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Fun things to do in the South

Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

A curated list of the best upcoming events in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.


Mountain Rendezvous

FREE! November 24–25 Reenactors bring the frontier era to life and demonstrate the survival skills early Arkansans needed. As you wander around the encampment and talk with the living historians, you can see such activities as muzzle loading and tomahawk throwing. Petit Jean State Park, Morrilton.

19th Ever Nog-Off

FREE! December 8 Sample eggnog entries in this annual holiday competition at the Historic Arkansas Museum and then vote for the People’s Choice Award and several other categories. The event is part of 2nd Friday Art Night, a monthly celebration of art and culture with museums and galleries opening their doors after hours on the second Friday of every month. Little Rock.

Ozark Mountain Music Festival

January 18–21 OzMoMu, as it’s known, brings the vibe of an outdoor music festival indoors. This 4-day festival headquartered at the historic Basin Park Hotel boasts multiple stages featuring American roots and modern folk artists. Four-day all-access passes, available now, are $130. Day passes sold closer to the event range from $15 to $60. Eureka Springs.

El Dorado Film Festival

February 8–11 The South Arkansas Arts Center becomes a winter hot spot for independent filmmakers when they gather at this annual festival. Curated films in several categories are screened; some films will be paired with optional filmmaker workshops. Day pass $15, weekend pass $25, VIP pass $100. El Dorado.

The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade

FREE! March 17 The First Ever 21st Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held on Hot Springs’ 98-foot-long Bridge Street. More than 40 parade units include wacky floats, marching bands, a troupe of Elvis impersonators, and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Pre- and post-parade activities include concerts and a Blarney Stone–kissing contest. Hot Springs.


Holiday Home Tour

December 17 Get into the holiday spirit on this tour of several French Quarter homes dressed for the season. Presented by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré, which is dedicated to preserving and beautifying the French Quarter, the self-guided walking tour showcases several architectural styles and takes place from noon to 4 p.m.; the day of merriment concludes with caroling in Jackson Square from 7 to 8 p.m. Home tours are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the event; the candlelight sing-along is free. New Orleans.

Bayou King Cake Festival

January 27 Sample a variety of Mardi Gras’ signature king cakes made by local bakers. Vote for your favorite and enjoy other fun activities, including the Krewe of King Cake Children's Parade and live music. The festivities are hosted by the Lafourche Education Foundation. Tickets are $10, which buys 5 tastings and 1 vote. Additional tastings are $1. Thibodaux.

Krewe of Tchefuncte 2024 Mardi Gras Boat Parade

FREE! February 3 Revel in the excitement of this annual parade of boats on the Tchefuncte River from 1 to 3 p.m. Always held 2 weekends prior to Mardi Gras Day, which is February 13 this year, the parade features decorated boats with costumed passengers who’ll toss beads and other trinkets to those who gather on the riverbank. Madisonville.

Arts Evening

FREE! March 2 One of the largest cultural festivals on the Louisiana Northshore, this celebration of art is marking its 30th anniversary this year. From 5 to 9 p.m., around 100 artists display their works at various locations around Old Towne, with live music providing a soundtrack as people stroll around. Fine and casual dining options are available in the area. Slidell.


Victorian Candlelit Christmas

FREE! December 9–10 The glow of 18,000 white paper bags with flickering candles inside will illuminate the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood and downtown district from 5 to 9 p.m. each night. Admire more than 300 homes and businesses decorated for the holidays with greenery and twinkling lights. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides ($10), food trucks, and holiday home tours ($10). Hattiesburg.

14th Annual Clarksdale Film & Music Festival

January 26–28 The birthplace of the blues celebrates Mississippi’s blues heritage through its music and film during 3 days of film screenings and pop-up blues concerts. Featured films include blues documentaries and some with connections to Mississippi. Tickets $5, festival pass $10. Clarksdale.

Krewe of Saint Catherine Parade & Block Party

FREE! February 2 At this hometown celebration, family-friendly krewes will walk and strut the 4-block parade route to its finale—a block party. Parade entries must be “human-powered,” so there will be no floats or vehicles, creating more intimate festivities. The block party near the Hattiesburg Community Arts Center will feature music, with food available for purchase. The parade steps off at 7 p.m. Hattiesburg.

Second Saturday Artwalk

FREE! February 10 Old Town Bay St. Louis is always lively, but during the artwalk, gallery openings and live music add local buzz. Stop in at area restaurants for dinner before or after perusing the galleries, many of which offer deals on their artworks. Join the fun from 4 to 7 p.m. Bay St. Louis.

Spring Art Festival

FREE! March 23–24 Always held over the last weekend in March, this celebration of art is set among historic live oaks in downtown Ocean Springs. Peruse crafts and artworks from nearly 200 vendors. Live music and artist demonstrations add even more appeal. Ocean Springs.

FREE! indicates free admission to the event, but additional fees may be required. Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.

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