Forward Fest to present an array of events


Forward Fest 2022 will feature more than food and live entertainment. A car show, fishing derby, baking and art contest will be among the festival activities on May 14 at various locations in Pine Bluff. The festival will end with a concert at the amphitheater in the regional park.

This year’s event is free and has been revamped by organizers as a festival with all-inclusive activities for the whole family, according to a press release.

“Pine Bluff Forward Fest is enjoyed by our residents and strengthens the tourism, hospitality, food and creative industries,” said Ryan Watley, CEO of Go Forward Pine Bluff. “I’m thrilled that we can bring iconic music and food to the community, along with many other fun and family-friendly events.”

Forward Fest is made possible by Go Forward Pine Bluff, MK Distributors, Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation and the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

“This year’s event is more than music and food. We have something for everyone,” said Tavante Calhoun, GFPB Quality of Life Chair. “It’s the most inclusive festival we’ve had.”

All winners of the festival events will receive a prize through Pine Bluff’s Publicity and Promotion Commission and MK Distributors.

“It will be a weekend to remember and for all to enjoy,” Calhoun said. “Come enjoy a day to celebrate the Delta at Forward Fest 2022.”


11 a.m. – This year’s festival includes the Divine 9 Kickball Tournament at Townsend Park. The organizers create a kickball league and make the tournament an annual event.

11:00 a.m. – The Rhythm Rivers Scenes of the South Art Competition will take place in the regional park, featuring artists of all ages from across the Arkansas Delta region. Artists will bring their completed artwork to the contest by 11 a.m. Judges will select the winners at 4 p.m.

1:30 p.m. — The Four of the South Bake-off contest will take place in the regional park, giving bakers of all ages a chance to show off their skills.

2:00-5:00 p.m. – The Forward Fest Car Show returns to Harbor Oaks, located in the regional park, showcasing the “best of the best” in cars and motorcycles.

Start at 6:30 a.m. — The Down in the Delta Fishing Derby will take place at Lake Saracen and is open to all ages, with cash prizes being awarded for winning catches. The opportunity to nab and submit a tag for a cash prize will extend beyond May 14 and is open until all tags are gone. Tags will need to be removed from the fish and returned to the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation office during normal business hours to collect cash prizes.

Starting at 7 a.m. – There will be a rash of bass and Arkansas catfish in the regional park. This two-in-one competition event will have winners for both bass and catfish with cash prizes for the winners.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – For women ages 18 and older who want to learn to fish, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department, is hosting Fishing 101 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Starting at 6 p.m. — To complete the day of celebration, there will be music at the Regional Park Amphitheater. This show will feature the PC Band, the Hamiltones, Ana Popovic, Keke Wyatt and Grammy Award-winning legend Bobby Rush as headliners.

Vendors offering specialty items will be present as well as food vendors serving everything from funnel cakes to barbecue. A $5 fee will be applied for parking and security. Participants are advised to bring garden chairs to sit on.

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