Catching a glimpse of the Beatles as they walked out of an airport would be cause for excitement for anyone, but for the small town of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, it was the single most exciting event in the town’s history.
In September of 1964, the Beatles landed at the Walnut Ridge airport. The plan was for the four band members to be secretly transported to a nearby vacation spot, and then return to the airport two days later. Somehow, while the Fab Four were at the vacation spot, a tip was released that they would be returning to the airport. As a result of this, nearly the entire town turned up at the airport to catch a glimpse.
The Beatles’ quick stopover in Walnut Ridge marked the only place that the band stepped foot in Arkansas throughout their entire run, making what should have been a quick and easy layover for the band into a monumental event for Walnut Ridge residents, who to this day pass on stories of their personal encounters with John, Paul, George or Ringo back in 1964.
In remembrance of the events of September 1964, Walnut Ridge created “Beatles Park,” a public area complete with cutouts, sculptures, and murals of the four band members and various other objects symbolic of the band, such as a yellow submarine and a piano painted with the word “Imagine.”
Even now, more than 50 years later, Walnut Ridge citizens gather in the park (and all over town!) for a Beatles Fest every September. The festival is free and features crafts, talks with local artists and authors, and a concert from the “Liverpool Legends” imitation band.
Know Before You Go
Located on Abbey Road right downtown. Ample parking on both sides of the street.