The 31st annual Free State of Yell Fest remains on the river when the festival returns next month to Veteran’s Riverfront Park in Dardanelle.
The Free State of Yell Fest, hosted by the Dardanelle Region Chamber of Commerce, features regional cultural dishes, live music and vendors promoting the best of Dardanelle and the river valley. Our suppliers include arts/crafts, nonprofits and churches, the services they provide, and political candidates.
The Free State of Yell Fest is scheduled for May 12-14. “As Mother’s Day fell earlier this year, we needed to work with other festivals in the state so that we didn’t totally mess up the entire Arkansas festival and events schedule,” Stacey Daughtrey , executive director of the Dardanelle Chamber, said in an email Tuesday, “We have moved the festival to the second weekend of the month.”
Since 1989, the Dardanelle Area Chamber of Commerce has worked with local businesses, booster clubs and civic organizations to deliver Yell County’s largest free family festival, Daughtrey said.
Parking at the river will be arranged by the Yell County Horse Patrol, and the parking fee is $2. The Yell County Mounted Patrol is a non-profit organization founded in the 1940s.
Johnston Carnival will provide the festival with 15 rides, games and concessions.
New this year is the Thursday, May 12 evening at $2. In conjunction with Johnston’s Carnival, from 6-9 p.m., Thursday night rides will be $2 each. Only the carnival will be open on Thursday evening.
Armbands will still be available from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 13; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14; and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. Armbands are $15 in advance or $17 at the Festival. Armbands can be purchased at all Dardanelle Public Schools, ABC Children’s Academy, Tyson Foods, Chambers Bank, Centennial Bank, Dardanelle Area Chamber of Commerce Office. Make checks payable to the Chamber.
Friday vendor booths open at 3 p.m. The entertainment scene begins at 4 p.m. with the Dardanelle Middle School Jazz Band followed by all of the Dardanelle jazz and rock bands.
Friday Night’s Worship Music features local band The River Valley Messengers, followed by Cross Daily and Jason Gray.
Friday Night is sponsored by It’s Ministries, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to bring local Christian events and entertainment to our area to impact it with the message of the Gospel. For more information on It’s Ministries, contact Loyd Miller at 479-453-6121.
Saturday morning events include the Run Like Yell for Pancakes and Bacon 4 Mile Run and the Kid’s Fun Run 1 Miler. After the races, the Dardanelle Lion’s Club will hold its annual Pancake Breakfast.
Cornhole, Tire-Flipping, Little Miss and Mister Yell Fest, The Yapper Dog and Yelling contests will also take place on Saturday morning.
Saturday live music includes local bands Mama Tryde, Tone Kats and Hill Street Blues. End the evening with a fireworks display at 10 p.m.