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Visit Hot Springs gears up with 'can't miss' list

by Cassidy Kendall | January 24, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
The Austin Weirdos compete in the 2019 Stueart Pennington World Championship Running of the Tubs. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record

After a year when nearly every major event was canceled due to COVID-19, Visit Hot Springs has published a list of the Top 10 "can't miss" events for the new year, assuming pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The list includes the return of annual events lost in 2020 like the World Championship Running of the Tubs, Spa-Con Comic & Pop Culture Convention and the Tom Daniel Annual Holiday Chili Cook Off.

At the top of the list is the Tulip Extravaganza at Garvan Woodland Gardens, which runs from mid-February to mid-April (see related article on Page One).

Next on the list one of the most significant anniversaries in the city's history: Hot Springs National Park's 100th birthday celebration in early March.

"It's time to blow out the candles! 2021 marks 100 years of Hot Springs National Park and we're honoring the park with an official birthday celebration," according to the list released by Visit Hot Springs.

The national park will host a "Build Your Own Bathhouse" with Mid-America Science Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 6, where participants will have the opportunity to build their own bath houses out of cardboard.

The National Park will also have birthday cupcakes for visitors to enjoy and virtual tours of the park on March 4.

Other events on the list include the following:

• The Arkansas Derby will run at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort on April 10 with limited spectators who made prior reservations.

• The 2021 Stueart Pennington World Championship Running of the Tubs, which was rescheduled then canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, will be held once again on June 5.

"Hot Springs' longtime motto, 'We Bathe the World' lives up to its meaning during the World Championship Running of the Tubs," the list said. "This wacky event celebrates Hot Springs' historic past as America's Spa, with bathtubs racing down the street along Bathhouse Row, following on the spot rules created by judges while spectators hurl water balloons, shoot water guns and cheer on race participants."

• The Fourth Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend will be held Aug. 27 and 28.

• On Sept. 18, Blues Traveler will perform live on Bridge Street.

"Originally scheduled to perform at the 2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade, Blues Traveler will be performing right where the legendary St. Patrick's Day Parade takes place," the list said. "Don't miss an evening of live music by Blues Traveler in downtown Hot Springs!"

• Another canceled event was the fifth annual Spa-Con Comic & Pop Culture Convention, but it is expected to return once again Sept. 24-26.

"We know you can't wait to get your cosplay on for Spa-Con V!" the list said. "Spa-Con Comic & Pop Culture Convention will be held September 24-26 and we have a HUGE convention planned full of exciting celebrity guests, amazing expo hall vendors, workshops, panels and more special events," the list said.

• The 30th Annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will be held Oct. 8-16 and will provide film screenings as well as opportunities for filmmakers through panels, workshops and film professionals.

• The third annual Gudrun Northwoods Mountain Bike Festival will return Nov. 12-14.

To end the year, the Tom Daniel Annual Holiday Chili Cook Off will be held Nov. 22 and will kick off the holiday lights that illuminate downtown through the end of December.

"Spend the most wonderful time of the year in Hot Springs, where over a million lights shine bright for the holidays," the list said. "The downtown holiday light display is turned on after the Hot Springs Chili Cook Off on November 22 and stays on display until after the New Year."


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