Rebel, Rebel: Four Ideas for Visit to Hot Springs This Weekend

Events / Travel
Racing fans enjoy at day at Oaklawn Park, and Ashley Hill has a handful of suggestions for enjoying Hot Springs once the day’s races are over. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The $900,000, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes will be held on March 17 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., with the Road to the Kentucky Derby points race anchoring a great day of racing. The Rebel serves as both a prep race for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and the final local steppingstone to the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 14.

Three years ago, American Pharoah kicked off his Triple Crown-winning season in the Rebel, and every year the race helps showcase the magic of the city of Hot Springs. Below are four suggestions for fans traveling to Arkansas this weekend to catch the Rebel Stakes.

World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade

David Yerby photo

The Rebel Stakes falls on the same day as St. Patrick’s Day and, of course, the 15th Annual Hot Springs World Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Wacky, doesn’t even begin to describe this insane little parade, complete with green beer, beads, and inflatable beer gardens. Close to 30,000 people will pack themselves around 98-foot long Bridge Street in beautiful downtown Hot Springs.

The parade boasts quite a lineup: the World Famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Joey Fatone of NSYNC, “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon Heder, and a performance by Grand Funk Railroad.

You do not want to miss this wild parade after the Rebel Stakes ends! The parade festivities begin March 16 with the official parade scheduled for March 17 at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Learn more about the parade at:

Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival

Gus Unger Hamilton of Alt-J DJs at 2016 VOV (Aaron Brewer photo)

The 14th Annual Valley of the Vapors from March 16-20 is a music and arts festival that showcases bands from all over the world from diverse genres. This year’s festival boasts more than 40 acts, including Larkin Poe (Atlanta, Ga.), Fenster (Berlin, Germany), Mauno (Halifax, Nova Scotia), ROAR! (New Orleans, La.) and many more!

Free workshops, like collage making and street photography, are available. Secret Shows, where the location a band plays is announced the day of, and park shows will be held daily downtown! This five days of music and art is a must see when in town for the Rebel. 

Learn more about VOV and get your pass now at:

Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival 

Hot Springs is home to Arkansas Shorts (a night of short film), the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and now the Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival.

Presented by the Hot Springs Arts & Film Institute, the festival celebrates women filmmakers and artists both locally and around the globe. The Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival was created to showcase the diverse stories of women from around the world. Come see for yourself March 16-17, right inside the historic Central Theatre in downtown Hot Springs. 

View the film schedule and find tickets at:

Rock Candy Rebel

Photo by Ashley Hill

Top off your Hot Springs visit with the Rock Candy Rebel drink at The Avenue, inside The Waters Hotel downtown. Dragon Berry rum, a hint of pomegranate, and of course a stick of rock candy make this mix the perfect St. Patrick’s Day-Rebel Stakes concoction to end your evening in Hot Springs. 

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