Paris to celebrate springtime for fifth year

Alex Gladden
Fort Smith Times Record
The city of Paris will hold its fifth Springtime in Paris Saturday, May 1.

The Paris Square will play host to a plethora of events Saturday as part of the Springtime in Paris Festival.

The event, which grew out of the Butterfly Festival that Paris had annually for 20 years, is being celebrated for the fifth year, said Tonya Fletcher, executive director of the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce. Fletcher organizes the festival.

Fletcher expects to have at least 1,000 people attend the festival. In years past, approximately 5,000 people have attended. But Fletcher said she is not sure exactly how many people will go because of the COVID pandemic.

Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the area, and Fletcher is encouraging everyone to wear masks.

“Hopefully everybody’s comfortable getting back out again," Fletcher said.

Parts of the festival will be different because of the pandemic. It will not have pony rides, a petting zoo or carnival games like it typically does. There will still be a bounce around for the kids.

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.

The event will start at 10 a.m. with a prayer walk, Fletcher added.

The festival will feature craft and food vendors throughout.

It will also have a children's bicycle competition. Kids can choose to decorate their bikes. They will ride the bikes through town, and judges will pick the top three children in the three age groups. The age groups are 0-3, 4-9 and 10-13. First-, second-, and third-place winners will receive trophies. Besides bicycles, the kids can also ride power wheels and scooters.

The festival will end with a cruise around town from 4-6 p.m., where families can drive throughout the city in their cars.

Miss Paris Pageant

Girls will have the opportunity to compete in the Miss Paris Pageant as part of the festival. There are seven different age groups, and each age group will have a winner. Girls ages 0 to 19 can participate. The younger girls' pageant will occur at 2 p.m., while the older girls' pageant will occur at 4 p.m. The pageant will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 15 S. Spruce St.