The Arkansas Festival and Events Association (AFEA) announced the award recipients for the year 2020, of which, two Sharp County festivals were recipients.  The announcement was made recently during the Association’s 37th annual conference held online earlier this month.  Both the Cave City Watermelon Festival, held in Cave City and the Arkansas Pie Festival, held in Cherokee Village were recognized.

“In the very different event landscape of 2020, the AFEA reevaluated and adjusted award levels in order to better serve the festivals & events of Arkansas this year,” AFEA Executive Director, Jenna Friday said. “AFEA Awards annually honor the best and brightest of Arkansas’s festivals and special events.”

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many festivals across the state were canceled in 2020. This included the Arkansas Pie Festival which called off the event weeks prior to its scheduled date, and the Cave City Watermelon Festival, which was forced to call off the event just days before it was slated to happen.

The winner of the Best Food Themed event was the Arkansas Pie Festival. This award is presented to a festival or special event which stands out in its elevation of food or a food-related theme. This is not the first time the Arkansas Pie Festival has been recognized.

The Cave City Watermelon Festival was chosen as the Most Missed Festival of the Year. This award was determined by a vote of the public.

Other festivals and events which received awards include:

“2020 Pivot Award

This award was designed to recognize and honor those exhibiting an exceptional job in pivoting and adjusting their events in order to accommodate safer attendance and participation. These events executed creativity in delivering a quality, publicly conscience event for their community.

Toad Suck Daze located in Conway and the Delta Arts Festival located in Newport were both recipients.

Best Virtual Event

A first time award for AFEA to bestow, the winner of this category showed excellence in the production and delivery of an online event during 2020, providing an interactive viewing experience for attendees in place of an in person event.

Yadaloo Music & Arts Festival was deemed the winner.

Vendor of the Year

Vendors of the Year are examples of exemplary and reliable services provided by industry businesses that contribute to the overall success of an event.

Rock City Outfitters was the winner.

Most Unique Festival or Event

This award is presented to a festival or event that exhibits uniqueness as it stand out above all others in its theme, activities, and execution.

The winner was World Championship Cardboard Boat Races, Heber Springs.

Best Children’s Program

This award recognizes a festival or event exhibiting excellence in providing a fun, safe, and quality space for children to enjoy.

The winner was Toad Suck Daze in Conway.

Promotional Video

The winner was Yadaloo Music & Arts Festival.


The winner was the Beatles at the Ridge, Walnut Ridge.

Event Photo

The winner was the Arts & The Park, Hot Springs.”

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Lauren is a an award-winning journalist who decided after 10 years of newspaper experience to venture out. Hallmark Times was born.