Two men stand in a white tent full of colorful art
Nelson Perez, right, of Vodka Bacon Studios chats with a guest during Artsfest 2021. The popular outdoor festival returns for its 43rd year May 6-7. (Photo: Downtown Springfield Association)

Historic Walnut Street will be abuzz with activity May 6-7, as Artsfest returns for its 43rd year.

The event, hosted by the Springfield Regional Arts Council, is one of the biggest outdoor art festivals in southwest Missouri, with attendance in the tens of thousands. It features nearly 120 artists from all over the country along with live entertainment and a wide variety of food.

Artsfest runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission is $5, with children ages 5 and under admitted free. Here’s what you can expect to find at the festival.

Art, art and more art

The variety of art at Artsfest runs the gamut from clay to woodworking, drawing to photography and everything in between. Artists will have their tents set up along Walnut Street, between National Avenue and John Q. Hammons Parkway.

And bring your wallet. This isn’t an art show. Many of the artists make their living on the festival circuit and your purchases help them continue creating and showing their work.

There’s also a special “Live Art” area, near the intersection of Walnut and John Q. Hammons, where nine local artists will create original works of art while the public watches their progress. Those paintings will be sold. Check the Springfield Regional Arts Council website for more information.

Two artists paint on large pieces of wood
Artists paint in the Live Art area of Artsfest on Walnut Street 2019. The event returns for its 43rd year May 6-7. (Photo: Downtown Springfield Association)

Kid-friendly fun

The Springfield Regional Arts Council ensures there’s fun for everyone at Artsfest. There’s a special “Kids Zone” on the southwest corner of Walnut and John Q. Hammons. Kids will be able to tie-dye a T-shirt for free. There will also be a chalk-drawing area, where young artists can create their own works of art.

Princesses of the 417 will have a booth at the event, meeting, greeting and taking pictures with guests all weekend. The princesses will also entertain the crowd with a performance at 12:45 p.m. May 7.

Artsfest draws crowds on sunny weekend in Springfield. in 2022 (Photo by Shannon Cay)

A wide variety of live entertainment

Artsfest has four stages for live entertainment, with acts ranging from live music to dance.

The lineup of musicians includes a wide variety of styles from local bands like Shaun Munday, Hometown Tourist, Vic Vaughan & Souled Out, The Paper Moons and The Jin J. X Group.

The dance stage, on the west side of the festival footprint, will feature local dance troupes, including Studio VIE, Petra Junior Company, Point Performing Arts, Ozark Dance Academy and Springfield Dance Alliance.

Go online to find the Saturday schedule of performers, or the Sunday schedule.

Live performers are a highlight for Artsfest attendees on sunny weekend in Springfield in 2022. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

Food, glorious food

Bring your appetite to Artsfest. There will be plenty of delicious treats to fill your belly.

The University Plaza parking lot, on the northwest corner of Walnut and John Q. Hammons, will feature several food trucks along with a live entertainment stage. Those trucks include:

  • City Utilities Water Wagon
  • Sweet Pieces
  • Lae’s Egg Rolls
  • Down South Fried Fish Co.
  • Pineapple Whip
  • The Crepe Shack

There’s a wide variety of cuisine available, including Crosstown BBQ, Greek Belly, Peruvian and South American Foods, Jamaican Patty Co. and Xurro Handcrafted Spanish Donuts.

And if you get thirsty, there will be stands selling bottled water and Coca-Cola products, along with three beer tents.

Artsfest in 2022 drew a steady crowd on sunny weekend in Springfield. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

Want to go?

What: Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street

When: May 6-7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days

Where: Along Walnut Street from John Q. Hammons Parkway to National Aveneu

Tickets: $5, with children ages 5 and under free. You can purchase tickets at the gate, or buy them online.

For more information: Visit the Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street website, find Artsfest on Facebook or download the event brochure.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger