Families, vendors, bands and people of all ages came out to experience the third First Friday of the season in Bentonville.
Local Jason Jackson said he has been coming to First Fridays for years, and he’s never seen a turnout like the today’s (May 2).
“This is just a great town to be in, and it’s a good time coming out and seeing each other and seeing friends and neighbors, so it’s just a really good time,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he and his daughter try to come to every First Friday so she can ride the ponies.
“I rode the one with the green and purple,” his daughter said.
Pony rides were one of many attractions on Bentonville Square Friday night. There were also vendors selling crafts, balloon animal artists, face painting for the kids and plenty of local music.
Samantha Hawley said she attended several First Fridays last year, and Friday’s attendance doesn’t compare.
“This is the fullest I’ve ever seen it…it was so crazy I had to park three blocks away,” Hawley said.
Bentonville’s First Fridays start in March and run through November.
Organizers said every month they try to have a different theme. Last month’s theme was International Street Fair, and this month’s theme was Art and Nature.
Maria Vukin volunteers her time at the festival to help kids make crafts out of rocks, sticks, acorns and other treasures they may find in their backyard.
She said this month’s theme worked perfectly with Friday’s weather.
“We’re pulling everybody outside again,” Vukin said, “And there’s so much research out there now about how green space is good for our mental health, and in a sense going green helps us stay healthy.”
Organizers said next month’s theme will be Art and Culinary, showcasing thirty local artists.