An Elfing Good Time

An Elfing Good Time

Holidaze might be just what revelers ordered

When Hannah Withers and husband Ben Gitchel found an opportunity last year to host a holiday pop-up bar in an empty storefront on Center Street, just off the downtown Fayetteville square, it seemed exactly the right project to take on at the time. The owners of Maxine’s Taproom and Leverett Lounge in Fayetteville get a little antsy, Withers admits, and like to work on new projects and new businesses often. A temporary business — only 40 nights — seemed a good way to settle their restlessness while taking a fun risk at the same time.

“We had no idea how much of a hit this was going to be,” Withers recalls.

The second year of Fayetteville’s “charitable holiday pop-up bar” takes the party outside (and inside) as Holidaze relocates to the Walton Arts Center for 40 days of cocktail cheer, through Dec. 31.
(Courtesy Photos/Anna Tran)

The little cocktail lounge was near bursting almost every night with close to 100 people cozied up in the modest space. (Can you remember those days? Yeah, me neither.)

So with the winter season approaching, Withers, Gitchel and friend and fellow organizational wizard for last year’s pop-up, Richard Gathright, started brainstorming any and every way they could make the event happen in spite of covid-19.

“We had talked about having this in a parking lot somewhere,” Gathright reveals. “But just to bring in all the refrigeration tents and everything we would have had to do just would have been cost-prohibitive.”

Call it a Christmas miracle if you like, because as the doubt was setting in that Holidaze in any form would happen this year, the events team at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville called Withers and invited her to use the performing arts venue. Thus, Holidaze returns for its second year as it takes over the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery, Sudduth Garden Room and the outdoor Bradberry Amphitheater and Rose Garden at WAC.

“Ever since the public announcement, the reaction from the community in social media and in my conversations has been palpable. They are SO READY!” Nick Zazal, director of events and patron services at WAC, enthuses. “That eager energy has no doubt transferred over to the staff. The holiday season is always special at WAC. It is one of our busiest times of the year and always brings out a new appreciation for the community, and for each other as co-workers.

“After such an emotionally draining year, I think many on the staff are just ready for a little Christmas spirit and hope to send out 2020 on a high note. We know that WAC still has long road to go with covid, but having an event that just brings out so much positivity from everyone does help recharge the batteries.”

Branson welcomes cold weather enthusiasts for a new quintessential winter activity at the Track Family Fun Park. A new 7,200-square-foot ice rink — the same size as the famous rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City — opened this month and welcomes skaters from 3 to 10 p.m. daily through New Year’s Day. $13. 417-334-1612,
(Courtesy Photo)

“Everybody in the hospitality industry is in a different position this year,” Withers adds. “So we’re looking at this as a fundraiser not only for the Walton Arts Center, but we also feel really lucky that we get to hire some hospitality workers that really could use the extra work right now. So this year is a little closer to our personal life, really.”

Last year’s inaugural pop-up was established as a charitable endeavor. The creators were focused on making Holidaze “local-centric” Withers told What’s Up! last year, and one quarter of the bar’s profits each night were split between three community organizations.

Proceeds and reservation fees from Holidaze this year will support Walton Arts Center’s Ghost Light Recovery Fund, and for each Stony Bird signature drink that is purchased, Holidaze’s very own Secret Santa will make a donation to support Peace at Home Family Shelter, Fayetteville Independent Restaurant Alliance, NWA Equality and Roots Festival Meals for Musicians, who will receive equal shares of the money raised from those sales.

For some, the end of 2020 can’t come soon enough. But if you’re looking to fill the last of this year’s days with some holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered.
(Courtesy Photo)

As also happened last year, 2020 will also see the return of select nights of local entertainment, the Nog Off Competition, and letters to the head elf himself will be collected in the Letters to Santa mailbox.

Both alcoholic and nonalcoholic holiday drinks are available. To-go drinks are available until 9:30 p.m.

WHEN — 5 p.m.-midnight through Dec. 31; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

WHERE — Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville

COST — Drinks for walk-up purchase; reserved two-hour seating, $15


Holiday Roundup

Elsewhere, the merriment continues:

The second year of Fayetteville’s “charitable holiday pop-up bar” takes the party outside (and inside) as Holidaze relocates to the Walton Arts Center for 40 days of cocktail cheer, through Dec. 31.
(Courtesy Photos/Anna Tran)


North Forest Lights

An artistic light and sound experience in the middle of the North Forest, back at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art through April 4.

