Probably nowhere in the world would anyone want to be called a Hog—except in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Razorbacks are known worldwide and once a Hog, always a Hog. It’s a tie that brings people together even after they leave campus.
If you’re a new student, no doubt you learned in orientation that the UA is an entity into itself. Almost everything you need can be found on campus. There are tons of activities, a health center, food, the library and of course classes to learn about everything from environmental science to art history.
But what’s going on in the off-campus world is vast as well. Northwest Arkansas is so popular that many UA grads find jobs and stay here after they graduate. That’s one reason there are so many lawyers in town.
What is so great about being a Hog and living in Fayetteville? Lots! Keep reading for some tips and info on living here in Hog town.
Fayetteville is a relaxed kind of town. Although it’s recently been trending more upscale, it is still a place where you can find a construction worker fresh from the building site drinking a beer with a Wal-Mart vendor in a suit and tie. Within walking distance of campus you can find sushi or a burger and everything in between. And there are several coffeeshops to hang in that are just as much fun as the bars.
Fayetteville is becoming more pedestrian friendly and like many cities across America, community leaders are sprucing up their historic downtown areas. Take a short walk from campus to Dickson Street—the center of nightlife in Fayetteville—and on to the original town square. Along the way you’ll find boutique shops, a record store, bookstores and art galleries. Window-shopping on foot is the best way to discover them. Don’t forget to explore the side streets. Other places where you’ll find some unique shops are Evelyn Hill Shopping Center and Colt Square, but you’ll probably want to drive.
While you’re on your walkabout, don’t miss the new Fayetteville Public Library a few blocks west of the square. It’s a nice place to hangout, read and take in some of the special programs sponsored by the library.
If you want to find out what Fayetteville is really about, check out the downtown square on Saturday mornings during Farmers Market. In addition to local produce, crafts and cut flowers, there are musical groups on every corner plunking out everything from hillbilly to jazz. You can pick up a cup of coffee and pastry and be sure and check out the Peace Fountain on the Town Center Plaza on the south side of the square.
Mark Nov. 17 on your calendar. That’s when you can catch the holiday spirit before you head home for the holidays by taking in the kickoff event for Lights of the Ozarks. The square becomes a winter wonderland with thousands of lights and horse draw carriages.
If you’re wondering about those Keep Fayetteville Funky bumper stickers that you’ve been seeing, they are an invention of local citizen Liz Knight, who created the slogan to encourage support for small, locally owned businesses. You can buy a sticker at any of the Penguin Ed’s BBQ locations.
Like a little Los Angeles, Northwest Arkansas is spread out. If you must shop the mall stores, Northwest Arkansas is bursting with store names that you’ll recognize and probably some new ones, since the only Sephora store in Arkansas is in NWA. In addition to the Northwest Arkansas Mall on the north edge of Fayetteville, head straight up I-540 to Rogers where you’ll find the upscale Shoppes at Pinnacle Hills and the Pinnacle Promenade.
It’s sad, but true, you’ll have to get in a car—unless you’re up for a pretty good hike—to get to a movie theater, since there are no movie theaters in the downtown core. But you can occasionally catch movies on campus.
Although many of the places on Dickson Street are off-limits unless you’re 21, some of the music clubs often have 18 and up shows, so be on the lookout for them. There are open mic nights at local coffeehouses where you’ll be legal—check the Free Weekly’s music listings each week for open mics.
Arkansas is known as the Natural State for good reason. Here in Northwest Arkansas, there are mountains, rivers and amazing natural beauty that creates a strong pull to get you outside and into the outdoors.
Fayetteville probably has more city parks per capita than anywhere you’ve lived. One of the most popular parks with students is Wilson Park, which is just a few blocks from campus. There’s a paved walking and jogging path and lighted tennis courts. Of course there’s also lots of room for picnics under a huge shade tree. The “castle” on the northeast corner of the park is a big favorite.
