Steamboat Days is an annual festival in June that provides entertainment and activities for all ages including a carnival, singing competitions, concerts, several cook-offs, fireworks, a pageant, a 5K Run/Walk, and many others. Find out more details on Steamboat Days at www.SteamboatDays.net.
Fall Festival is a yearly event in late October or early November. The Des Arc Chamber of Commerce started the festival in 2012 and plans on continuing every year. The festival provides games and other activities for kids at no charge. Businesses and churches sponsor and host the activities.
Miss Merry Christmas, an annual Christmas pageant, is held in late November each year. Entry is open to girls from birth to age 21. Winners are awarded with crowns and/or sashes and have their pictures taken for the Chamber and are invited to participate in the Christmas Parade.
Annual Open House event
Area businesses host open house events and Chamber member business give tickets for a drawing for a TV to be given away by the Chamber after the Christmas Parade.
A Christmas Parade is usually held on the first Saturday in December unless the weather is uncooperative. The Parade, led by Santa Claus, includes horseback riders, pageant winners, city police, fire fighters, EMT personnel, and floats provided by local businesses, churches and other organizations. Floats are judged and winners are awarded prizes for their efforts. Winning is based on how closely a float reflects the chosen theme for the year. After the Parade, citizens gather at the courthouse and bring their children to see Santa Claus. At this time, the winner of the Open House TV Giveaway is announced.
The history of Des Arc all started on the White River as early French traders came down the White River in the early 1700’s. The first known settlers here were Creoles Watts and East in about 1810. Fur was the chief commodity being sold on the New Orleans market as trappers made their way along the White River. The name Des Arc is in fact connected with the White River, meaning the bow or the bend or the curve.
Some earlier names for the settlement of Des Arc are Des Arcs, the plural for the above translation, des Argues, Desarc, des Arques, Desare, McNulty’s Bluff, Des Arcs Bluff, and Dezark Bluff. It was not until after the Civil War that the name Des Arc was accepted among all.
Des Arc is located in Prairie County which was first a part of Arkansas County, and then Pulaski County. On November 25, 1846, Arkansas Governor Thomas S. Drew, approved a legislative act creating Prairie County. The city of Des Arc was officially Incorporated on December 28, 1854.
In the fall of 1858, Legislators entertained the thought of Des Arc becoming the capital of the state of Arkansas and missed out by only one vote.
Industries in this county, after the civil war was listed as: Fishing, Timber, Steamboat Trade, Railroading ,Farming, Musseling, Button Factories, Boat Oar Factory, Cannery, Stave Mills, Haying on the Prairie, Cotton Gins, Flour Mill, Nursery, Ice Factory, & Dairies.
In 1903 the rice industry came to Prairie County. Slowly, rice has become one of the major grains grown in this county. Today, farming is the chief industry of Des Arc and the surrounding areas of Prairie County.
Ferries were in use locally until about 1927 when a massive suspension bridge was built. The private firm out of Memphis that constructed the bridge initially built it as a toll bridge. Eventually the state of Arkansas purchased the bridge and discontinued the toll. This suspension bridge was operational until the early 1970’s when the state of Arkansas built a new structure.
The Northern District Courthouse in Des Arc once again burned in 1911. Thankfully, an underground vault had been constructed and records were saved. The current courthouse was constructed in 1914.