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“Because October Is Just Too Busy!”
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – John Allen French is part of an enormous committee putting together a brand new tradition for Pocahontas and Randolph County called Novemberfest (Because October Is Just Too Busy).
The event begins at 4 PM Friday, November 1, and lasts through Saturday night in Pocahontas’ historic downtown district.
“In the past, Pocahontas had a Rock n Roll festival,” John Allen told NEA Report. “They’ve not had that in a couple of years. Our Founder’s Day Festival this year was so successful, we wanted to have another festival this year. So we wanted to do something fun, unique, and like nothing Pocahontas has ever had before.”
But why November? Aside from the honest answer of because October was busy, John Allen said it was because of an interesting historical connection between the City of Pocahontas and Thanksgiving. In the 1840s, the third governor of Arkansas was from Pocahontas: Governor Thomas Drew. He declared Thanksgiving a state holiday in Arkansas. It was notable because Arkansas was the first state in the South to do so.
“That’s why we’re celebrating in November,” John Allen said. “Because Thomas Drew from Pocahontas declared Thanksgiving a state holiday for Arkansas.”
Drew’s wife was named Cinderella Bettis. In honor of the former first lady, there will be a Cinderella dress-up contest, John Allen said. Contestants can dress up as either an olden-style 1800s lady, like Cinderella Bettis Drew. Or, of course, contestants could just dress up as Princess Cinderella.
A number of events will incorporate two of the most iconic fall items on any Thanksgiving dinner table – the turkey and the pumpkin. They include the ULTIMATE Pumpkin Pie Contest sponsored by the First United Methodist Church. Also, the Gobble Wobble 5K.
Free concerts for the public will also be hosted, including 2018 Arkansas County Music Artist of the Year winner Cory Jackson, American Idol contestant and NEA native Lauren Gray, and the headline act on Saturday: Barrett Baber!
St. Charles Pub will be open on Friday and Saturday for visitors. There will be history tours, tours of historical homes in the area, and lots of area vendors, too. An entire downtown street will be shut down just for kids! It’s going to be called the Kid Zone. It will include bouncy houses, slides, games, and more.
The event came together with what John Allen said was the largest group of committee members for any event he has ever seen in Pocahontas.
“Mayor Keith Sutton and his wife have really been a big help!” John Allen said. “They are eager and excited to get involved and help bring fun and exciting events to our downtown area!”
Another big part of events that weekend will be the Novemberfest Parade. Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Executive Assistant Wendy French is organizing it and promised a unique and fun memory from the special themed event.
“The Chamber of Commerce jumped at the opportunity to bring this New Orleans style walking parade to downtown Pocahontas,” Wendy said. “Our hope is that every friend group, youth group, non profit, neighborhood and business feels encouraged to participate! Each group will be asked to dress in some kind of themed costume and incorporate a few quirky tributes to the overall theme of Novemberfest. We look forward to seeing Randolph County come together for this one of a kind event!”
The parade will be held on Saturday, November 2nd at 11:30. The parade route will be set around the downtown historic district.
The Chamber of Commerce will also be heading up the Thomas the Turkey Treasure Hunt. “Tom” will be hidden somewhere in Pocahontas city limits and clues will be given from the Chamber Facebook page starting the Monday prior to the event. Each day clues will be released and the finder of Tom will be awarded a prize package.
Anyone wanting to be a vendor for the event is asked to call Becky Lindner (after 4 PM) at 870-378-6101.
Anyone wanting to sponsor the event can call John Allen French at 870-637-3523.
Anyone wanting to get in the parade can call Wendy French at 870-892-3956.