CabotFest has its beginnings in "Cabot! We’re Back," a three-day event in 1978 held to remember those killed in the 1976 tornado and to celebrate the city’s recovery. Today, it is but a single day, but it is a busy day that still celebrates the vitality of the community, Chamber of Commerce executive director Kelly Coughlin said. CabotFest is sponsored by the Cabot Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber had a strong influence in the re-building of the city.
"On Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., downtown Cabot will come alive with the sights and sounds of the 35th CabotFest," she said.
Though the remembrance is of the events of March 29, 1976, the event was moved to be closer to the annual Homecoming, and is now held on the second Saturday in October.
CabotFest has grown tremendously throughout the years into a widely popular event, known as one of Arkansas’ premier festivals. The Cabot Chamber continues to sponsor the much-anticipated day that brings thousands to downtown Cabot to enjoy a day of fun, food and entertainment for the entire family, Coughlin said.
CabotFest remains a family-style festival that brings thousands to the city for a day of family fun, food, shopping, bingo, kid games and lots of entertainment that features many hometown entertainers, Coughlin said.
This year’s CabotFest begins before dawn with the annual Lions Club Breakfast and, later, the 5K run even before the opening events at 9 a.m.
A variety of Central Arkansas entertainers will provide entertainment throughout the day.
The stage has been moved so people can bring lawn chairs and spend all day listening to entertainment.
This year are The Shannon Boshears Band, Big Shane Thornton, Ment 2B, Travis Caudell & Wild Aces and the anticipated Cody Belew.
New this year will be a Zip Line.
There will be a kids zone featuring giant inflatable bounce houses, a sand pit, a wide variety of food booths, bingo, a large carnival, classic car show, Mobile Pet Adoption by the Cabot Animal Shelter, rock climbing wall and cricket spitting.
Significant time and effort goes into putting on an event of this magnitude. The 2013 CabotFest Committee is headed by Damon Bivins, Centennial Bank’s business development director for the Cabot region including Jacksonville, Beebe, Searcy and Heber Springs.
Damon succeeded longtime CabotFest chairman Bill O’Brien, who retired from the committee position.
For CabotFest committee members, the planning, managing and directing begins the day after the last CabotFest, with each year’s committee striving to make the next CabotFest the best one.