You can find another new paved and lighted multiuse trail, the Frisco Trail, not too far from campus at 575 W. Center St. The trail runs south from there to Sixth Street, and north from Center Street to Dickson Street. If you’re thinking of buying a bicycle to get around town, check out Bike City on the north end of the trail in the old Quonset hut. Bike City refurbishes bikes and sells them at reasonable prices to keep the cycles out of the landfills.
Fayetteville also has three parks with large lakes where you can boat, fish or hike—Lake Fayetteville, Lake Sequoyah and Lake Wilson. Go to www.accessfayetteville.org for information.
Other places worth exploring, not too far from Fayetteville are Devil’s Den State Park, Lake Wedington, Beaver Lake and of course, the Buffalo River. When your parents come to town, you might want to check out the cabins at Devil’s Den and Lake Wedington. Just about a half-hour away, the WPA era cabins have been updated and many of them have fireplaces. But know, that although they are one of the best-kept secrets in NWA, they are sometimes booked months in advance.
If you’re from Arkansas, you are probably familiar with the quaint art village of Eureka Springs about an hour from Fayetteville. If you haven’t been there, check it out. It’s a popular day trip.
If you’re fan of music festivals and art festivals, Eureka Springs hosts several and there are others nearby, too. Fall is a busy time for festivals. Here’s the scoop on some of them.
The Fayetteville Art Festival will take place at the Fayetteville Town Center and other venues around town two consecutive weekends beginning August 31. The first weekend focuses on the visual arts and the second weekend on performing arts. See page 17 for more information.
One of the oldest art fairs in the region, the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair, will celebrate its 56th anniversary this year. The fair will be Sept. 1-3 on the grounds of the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in nearby Prairie Grove.
Another arts and crafts fair that attracts visitors from around the world is the War Eagle Fair. The fair is Oct. 18-21 and is located on the War Eagle River about an hour from Fayetteville. The old water mill makes for an idyllic backdrop for the outdoor fair. The fair began in 1954 and features traditional arts and crafts and draws about 180,000 visitors.
This fall you can take in a number of music festivals.
This weekend, the Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival will be headlined by Sam Bush, Marty Stuart and Mare Winningham. www.eurekaspringsbluegrassfestival.com.
The oldest bar on Dickson Street, George’s Majestic Lounge will celebrate its 80th birthday this year. The club has lined up the crème de la crème of local musicians along with musicians from New Orleans, San Francisco and other cities for a four-day festival that runs Sept. 6-9. Included among the performers are: Steve Kimock and Friends, Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, Jeff Sipe, Porter/Batiste/Stoltz, Mike Dillon’s Go-Go Jungle, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and more. www.georgesmajesticlounge.com.
Little Feat fans and music lovers in general will want to catch the Feat Fest Sept. 14-15 in Eureka Springs. Little Feat will play two shows and there will be performances and jams at venues all over town. www.theaud.org.
The Mulberry Mountain Harvest Music Festival will take place near Ozark, Sept. 21-22. Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, The Code Talkers, Vince Herman, Big Smith, Tea Leaf Green and more. www.mulberrymountainmusic.com.
Head to the Missouri Ozarks, for the Camp Zoe festivals on a 330-acre riverside campground near Salem, Mo. There’s Schwagstock 36 on Sept. 28-29 and Spookstock 6 on Oct. 26-27. Grateful Dead fans take note. The Schwag is a Grateful Dead tribute band that is top notch. www.campzoe.com.
Oct. 3-6 will see the annual motorcycle rally Bikes, Blues and BBQ in Fayetteville. The event draws cyclists from near and far and there will be music by many local favorites with special guests Chubby Carrier and Oteil and the Peacemakers. Bikesbluesandbbq.org.
The oldest music festival west of the Mississippi, the Ozark Folk Festival in Eureka Springs celebrates 60 years Oct. 11-13 with performances by Riders in the Sky, Odetta, Trout Fishing in America, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Chris Smither. www.eurekasprings.org.
Those are the Highlights. Find out what’s going on every week in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas, by picking up a copy of the Free Weekly every Thursday. There are several places on campus to pick up the Free Weekly or you can find them at one of the purple racks on Dickson Street and at locations throughout NWA.