Paris springs into fun with the fifth Springtime in Paris Festival

Alex Gladden
Fort Smith Times Record
Ryker Hayden leads a group of car show entrants around the driving course, Saturday, May 1, drawn out at the Springtime in Paris Festival on the square at the Logan County Courthouse. Ryker's farm market tractor claimed the top award in the 4-8 year group. Ryker is the 4-year-old son of Brittany and Josh Robberson and Chris Hayden.

Children scream with glee inside the colorful bounce around. One small girl counts her bounces, "one, two, three, four, five," to the little boy at her side. 

Outside the bounce around, the sun is shining, and smiles can be seen all around. 

People walk from tent to tent, stopping to get shaved ice and funnel cakes. Kids sit patiently still while they are getting their faces painted. 

The tents sell wind chimes made of silverware and T-shirts with Dolly Parton's face on them. At the tents, people can buy jam or learn about the Republican Party or chat with the sheriff. 

Emberly Reed shows off her car show trophy awarded Saturday, May 1, at the Springtime In Paris Festival in Paris. Emberly is the 4-year-old daughter of Aleacha Taylor and Mason Reed.
The Springtime In Paris Festival, Saturday, May 1, on the square in Paris.
The Springtime In Paris Festival, Saturday, May 1, on the square in Paris.

All day Saturday, the town of Paris came together to celebrate spring with the fifth annual Springtime in Paris Festival.

Throughout the day, the festival played host to a plethora of events including a prayer walk, a children's bicycle competition and the Miss Paris Pageant.

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of this festival was lost on those who attended. It was good old-fashioned Americana at its best.

“It’s a perfect day for this," Mini Taber said as she walked around the festival. 

Taber attended the festival with her kids and grandchildren just hoping for some good old-fashioned family quality time. 

Mary Reid sat comfortably in the shade as she watched people peer through her tent filled with handmade jewelry, quilts, and spoons that she crafted into wind chimes. Reid has been making items like these for 40 years. 

"Makes a little money on the side, keeps my hands occupied," Reid said about why she continued her trade. 

Logan County Sheriff Chief Deputy Joshua John Scott, left, and Sheriff Jason Massey, let Easton Edward play with a set of handcuffs at the Logan County Sheriff booth, Saturday, May 1, during the Springtime in Paris Festival around the county courthouse square in Paris. Easton is the 6-year-old son of Sarah and Jeremy Edward.

Sheriff Jason Massey and Garrett Moore, a sergeant at the Logan County Detention Center, handed out candy and stickers from their tent advertising the sheriff's office. 

“Mainly we’re trying to focus on kids," Massey said. 

Moore said they were there to show community support. 

At the Logan County Republicans' tent, Chairwoman Karen Rogers worked to register voters and to inform them about the Republican platform. 

Shawna Stengel and Carla Engel sat at the Main Street Paris tent trying to raise money for a town splash pad. Stengel is the director of the organization, and Engel is the board president. The group was selling cookbooks and partnerships to Main Street Paris to fundraise. 

The partnerships sold for $25 to an individual and $40 to families. Partners to Main Street Paris receive monthly newsletters about the group and are the first to be offered any item that the organization is selling, Engel said. 

“They’ll be the first to know what’s going on," Engel said. 

The event grew out of the Butterfly Festival that Paris had annually for 20 years, said Tonya Fletcher, executive director of the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce. Fletcher organized the festival.

The Springtime In Paris Festival, May 1, on the square at the Logan County Courthouse in Paris.

Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said the festival is an opportunity for people to see the beauty of downtown Paris.

“Every chance we get we like to show off our downtown," Rogers said.

Fletcher said that it offers the town a better quality of life to have events like the festival. 

“I think that it gets people out and about and downtown and creates a good quality of life opportunities for our young families and the young at heart," Fletcher said.

Sunny the Sunflower, left, greets guests to the Springtime In Paris Festival at the Main Street Paris booth set up on the square, Saturday, May 1, at the Logan County Courthouse.