by David Koon
Hot Springs is known for being a little off-kilter when it comes to their community get-togethers and festivals (witness their annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade). This time next year, they'll have another weird feather in their... um, cap: the first annual Hats in Hot Springs Festival, scheduled for June 1-2, 2012 in Hill Wheatley Plaza on Central Ave. Admission is free. In short, it'll be a celebration of chapeaux of all shapes and sizes.
Planning is just getting started, but we can imagine it will include games, music, vendors, carnival-style eats and lots of outrageous headgear. Ladies and gentlemen, start warming up your glue guns. You've got a little less than a year to wow us.
Press release on the jump...
Chapeaux Aplenty! First Ever Hats in Hot Springs
Festival Scheduled for June 1 — 2, 2012
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — It’s not known if Dr. Seuss’ immortal Bartholomew Cubbins will be there, but the first ever Hats In Hot Springs festival will be held in the Spa City the weekend of June 1 - 2, 2012.
Cubbins famously had 500 hats, but participants will need only one to participate in the two-day event in Hill Wheatley Plaza.
“We have a full year to get the whole city involved in this fun new event,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is organizing it. “We hope all segments of the community will get involved and join in the celebration of Hats In Hot Springs. We want everyone involved for this two-day celebration.” Arrison said the hat fest would be held in the same atmosphere of fun and outrageousness that inspired the now-world-famous World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “We are going to ask the City Board to place their tongues firmly in cheek and rename the city ‘Hat Springs’ for this weekend.”
Chrissy Egleston, special events coordinator for the CVB, said, the event will be free to everyone wearing a hat.
“Vendors will be on hand to sell hats to those unfortunate souls who do not have a topper,” Egleston said. “There will be food and refreshment vendors, hat vendors and craft vendors.”
“We tried to get Princess Beatrice's hat for this event off e-Bay but we had to drop out of the bidding at $32,” Arrison said, referring to the ridiculous pretzel-and-hubcap hat worn by Duchess Sarah Ferguson’s daughter at the royal wedding in London last month. The hat eventually sold for $131,000.
“We think Hats In Hot Springs has the potential to someday rival our St. Patrick's Day festivities if we can get everyone to join in the fun,” said Larry DeWitt, chairman of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission.
Arrison said everyone in the city will be encouraged to wear a hat during the weekend. Business owners will be encouraged to outfit their employees with hats during Hats In Hot Springs. Famous hats and hats of famous persons will be on display at various points around the city during the celebration.
The two-day event will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 1, with live entertainment and preliminary “hat happenings,” Arrison said. Judges will determine the winning hats in hat competitions including Most Glamorous, Most Outrageous, Most Original, Best Man’s Hat, and more. There will be an Arkansas Hat Toss Championship. The opening event will include a group photo of all of the attendees in Hill Wheatley Plaza wearing the chapeau of their choice.
The event will continue on Saturday, June 2, at 11:30 a.m. There will be musical entertainment, followed by zany competitions and other entertainment leading up to the Hat Dance at 7:30 p.m. The Hat Dance will be a fun dancing event for all ages, which will also include the announcing of the winners from the various games and hat competitions. The event will conclude at 10:30 p.m.
All the activities (except the vendors’ booths) will be free, Arrison said.
“We will not be estimating the size of the crowd,” Arrison said. “We want a hat for every head and a head for every hat.”
For information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.