WHEN — Nightly Wednesday-Monday through April 4

WHERE — 600 Museum Way

COST — $7-$22

INFO — 657-2335,



Christmas Lights

WHEN — Through Dec. 31

WHERE — Downtown Bentonville square

COST — Free


Lawrence Plaza Ice Rink

Skaters will be limited to 40 at a time to accommodate social distancing.

WHEN — Through Jan. 3

WHERE — 214 N.E. A St.

COST — $2 skate rental, $3 skate session

INFO — 271-3390,

Miracle Pop-Up Bar

Unique and unusual cocktails that play on classic holiday flavors, and Christmas decor covering every square inch will fill the Undercroft — the speakeasy below The Preacher’s Son — as well as spread to The Preacher’s Son’s patio to allow for greater distancing and more revelry in Miracle’s second year in Bentonville.

Miracle on 2nd Street is a 21-and-up only pop-up, and reservations are required.

WHEN — 4 p.m.-midnight Nov. 24-Dec. 31

WHERE — 201 N.W. A St.

COST — Drinks for purchase

INFO — 445-6065,

Winter Market

Shop seasonal and homemade gifts, treats and crafts by local merchants.

WHEN — 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 28

WHERE — Bentonville downtown square

COST — Free


Peel Mansion Poinsettia Sale

Inaugural sale benefiting the Peel Compton Foundation’s annual programming. There are 400 red poinsettias and 100 white poinsettias available for purchase.

WHEN — Place orders now; pick up from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Dec. 4-5

WHERE — Peel Mansion, 312 N. Main St., Bentonville

COST — $20


A Virtual Nutcracker

Presented by the NWA Conservatory of Classical Ballet and NWA Ballet Theatre.

WHEN — Dec. 12-13

WHERE — Online

COST — $50




Drive-Through Light Display

WHEN — Nov. 28-Jan. 4

WHERE — Great Passion Play Grounds, 935 Passion Play Road, Eureka Springs

COST — Free


Shop Small Saturday

WHEN — Nov. 28

WHERE — Downtown Eureka Springs

COST — Free


Holiday Farmers Market

WHEN — 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24

WHERE — 44 Kingshighway, Eureka Springs

COST — Free


Stationary Christmas Parade

In lieu of the annual Christmas Parade of Lights, the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce will host A Twist on Tradition: Giving Back Stationary Christmas Parade. Holiday floats and displays will be available for viewing around the city.

WHEN — 6-8 p.m. Dec. 4

WHERE — Downtown Eureka Springs; route begins at Chamber office, 44 Kingshighway

COST — Free


Christmas at the Crescent

Lighting of the Christmas Tree Forest

WHEN — 6 p.m. Dec. 5

WHERE — 75 Prospect Ave.

COST — Free




Virtual Visit with Santa

WHEN — Through Dec. 24

WHERE — Northwest Arkansas Mall via

COST — $9.99 and up, depending on package


NWA Christmas Bazaar

WHEN — 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today, Nov. 22, by appointment

WHERE — 2228 W. Bowen St.

COST — $15


Lights of the Ozarks

Downtown Fayetteville’s iconic holiday display — which comprises some 400,000 lights and takes more than 3,300 hours to assemble — is now in its 27th year.

WHEN — Nightly 5 p.m.-1 a.m. through Jan. 1

WHERE — Downtown Fayetteville square

COST — Free


‘A Christmas Carol’

The TheatreSquared original by Amy Herzberg and Bob Ford returns with in-person shows and will be available to stream at home Dec. 2-27.

WHEN — Dec. 2-27, times vary

WHERE — TheatreSquared, 477 W. Spring St.

COST — $20-$50

INFO — 777-7477,

A Historical Holiday

The Washington County Historical Society will hold its annual holiday event Dec. 6, outdoors at the west parking lot of Headquarters House, the Civil War-era museum in Fayetteville. The annual event is usually an open house inside the museum but plans have been altered this year because of the pandemic.

This year’s event will enable visitors to view the activity from inside their cars as a choir of living historians and Heritage School students in mid-19th century attire sing Christmas carols. Performances will begin on the quarter hour and will last for about 10 minutes. Father Christmas will also be present to pass out covid-safe goodies to visitors.

WHEN — 2-4 p.m. Dec. 6

WHERE — Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson St.

COST — Free


INFO — 521-2970 or email,



Fort Smith Symphony:

‘Tis The Season

Holiday favorites including “A Christmas Festival,” “Nutcracker,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Greensleeves,” “Sheep May Safely Graze” and more.

WHEN — 5 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5

WHERE — ArcBest Performing Arts Center at 55 S. 7th St.

COST — $20-$50


‘The Nutcracker’

Western Arkansas Ballet’s 35th annual production of the holiday classic.

