Aug 3, 2023 - Things to Do

It's spaghetti time in NW Arkansas

Illustration of utensils with hungry emojis on them.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Tontitown Grape Festival — an NWA tradition since 1898 — is in full swing with its classic spaghetti dinners.

What's happening: The festival kicked off Tuesday and runs through Saturday. Catch the carnival, arts and crafts fair, bingo and live music each day. The coronation of the 124th Queen Concordia is set for 8pm Friday, and the Run for the Grapes 5K starts at 7am Saturday.

Be smart: The festival is a celebration of Italian heritage. Tontitown was founded in 1898 by Italian Catholic immigrants who hosted a Thanksgiving picnic in observance of the Feast of St. Peter, patron saint of their priest, Father Pietro Bandini, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

  • The picnic grew to an all-day event with baseball games, sack races, band concerts and a dance, and eventually to a multi-day event in August to coincide with the grape harvest.

Details: Carnival armbands are $30-$35; spaghetti dinners are $15 for ages 11 and up and $10 for kids 10 and under.

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