Eureka! Kick back and enjoy

Diversity Weekends always include a “Public Display of Affection” event in Eureka Springs’ Basin Spring Park. Photo provided.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

“Eureka Springs is very unique, very open, very accepting,” says resident Jay Wilks. The city is planning its first of three Diversity Weekends for the year. “You can walk down the street hand in hand with your same-sex husband or wife and nothing is thought of it. That’s pretty much year-round in Eureka.”

Kim Stryker, Eureka Mayor Robert Berry’s assistant, agrees. “Despite many changes that have taken place in Eureka Springs and our country, for some people Diversity Weekend is the only time they can come to a place where they can feel supported, loved and everything is ‘A-OK’,” she said.

This year’s Spring Diversity Weekend is April 7, 8 and 9. According to Wilks, there are usually 1,000 to 1,500 people from out of town for the weekend. “The town comes together and welcomes LGBTQ folks from the region. There are special events in Basin Spring Park on Saturday, including our annual PDA – the largest ‘public display of affection’ in the region,” he said.

The Ozark Mountain resort town has, over the years, gone out of its way to respect and include its LGBTQ citizens. It was the first town in Arkansas to pass an ordinance protecting LGBTQ citizens and visitors, and it passed a citizen vote overwhelmingly, according to Stryker. “We passed that ordinance so every person, whether a resident or in town for one hour, can feel like they are protected by law here. That’s important to us,” she asserted.

Events are everywhere. There are a large number of LGBTQ friendly and LGBTQ owned businesses in the town. “It’s an art and music city,” said Wilks. “We have lots of great independent stores and restaurants. There is always live music in town.”

A complete schedule of events for the weekend will be posted on the Out in Eureka Facebook page. Wilks suggested that out of towners book their accommodations now. Full information about accommodations, activities, dining and wedding planning is available at

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – March 15, 2017 @ 1:20 p.m.