What do you think of when you think of Arkansas? Razorbacks? Ozark Mountains? Walmart? Bill Clinton? Grapes?
Wait a minute – GRAPES? Yep, this weekend was the 110th annual Tontitown Grape Festival. The celebration stems from a mass of Celebration that was held in 1898 following the establishment of a small Italian community outside of Springdale. In the following years, they began to cultivate grapes in addition to the apples, strawberries and truck gardens of all kinds. The grape crop flourished and so did the annual celebration. Soon the annual Grape Festival grew to include entertainment, rides, a homemade spaghetti dinner, and all things carnival! Even though the Welch’s plant closed in the late eighties, grapes continue to be a cash crop for local farmers. Who knew? Grapes.
So, the festival. The line was humongous for spaghetti dinner, so we sadly passed on that. And the grape ice cream…well, we passed on that too. Sorry. But here are some sights of the night –
What festival would be complete without the Ferris Wheel, I ask you?
Or a game where you can win a big stuff animal or
A life-size Spiderman?
Bright colors abounding!
And then there was the live music –
(I’m not sure the lady with the ear plugs was a huge fan!)
The next day we headed north to Rogers (home of the first Wal-Mart), and Bentonville (home of the original Walton’s 5&10 and corporate home for Wal-Mart) and Pea Ridge National Historical Park. Details to follow…..