Walmart 50th Anniversary Brings Big Names
Walmart marked its 50th anniversary at the downtown Bentonville square Saturday, celebrating the community and Sam Walton’s tradition.
American Idol winner and Arkansan Kris Allen hit the main stage in front of Walmart’s Visitor Center.
Allen sang his popular song “Live Like We’re Dying.”
Also, about 150 Walmart retirees were honored with a brunch and had front row seats to the main stage.
Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN college football analyst, was there taking pictures with fans. He was promoting Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial and other assistance to members of the military and their families.
“I like watching him on College Game Day, probably go over there and get his autograph,” said Dillon Smith, 17, who was there in the crowd.
Herbstreit said he’s visited Fayetteville before and enjoys experiencing the Razorback fever.
“Love the fans, love how rabid and how much they love the Razorbacks, but I’ve never been to Bentonville. This is the first time I’ve been here and I’ve really been blown away by how nice this area is,” Kirk Herbstreit said.
The Bentonville square was full of fun and games, including hula hooping and pony rides.
“It’s exciting, something different for people around here to do and get out on the weekends and celebrate what made Bentonville so famous,” said resident Chaney Youngblood.
Walmart CEO Mike Duke addressed the audience packed on the square.
“This is an opportunity that we will only have once in a lifetime to be with the CEO’s of Walmart in little Bentonville.” said Christy Youngblood, who was visiting from Jay, Okla.
Sam Walton’s tradition was to celebrate with a moon pie eating contest and free watermelons.
“Sam being the promotional guy that he was had watermelons. He had stacked up watermelons and was giving watermelons away,” said Allen Dranow, senior director for heritage and associate marketing at Walmart.
“For the next 50 years we’re looking forward more growth online,” Dranow said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was at the company’s saturday monthly meeting that took place before the celebration at the square.
Walmart has more than 10,000 stores and 2.2 million associates worldwide.