Smackover Oil Town Festival

East 10th Street and South Broadway Street
Smackover, AR 71762


A 'Bit' of Oil Town Festival History

The first Oil Town Festival was sponsored by Smackover Chamber of Commerce and The Lions' Club, and was held in 1971 to celebrate the oil field discovery well, the Richardson No. 1. It was held in Kennedy Park, located in downtown Smackover. The park sits on what was once Dr. Charles Kennedy's office, and the roof of the pavilion located in the park was taken from the porch of the house where the office was located. The celebration was marked by a cake walk, one radio station on remote, and a street dance.

Over the years, the festival, now hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, has grown in size and events, and has changed locations in order to accommodate them. Now held in Tennyson Park, the festival has a family friendly atmosphere and features various contests, such as Watermelon Eating, Tug-O-War, Horseshoe Throwing, as well as the old favorites: Drill Bit Toss, Rod Wrenching, and Pipe Tote contests which demonstrate the skills needed for oil field work. Tournaments for our 45th annual festival feature the Bunco tournament, Oil Ball 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, and Arm Wrestling. Races include the popular 5K Oil-Run, begun by Smackover State Bank in 1978, the turtle race, and the World Famous Duck Race. We are not exactly sure how it became world-famous, but it is great fun to watch, in anticipation, as your duck races down No Name Creek toward race founder, Jerry Langley, who personally retrieves the winning ducks from the water. Even the last duck wins a prize in this race.

To add to the festive, happy atmosphere, Oil Town features free musical entertainment each night from Tennyson Park's amphitheater. The J T Stocks Gospel Night always kicks off the concerts and has featured local church talent as well as big name Gospel groups such as The Martins and The Isaacs. Friday and Saturday nights feature up and coming bands from around our area and state, and have recently been host to Jason D. Williams and Frank Foster.

Arts & Craft vendors come from all over to feature their handy work and sell their goods. Grill teams come from far and near to show off their skills in the Rib Cook-Off.

Locally, Smackover Merchants gather together to give away great prizes in our Merchant Drawings. The City of Smackover gets involved with much pre-festival preparation in the city and park, and helps with security and sanitation. It truly is a community event.

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