WHEN — 7 p.m. Dec. 11, 2 & 7 p.m. Dec. 13

WHERE — ArcBest Performing Arts Center at 55 S. 7th St.

COST — $15-$25

INFO — 785-0152,



Virtual Art on the Bricks

“The Art of Giving” is the theme for the Downtown Rogers holiday Art on the Bricks virtual art walk. The public is invited to show their support for the local creative economy by viewing, liking, sharing and purchasing original art from talented artists and craftsmen from across Northwest Arkansas and adjacent areas.

WHEN — Through Dec. 24


COST — Free; art for sale


DTR Holiday Market

The Farmers Market in Downtown Rogers will transition to a holiday market featuring vendors selling their winter crops, holiday treats, handmade crafts and gifts on select Saturdays in November and December.

WHEN — 12-5 p.m. Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 12

WHERE — 120 W. Poplar St.

COST — Free


Virtual Visit With Santa

WHEN — Through Jan 7

WHERE — Pinnacle Hills Promenade via

COST — $24.95 and up, depending on package


Victory Film Series

With live programming on hold for the rest of the year, Arkansas Public Theatre continues its film series with a little something for everyone. Each film chosen is tied to a significant date or reason for the showing and will feature a specialty cocktail available for purchase at the concession stand.

“Frozen” — 3 p.m. Nov. 27

“Trolls: World Tour” — 3 p.m. Nov. 28

“Saving Mr. Banks” — 7 p.m. Dec. 5

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — 7 p.m. Dec. 11

“White Christmas” — 3 p.m. Dec. 12

“Krampus” — 7 p.m. Dec. 18

“Scrooged” — 7 p.m. Dec. 19

WHERE — 116 S. Second St.

COST — $10

INFO — 631-8988,

‘A Victorian Culinary Christmas’

Slip away into the past and experience a re-creation of some of the Christmas culinary traditions of yesterday in the Rogers Historical Museum’s new exhibit, “A Victorian Culinary Christmas,” on display at the historic Hawkins House. Guided tours of limited group size offered through Jan. 2.

WHEN — Dec. 5-Jan. 2; Hawkins House hours 10 a.m.-4p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

WHERE —322 S. Second St.

COST — Free




Holiday Express

The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad welcomes guests aboard for the Holiday Express and Pajama Train. One-hour round trips from Van Buren to Rudy, and from Springdale to Johnson feature holiday-themed train cars with on-board caroling and letters to Santa. The big man himself will be at the depot for socially distanced visits. Hot chocolate and cookies are served after each train ride. Times vary; multiple trips per day.

WHEN — Nov. 27-29, Dec. 5-6, 12, 19

WHERE — Springdale depot, 305 E. Emma Ave.; Van Buren depot, 813 Main St.

COST — $5-$40


Christmas on the Creek

With live music and entertainment, letters to Santa, a holiday market, tree lighting and more.

WHEN — Noon-6:30 p.m. Nov. 28

WHERE — Downtown Springdale

COST — Free


Cycling Santas

Family-friendly bike ride through Downtown Springdale, open to all ages who can complete a 5-mile bike ride at a steady pace. Led by guides from 37 North Expeditions, groups will make surprise and festive stops along the way for holiday treats. Groups limited to 15 riders each, 90 riders total for the event. Costumes and bike decor highly encouraged! Fundraiser for Downtown Springdale Alliance.

WHEN — 1-4:30 p.m. Nov. 28

WHERE — Depart from Shiloh Square, 106 W. Emma Ave.

COST — $20-$50


Parade of the Ozarks

The annual Parade of the Ozarks departs from the Rodeo of the Ozarks grounds in Springdale at 6 p.m. sharp Nov. 28 to make its way down Emma Avenue, just as it has done for the last 23 years.

The deadline to submit an entry for the parade is Nov. 25.

WHEN — 6 p.m. Nov. 28

WHERE — Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale

COST — Free


Parade of Trees

With a little ingenuity, a bunch of community spirit and a truckload of trees from Wisconsin, Springdale hosts this inaugural tree-decorating event. Trees are installed Nov. 23-24 and can be decorated Nov. 27-29.

WHEN — Nov. 29-Dec. 28

WHERE — Downtown Springdale

COST — $75-$500 to sponsor and decorate a tree; free to view





All venues and events will be following state-mandated rules for coronavirus mitigation, but some organizations have stricter measures in place. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with each location’s protocols before attending.


Please send holiday events to Jocelyn Murphy, What’s Up! associate editor, at

Categories: 'Tis the Season