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Arkansas to Celebrate Tourism Week May 3-11

May 5, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

By proclamation of Governor Mike Beebe, and in recognition of the positive economic, social, and cultural impact of the travel and tourism industry, Arkansas will celebrate May 3-11 as Tourism Week.

In 2013, more than 23 million visitors traveled in Arkansas, spending an estimated $5.9 billion, which generated $311 million in state taxes and $113 million in local taxes. 

Across the state, communities are planning to salute Tourism Week in a variety of ways. Following is a list of places and activities planned:

  • Batesville: The Ozark Gateway Tourist Council will celebrate in Batesville on May 6 in conjunction with the Leo Rainey Tourism Appreciation event and the grand opening of the council’s new office, located at 453 Batesville Blvd. Beginning at 11a.m., free lunches of burgers, hot dogs, beverages, and cake will be at 453 Batesville Blvd. There will be giveaways, and Richard Davies, Executive Director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism will speak. For more information, contact Cathy Drew, Ozark Gateway Executive Director, at 800-264-0316.
  • Bentonville: The Arkansas Welcome Center, located on US Highway 71, will celebrate on May 3. Food and refreshments made by Arkansas businesses will be served throughout the day. For more information, contact William Armacost, Bentonville Welcome Center manager, at 479-855-3111.
  • Blytheville: The Arkansas Welcome Center in Blytheville, located on Interstate 55 South, will celebrate on May 10. A program by Richard Underhill, president of the Arkansas Beekeepers Association, will emphasize the role of the honey bee in Arkansas agriculture. There will also be entertainment by the band Southern Outlook and refreshments. For more information, contact Carol Gozell, Blytheville Welcome Center manager, at 870-762-2512.
  • Corning: The Arkansas Welcome Center in Corning will have events throughout the week. Local quilts and craft items will be on display. On May 6, Jeff Newman, Manager of the William H. Donham Fish Hatchery in Corning, will bring an alligator for the public to view. On May 7. there will be cake and lemonade. Anna Pfeisler, Interpreter with Davidsonville State Park, will present a hands-on outdoor dutch oven cooking demonstration on May 9. Peach cobbler will be served to attendees. Each day there will be samples of Riceland rice along with the 2013 Riceland Rice Winning Recipes book. For more information, contact Barbara Harmon, Corning Welcome Center manager, at 870-857-6014.
  • El Dorado: The Arkansas Welcome Center in El Dorado will serve coffee and chocolate chip cookies to visitors throughout the week, and pass out samples of Riceland rice along with the 2013 Riceland Rice Winning Recipes book. On May 3, the El Dorado Police Department will have a display of tactical equipment and a K-9 demonstration. Displays from the local Mahaw Festival and old photos of the El Dorado area will be exhibited all week. For more information, contact Gil Gilbert, El Dorado Welcome Center manager at 870-881-9160.
  • Eureka Springs: Eureka Springs has declared May 7, 2014 as Tourism Day. The day long recognition and celebration hosted by The Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce includes festivities from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Village at Pine Mountain parking lot. During this time, the Mayor will make a proclamation, hot dogs and burgers will be served, local attractions will offer handout information, and the “Eureka Springs Faces of Tourism” portrait will again be staged at The Village.
  • Harrison: The Harrison Welcome Center will celebrate on May 6. Visitors will be served refreshments such as sweet breads, pizza, cold cuts, soda, and other tasty treats donated by local restaurants and grocery businesses. There will be entertainment by Carl Acuff Jr. and his band, a remote broadcast by local radio station KHOZ, and writers and photographers from the Harrison Daily Times to document the festivities. Mayor Jeff Crockett will give a proclamation declaring May 6 Tourism Day. State Representative Kelley Linck and representatives from the Buffalo National River and Hobbs State Park Conservation Area will be in attendance as well. For more information, contact Bill Tanneberger, Harrison Welcome Center manager, at 870-741-3343.
  • Helena-West Helena: The staff of the Arkansas Welcome Center will host a “Party on the Porch.” The Delta Cultural Center, the Helena Museum of Phillips County, Delta Heritage Trail State Park, Mississippi River State Park and Village Creek State Park will have displays and information on their attractions. There will be a civil war re-enactor with a small military tent set up on the lawn and several artists will be painting. Local politicians have volunteered to grill hot dogs for the crowd and Jeff Steele will provide music. For more information, contact Pam Garofas, Helena-West Helena Welcome Center manager, at 870-338-7602.
