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Arkansas is called the "natural state" for its beautiful sites, like the Ozarks, Blanchard Springs Caverns, and hot springs. You can experience them illuminated with millions of lights and bright decorations during the most wonderful time of the year. Arkansas small towns are especially enchanting with Christmas displays, nativity scenes, and holiday fun for all ages!
Lights of the Ozarks at Fayetteville Downtown Square (November 20, 2020–January 1, 2021)
Every Christmas season, Lights of the Ozarks transforms downtown Fayetteville into a winter wonderland. People gather to enjoy the lights, carriages, and pony rides. Organizers cheer up the crowds with a cup of hot chocolate and holiday music. The spectacular display of some 400,000 lights illuminates Fayetteville's Downtown Square. The festival also includes a Lighting Night Parade (canceled in 2020), Santa's mailbox, and food trucks serving festive food and drinks.
Enchanted Land of Lights & Legends at Pine Bluff Regional Park (November 17–December 31, 2020)
The largest city in southeast Arkansas and the tenth-largest in the state, Pine Bluff hosts a spectacular Christmas Lights festival at Pine Bluff Regional Park every holiday season. Drive through some 250 animated and still light displays from 6 to 9 p.m. starting from late November through the end of December. Enchanted Land of Lights & Legends is Arkansas’s largest drive-thru holiday lights show: it stretches for about 1.3 mi (2 km) of the winter wonderland. The entrance to the display is located at the intersection of Martha Mitchell Expressway, Convention Center Drive, and Regional Park Drive. The good news is that admission is free.
Winter Garden Festival at Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs (November 21–December 31, 2020)
Typically, every November Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs put on one of the most celebrated outdoor light displays in Arkansas. Holiday Lights opens on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Eve. The light extravaganza features over 4.5 million lights in a variety of natural settings. Enjoy the luminescent Garden of the Pine Wind, and the fifty-foot (15-m) Christmas Tree that plays holiday tunes and is animated to a light show. The Parterre garden on the Great Lawn features traditional holiday scenes and characters. The illuminated walking tour ends at The Chipmunk Café that serves hot cocoa, soups, sandwiches, and snacks. Special events at Garvan include The Schueck Rose Tree Lighting Ceremony, Live Reindeer and Santa’s Sleigh, and the Jingle Dog Pup Parade. The 2020 edition is somewhat different from the previous years: Garvan Woodland Gardens is hosting a daytime winter garden festival this year. This allows families to celebrate the winter holiday season in a safe way. There will be plenty of photo ops at the entry plaza arbor, Dooley arbor, the new fairy garden circle, the bulb meadow, and Jack’s Bench. The Grand Pavilion will turn into a huge Snow Globe and on select days James the Train will provide opportunities for Santa Selfies. The creations of design students will be on display as well. The traditional holiday lights will not be the central piece this year, as most activities and family-friendly fun are planned for the daytime. The Evans Tree House, Evans Children’s Adventure Garden, and the Perry Wildflower Overlook are some of this year's attractions.
Sherwood's Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights (November 20–December 30, 2020)
The city of Sherwood, Arkansas, has one of the most impressive light parades in the state. Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights is a drive-thru course at Sherwood Forest with the entrance located near the Sherwood Sports Complex. The display opens on Monday after Thanksgiving and runs through late December. The one-mile Enchanted Forest Trail offers thousands of lights, spectacular displays, and holiday scenes.
Searcy Holiday of Lights (Holidays at Harding November 22–December 31, 2020; Living Nativity December 4–13, 2020)
Searcy, Arkansas, is a great place to get into the Christmas spirit. The downtown area is home to the historic White County Courthouse and Rialto Theater, which is adorned with thousands of holiday lights. Stop by Art Alley, the new creative spot downtown, visit the Courthouse Square, a skating rink in Spring Park, displays at Berryhill Park, and the grounds of Harding University. From November 24, 2020, the parks will be illuminated with more than one million cascading lights under a beautiful tree canopy. There is also The Living Nativity at First Assembly of God, which will be held on December 4–6 and 11–13, 2020. The best time to visit Searcy is during the lighting ceremony and parade downtown, which are held at the beginning of the holiday season.
White River Wonderland, Batesville (November 25–December 31, 2020)
Batesville is likely to become your favorite holiday destination in Arkansas. White River Wonderland at Riverside Park is definitely one of the most beautiful Christmas displays in the state. The magical ambience of over one million lights along the picturesque White River will get you in Christmas spirit right away. Enjoy driving through the display in your car while listening to Christmas tunes. You can opt for a romantic carriage ride or the magical White River Wonderland Express train ride. There is also an artificial ice rink for everyone to enjoy.
Bentonville Lighting of the Square (November 20, 2020–January 1, 2021)
The Lighting of the Square is a premier Christmas experience in Bentonville. To see the Square illuminated with lights is the impressive sight that kicks off holidays in town. In addition to the light ceremony, you can enjoy a Little Craft show and a lot of holiday shopping. Holiday lights will illuminate the square from mid-November through New Year's Day. The annual Christmas Parade around three sides of downtown Bentonville is held in early December.