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COMMUNITY

Staff Report

A Month of Local Festivals

What better way to spend a summer day than at one of the unique and exciting festivals in our region. Whether celebrating music and the arts, culture and identity, or the freshest blueberries around, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at some of the festivals heading your way this month!

 

Bentonville Film Festival

 

The Bentonville Film Foundation, in collaboration with founding partner, Walmart, and presenting sponsor, Coca-Cola, will present the premieres of narrative, documentary, short film and episodic selections at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival’s competition program set for June 10-16. The annual festival is a globally recognized platform amplifying female, non-binary, LGBTQ+, BIPOC and people with disabilities’ voices in entertainment.

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Geena Davis (Photo by Getty Images

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Out of My Mind (Photo Courtesy of Disney)

Opening night of the festival will feature Out of My Mind from director Amber Sealey and author Sharon M. Draper, who wrote the book the movie is based on. Following the screening, Sealey and Draper, along with lead actress Phoebe-Rae Taylor, will participate in a Q&A. Additionally, the recipient of the See It, Be It, Make It Filmmaker Grant presented by NBCUniversal and the BFFoundation, Nuked, which was shot entirely in Bentonville, will be included in this year’s lineup as a Spotlight Screening selection. The festival will screen five world premieres throughout the week and will also add a new category, the Alumni Showcase, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the festival, to showcase films led by filmmakers who have shown films at previous festivals.

 

The annual event, chaired by Academy Award winner Geena Davis, will feature a range of independent film discoveries, an Opening Film and Reception, and a Closing Film and Conversation, with noteworthy filmmakers and stars in attendance.

In addition to the screenings and happenings, the community is invited to take part in the Festival Village showcasing a lively marketplace of local and sponsored wares, partake in the free food fest experience with demos and samplings, visit the outdoor Geena Davis Theater for free screenings under the stars, and take part in family-friendly events.

 

The annual festival-favorite event, Geena & Friends, will also be back and better than ever, showcasing a cast of visiting female actors joining Geena in re-imagining scenes originally made famous with male performers.

For more information, visit www.bentonvillefilm.org.

Freedom Festival

 

Music Moves, a nonprofit organization with the mission of making Black music and the arts accessible to both students and the entire Northwest Arkansas community, is hosting Freedom Festival on June 15 in partnership with Northwest Arkansas Juneteenth Committee, INTERFORM and Community Cohesion Project.

Now in its fourth year, the Freedom Festival is one of Arkansas’ largest commemorations and celebrations recognizing Juneteenth, the federal holiday that marks the ending of slavery in the United States. Freedom Festival is a day for Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas to gather, reflect and share in a festival of music, food and fun. The Freedom Festival committee invites everyone to experience the goodwill and positivity of the thousands who gather in downtown Springdale for what has become a Northwest Arkansas tradition.

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More than 4,300 people attended last year’s celebration to enjoy the family-friendly festival with activations such as a kids zone, a vendor market featuring local entrepreneurs and businesses, a fashion show, giveaways and music.

The 2024 Freedom Festival lineup will include Soul Train-nominated R&B artist Donell Jones, iconic funk band Cameo, and Grammy-nominated hip hop artist Twista. Several local and regional artists will open the festival, which will run from 2 to 9 p.m. (Photos by Ryan Versey)

For more information,
visit www.musicmovesar.com.

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Berry Fest

 

Dave and Jenny Marrs, stars of HGTV’s home renovation show Fixer to Fabulous, invite the community to join them at The Berry Farm in Bentonville for the fifth annual Berry Fest on June 22.  

 

At Berry Fest, there is something for everyone. Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket to relax and listen to live music from local artists, support local businesses in the expanded Vendor Village and food truck area, pick a basket of fresh organic blueberries, and explore the play area for kids and kids at heart. 

Musical performances by Will Gunselman, Lazy Daisy and 412 West will provide entertainment throughout the event. Twenty local and regional vendors will have their goods on display and for sale alongside Berry Fest merchandise and items from Marrs Mercantile. The kids area is expanding to include face painting, a balloon artist, hands-on learning with an activity hosted by Scott Family Amazeum, a play area, and a quiet tent for those who need a break from the sun and sounds. (Photos by Mike Davello)

For more information,
visit www.theberryfarmbentonville.com.

Northwest Arkansas Pride

 

Northwest Arkansas Pride events are back for another year. On June 28, Trans March will take place down Block Avenue to the square with a rally immediately after. Following the rally will be Trans Fest, a new component in 2023 that is being expanded this year with a new outdoor stage on the south side of the square and more vendors.

 

On June 29, the 20th annual Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade will take place at 5 p.m. down Dickson Street. The Northwest Arkansas Pride Festival is from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the main stage relocating to the parking lot behind Yeehawg and Halo to accommodate the Upper Ramble construction. Vendors will be placed in the lot with the main stage as well as on West Avenue and School Avenue. The Youth Zone at Fayetteville Town Center will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Glitterville, the official party of Northwest Arkansas Pride, will be Saturday night at George’s Majestic Lounge. This year will feature RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Kylie Sonique Love, Plasma and Maddy Morphosis. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show starts at midnight. (All times and performers subject to change.)

 

On June 30, Hi Tea, the official pool party of Northwest Arkansas Pride, will take place at Mount Sequoyah from noon to 6 p.m. Brunch will be served from noon to 3 p.m., with a bar and snacks available the full duration of the event. (Photos by Meredith Mashburn)

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For more information, visit www.nwapride.org.

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