Esperanza Bonanza Festival returns for 26th year

Esperanza Bonanza Festival returns for 26th year

Festival set for May 9- 12 in Marion The Esperanza Bonanza Festival, celebrated in May every year, is a three-day rain-orshine event featuring live music, the backyard barbecue competition, steak cook-off, rodeo, carnival, adult and children's games, and much, much more.

There is truly something for everyone in the family. The festival usually draws more than 15,000 people each year.

The event started in 1992, as a small group of local businesses getting together to cook barbecue. Many of those that participated in the first Esperanza Bonanza are still involved in the planning and organization as board members or committee chairpersons.

The name “Esperanza Bonanza” pays tribute to Marion's heritage as the site of Fort Esperanza, the first European settlement in what is now Crittenden County. It was chosen as the winning entry in a “name the festival” contest.

Esperanza Bonanza is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that is responsible for planning and organizing the yearly festival. In addition to the festival, Esperanza Bonanza also gives back to the community and local charities, causes, and projects through scholarships and other endowments.

Originally held on Block Street in the middle of town, in recent years, the event has moved to the Marion Sports Complex, 3820 Complex Rd., with shuttle service from the parking lot at Marion High School and Marion Junior High School.

Admission into the Esperanza Bonanza festival is: $3.00 on Wednesday, $5.00 on Thursday, $8.00 on Friday, and $10.00 on Saturday, and does not include carnival rides, which are available via ticket or wristband purchase once inside the festival.

By the Evening Times News Staff