of his convertible just in time to revisit Basin Spring Park for the second installment of Santa In The Park (December 2). In addition to photo opps with Kris Kringle from 1p to 3p, the downtown park will be alive with “Reindeer Games” and entertainment by “momandpop”.
For those who have driven by Eureka Springs’ Victorian homes longing for a chance to step inside one or more of those ornately decorated domiciles, The Preservation Society’s Candlelight Parade of Homes (December 2) affords patrons that opportunity from 3p to 8p. Dynamically decorated homes, most with snacks, and music heard along the way, make for an evening to cherish. Later that evening, the magnetic, some say healing, sounds of the Native American Flute will fill The Aud (Eureka Springs’ City Auditorium) to round out the evening (December 2) beginning at 7p. The Grammy and Emmy nominated John Two-Hawks, a local resident and Platinum Award Winner, will be performing.
Saturday also will be The Crescent’s Annual Christmas Tree Forest Lighting Ceremony (December 2) A 6p the ceremonial light switch will be flipped to “on” illuminating the more than 30 trees that will be adorning the holiday focal point of the hotel’s nearly 15 acres, The East Lawn. It should be noted that each tree is decorated by and for a local charity. Santa’s Brunch at The Crescent Hotel takes place that Sunday to culminate the most special of holiday weekends.
Between Monday and Friday of that week (December 2-8), Christmas guests and Eureka visitors will assemble in the Crescent Hotel’s huge, historic lobby each of these days at both 10a and 2p for varying holiday activities. The lunch hours of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will see the Sounds of the Season with Thursday seeing the 51st Annual Silver Tea where polished teapot sets gently tip to fill the cups of patrons as the focal point at this annual fundraiser for the St. James Episcopal Church. The ladies of the church, festooned in Victorian gowns, have also filled the tables throughout the well-decorated Crystal Ballroom of the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa with trays and trays of handmade holiday snacks and hors d’oeuvres.
The signature event of the season arrives on Saturday, December 9th. Pairing together, Santa in the Park, The Night of a Thousand Santas, Living Windows and the Cattywampus Spring Street Night Market, Spring Street will be alive with shoppers seeking perfect holiday gifts and festive fun.
The Spring Street Night Market, new this year features makers, artists and a holiday market right in the heart of Eureka Springs. Open from 4p-9p, Spring Street will be filled with merriment as merchants welcome shoppers, windows come alive, artisan booths on the street are filled with artisans, Santa greets the kids and music creates a holiday atmosphere.
Wrapping up Eureka Springs holiday festival is the Community Sing Along and Home for the Holidays Concert (December 16) at The Aud. Local musicians and vocalists gather to present their gift of music. In addition to the music, patrons will be amazed at the plethora of performing art that exists in this small, Ozark community.
Christmas comes but once a year, but Main Street and its partners has tried to spread it out over a couple dozen days. For more information, go to www.EurekaSpringsChristmas.com and www.ChristmasAtTheCrescent.com.