LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas is ready to sizzle and sparkle with Fourth of July events. From fireworks to musical entertainment, parades to carnival rides, and watermelon-seed spitting contests to donkey races, cities are ready to celebrate the nation’s independence with a bang.
Here are some July 4 celebrations happening today and Sunday throughout central Arkansas:
LITTLE ROCK’S Pops on the River, the state’s largest Fourth of July celebration, is set for the Riverfest Amphitheatre on Sunday. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform at 8:30 p.m. and fireworks will be at 9:30 p.m. It’s free, but donations of cash and nonperishable food items will be accepted by the Arkansas Foodbank Network. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the festival lasts until 10 p.m. Details are available at arkansasonline.com/pops.
HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM’S annual Frontier Fourth of July will be Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. in Little Rock. An old-fashioned patriotic parade will be at 3 p.m. Free parking will be on Third and Cumberland Streets.
MAUMELLE will hold its 33rd annual Maumelle Fourth Fest today at Lake Willastein. The festival includes carnival rides, food, entertainment and a parade.
LIGHTS OVER THE LAKE in Conway will begin at 7 p.m. today at Lake Beaverfork Park. Musical entertainment includes the Conway Symphony Orchestra performing patriotic music. Fireworks will go off over the water to end the concert.
SHERWOOD will host its 11th annual Fourth of July Family Celebration on Sunday at Sherwood Forest. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include entertainment, activities for children, and free hot dogs and chips. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. A free shuttle service will be available at the Sylvan Hills High School parking lot. Information is available at (501) 835-6893.
PINNACLE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK will hold Fun on the Fourth on Sunday in the picnic area. Activities include a watermelon-seed spitting contest, relay races and water-balloon volleyball.
CORNING will hold its 66th annual Homecoming Picnic at Wynn Park today. Gov. Mike Beebe and U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (both Democrats) will ride in the annual Corning Independence Day Parade downtown. The parade starts at 9 a.m.
CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER in Little Rock will hold its Independence Day Family Festival starting at 9 a.m. today.
Events elsewhere in the state include:
RUSSELLVILLE will hold its Community Fireworks Display on Sunday at 9:15 p.m. at Old Post Park.
PINE BLUFF/JEFFERSON COUNTY REGIONAL PARK will hold what it describes as the largest fireworks display in southeast Arkansas at 9:15 p.m. Sunday. Food vendors will open at 5 p.m. and music will begin at 7 p.m.
PETIT JEAN STATE PARK will host Fun and Games Day on Sunday. Events include live musical entertainment, activities for children and a parade at 10 a.m. where people are encouraged to bring their bicycles.
EUREKA SPRINGS’ Independence Day Celebration includes flag making, a watermelon-seed spitting contest and a water-balloon throwing contest Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
LAKE POINSETT STATE PARK near Harrisburg will host a variety of activities today and Sunday including Buggy Bingo, Insect Orchestra, S’mores and Fireside Stories, and a guided Kayak Tour. Information is available by calling (870) 578-2064
TEXARKANA will hold its annual Sparks in the Park festival at the Four States Fair Grounds. Festivities include music, fireworks and rides.
FAYETTEVILLE concludes the Bikes, Babes and Bling motorcycle rally today.The rally caters to women and will benefit charities for women and children. It is in the Walton Arts Center parking lot.
LAKE CHARLES STATE PARK in Powhatan will host “The Rattle of Musketry: From Flint to Percussion” today. The lecture will focus on the history of muskets and include a demonstration.
MOUNTAIN HOME will present its 25th annual Lake Norfork Fireworks Association Independence Eve Fireworks tonight over Norfork Lake. Fireworks over Bull Shoals Lake will be Sunday night.
OZARK FOLK CENTER in Mountain View will host Donkey and Mule Day today. Guests can watch the competitions for free, beginning at 9 a.m. The folk center also will host craft demonstrations Sunday and musical entertainment today.
BISMARCK will host Island Festival on Sunday at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. The event will include crafts, an underwater treasure hunt and a scavenger hunt.
PIGGOTT presents the 83rd annual Fourth of July Homecoming and Picnic today. The parade starts at 9 a.m. Live music, carnival rides and fireworks continue through the afternoon and evening.
PARAGOULD presents Fun on the Fourth on Sunday at Crowley’s Ridge State Park. Swimming, music and a variety of programs will be featured.