ArtRageous Parade kicks off May Festival of the Arts

The Eureka Springs School of the Arts hosted its annual ArtRageous Parade on Saturday, May 4, and it was generally recognized as being larger than the 2023 affair but not quite as robust in participation as it was pre-pandemic.

The parade, which kicks off the May Festival of the Arts, featured adult and kid creators of all ages. It started in front of the Carnegie Public Library and wound along Spring Street and through downtown. Some participants walked and some rode on decorated floats, though all were expressive in their attire.

Homemade costumes ruled the day with crocheted creations, colored wigs, balloons, hand-held signs, at least one Star Wars figure (“May the fourth be with you”) and one reveler who wore a boxy bodysuit, headpiece with mask and oversized shoes made entirely from cardboard. The person inside flapped his feet to the beat of a drumming ensemble that marched close behind.

Local cottage mystery series author Jane “The Husband Always Dies” Elzey took the opportunity to promote her books. She steered her black Volkswagen convertible through the streets with what seemed to be a body bag in back, feet sticking up in the air. She and a passenger threw out small packets marked “blooming seed bombs” that encouraged bystanders to “bury their mistakes.”

A group of tiki torch-loving Mrs. Ropers bedecked in curly red wigs and colorful caftans rode and marched together paying homage to their patron saint, Helen Roper (played in real life by Audra Lindley in the catchy ’70s comedy “Three’s Company”). A national resurgence of the wellknown lady landlord has caught on in Eureka Springs with the local Mrs. Ropers seemingly growing with each gathering.

Proprietors of the popular downtown hobby shop KaleidoKites had to look no farther than the store’s shelves to find float décor. Images in fly-worthy material included those of “American Gothic” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

The Democratic Party of Carroll County was represented by an oversized blue paper mâché donkey on the back of a truck. Guest riders and walkers passed out tiny paintbrushes with messages of “Paint Arkansas blue.”

The Brews crew carried a banner encouraging folks to “Take part make art” created by barista and artist Leon Willis and patrons of the establishment. Brews’ John Rankine said he recycled old corrugated election signs for customers to decorate and carry in the parade.