  • Lake Village: The Lake Village Welcome Center will celebrate with several events throughout the week. On May 5, there will be a presentation given by Dr. Blake Wintory on the Lakeport Plantation. On May 7, the Felsenthal Wildlife Refuge from Crossett will tell tourists about activities available at the refuge. Lake Chicot State Park will be at the center on May 8 with displays. For more information, contact Martin Reese, Lake Village Welcome Center manager, at 870-265-5832.
  • Little Rock: Travel Rally Day in Little Rock will be held on May 6. The event will take place in Bernice Gardens and will include a proclamation from Mayor Mark Stodola. Events will include presentations outlining the economic effect of travel in Arkansas and the story of how tourism helped to transform the SoMa district of Little Rock. Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, will announce the city’s first ever Service Champion Award winner and a video contest highlighting the travel effect.
  • Mammoth Spring: The Mammoth Spring Welcome Center will celebrate Tourism Week on May 10 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with free balloons, live bluegrass music, free refreshments, and free museum tours at the 1886 Frisco Depot Museum. There will also be a homemade ice cream vendor on site. Door prizes will be given out and a grand prize will be awarded. For more information, contact Adam Davis, Mammoth Spring Welcome Center manager, at 870-625-7382.
  • Newton County: The Newton County Chamber of Commerce has proclaimed May 3-11, 2014 as Tourism Week in both the town of Jasper and Newton County. The Chamber will host a “Salute to Our Visitors” recognition program, hanging welcome flyers in the chamber shop welcoming visitors. A visitor will be randomly selected to receive a $20 gift certificate. For more information, contact Donnie Crain, Newton County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director, at 870-446-2455.
  • Siloam Springs: The Siloam Springs Welcome Center will celebrate all week by giving out Little Debbie snacks, Cavender’s Seasoning sample packets, Arvest pens, and Day Spring day planners. On Friday, the center will serve donuts and coffee for the early travelers and hot dogs, BBQ chicken, potato salad, baked beans and pizza at lunch time. For more information, contact Betty Ross, Siloam Springs Welcome Center manager at 479-524-4445.
  • Texarkana: The Texarkana Welcome Center, located on Interstate 30 East, will celebrate National Tourism Week on May 7 and 8. On May 7, there will be a proclamation from Texarkana Mayor N. Wayne Smith followed by refreshments. The Road Runners of Texarkana will have antique cars on display. On May 8, the Victory Riders Motorcycle Club will be at the center to display their bikes and Williams Tavern from Historic Old Washington State Park will serve chocolate earthquake cake, a local favorite. On both days, state park interpreters will talk about the state parks and what they have to offer visitors. Riceland Foods and Cavender’s Seasoning samples will be given out. For more information, contact Paula Warren, Texarkana Welcome Center manager at 870-772-4301.
  • The Red River Welcome Center, located in Texarkana on US Highway 71 North, will host an event on May 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Grilled hot dogs, bottled water and desserts from Williams’s Tavern Restaurant at Historic Washington State Park will be served. Waymon Cox, interpreter from the Crater of Diamonds State Park will be giving advice on how to search for diamonds. “Trax the Dinosaur” will promote Nashville’s Dinosaur Festival and antique cars will be in the parking lot for visitors to enjoy, courtesy of the Four States Auto Museum. There will be samples from Riceland rice samples given away as well as door prizes and a grand prize of two adult passes to the Crater of Diamonds State Park along with a one-night stay at Diamonds Old West Hotel/Cabins in Murfreesboro. For more information, contact Sheila Nichols, Red River Welcome Center manager, at 870-772-7511.
  • Van Buren & Fort Smith: The Arkansas Welcome Center at Van Buren/Fort Smith, located near mile marker 3 on Interstate 40, will celebrate by treating tourists with Arkansas-made products including locally made candies and sample rice bags. In addition, there will be random prize giveaways all week. On May 9, the interpreter from Lake Fort Smith State Park will be present with live snakes to visit with travelers about the unique history and heritage of the area. On May 8, the mayors of Van Buren and Fort Smith will greet visitors and read an official proclamation announcing Tourism Week. Representatives from the Advertising & Promotion Commissions from Van Buren and Fort Smith will present a lucky tourist with a gift basket. For more information, contact Kevin Billings, Van Buren/Fort Smith Welcome Center manager, at 479-474-9512.
  • West Memphis: The Arkansas Welcome Center will celebrate on May 8 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mayor Bill Johnson will read a proclamation declaring Tourism Day in West Memphis, and local dignitaries have been invited to come out that day to assist with greeting and assisting tourists. Snacks will be served and the local newspaper will take pictures. For more information, contact Calanda Young, West Memphis Welcome Center manager at 870-735-3637.

For general information on Tourism Week, contact Jessica Ledbetter, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1676.

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