NWA is and is not a lot of things. We are a community that likes to celebrate things, we love welcoming company to our table and we love embracing different cultures. What we are NOT is a community lacking in opinions and very little polarizes us quite like the annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally each fall.
There is so much that can be said about BBBBQ. Some love it, some hate it and others just prefer to clear out until it’s over. But what you can’t do is ignore it. The rumble seems to start earlier every year as more people opt to get here early and spend the entire week with us. As the days roll on towards the official start date it’s hard to go a spare minute without the sound as a forced film score to your life. Traffic starts to get thick and parking downtown pushes further and further out as the streets get blocked for vendors. Just as some residents opt to pack up and leave town, many local businesses follow suit. I, for one, subconsciously associate the rumble with the beginning of fall.
Labor Day in Northwest Arkansas can conger up many images in one’s mind. The first thing that I think of is color, vibrant color. The second is sound; a dense cacophony of music, laughter and maybe even screams of delight. Third are the smells of food cooking, wet pavement, fresh air and the green smell of grass. These, to me, are the ingredients for the perfect Labor Day weekend.
In 1985 Fayetteville Arkansas had a population of around 37,000. Most roads west of I-540 were dirt (I-540 is now I-49). There were a couple of Walmarts that didn’t even have groceries back then and going Rogers or Bentonville was like going to the far side of the universe (not to mention there really wasn’t much of a reason to).
Northwest Arkansas is basically a greater metropolitan area that includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and the surrounding areas. People commute daily to and from for work, shopping, appointments and leisure. We are showing up on national lists as the best places to live, work and start a business.
With all of this moving and grooving going on I want to share my townie experience. It’s easy to get lost in the throng of all of the shiny new corporate facades (irony of photo not lost here), so I want to chronicle my day to day and then some. I want to share with anyone who would care to listen what it is that makes this place pretty great from the grass roots all the way up to some of the *shiny*.
There will be more to come so please like and share. Feel free to let me know what you’re NWA is too by dropping a line.