Fairfield Bay plans anniversary celebration

For 50 years, Fairfield Bay has offered a pristine lake, incredible Ozark Mountain views and a recreational lifestyle with all the amenities of a world-class resort without the crowd.

Fairfield Bay will celebrate 50 years of the good life with a commemorative event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Conference and Visitor Center.

Visitors are invited to be a part of this area’s inspiring 50 years, hear stories and reflections, see the town’s rising in photo and song, and smile at some unique and fun memorabilia for a city that shaped the adventures and mystique of beautiful Greers Ferry Lake. Those who attend will be able to meet some of the state’s top dignitaries while enjoying music and a champagne toast.

The dream

Building a recreational outdoor resort and retirement community was the dream of real-estate developer C. Randolph Warner, Neil Simonson and Jake Jacobus, and 50 years ago it became a reality.

Fairfield Bay began with the purchase of 3,000 acres on the banks of the pristine Greers Ferry Lake. In January 1966, the marina was built and Fairfield Bay was well on its way to becoming one of most popular retirement communities in Arkansas.

“As the community grew, we knew there was something special happening here at Fairfield Bay,” said Dorothy Ball, a resident since 1978. “People came from across the state and across the country to make Fairfield Bay their home.”

In the early 70s, the marina was the center of most of the social activities in the community, including Arkansas’ first national trail on Sugar Loaf Mountain, an island rising out of Greers Ferry Lake. The city quickly grew from there with two premiere 18-hole golf courses, recreational areas and a tennis complex that boasts numerous USTA championships.

The Conference Center was built in 1972, and has become a popular visitor destination.

An honored city

Today, Fairfield Bay has twice been selected as a “City of Distinction,” heralded as the safest city in which to live and one of the most popular resorts in the state.

Fairfield Bay has nine signature events each year, including a disc golf tournament in April; Bloomin’ in the Bay along with Blues & BBQ in the Bay in May; Surf the Bay in June; Fourth of July celebration; Boati Gras in August; Paddle Battle and BayFest in September; Oktoberfest along with Storyfest in October; and Festival of Trees in December.
Fairfield Bay continues to add new activities and destinations of interest – enhanced trails systems, recreation facilities, arts and entertainment culture – while never losing sight of what makes this charming community a place of peaceful days and happy memories all year long.

“Come experience a piece of what we live each and every day,” said Mayor Paul Wellenberger.

“I’ve got the best job around – and I can shout from one of our many mountain tops, ‘This is the good life’ and ‘You can have that, too!’”

Fairfield Bay’s success has continued through the years. Recent accomplishments include:

–    The new Cool Pool Café opened to rave reviews only six months after a fire that destroyed the BayView Racquet Club.

–    The new veterans fishing barge was built through the volunteer efforts of the city and dedicated in honor of those who have served in the military. The barge seats 64 and is available for rent at the Fairfield Bay Marina.

–    New exercise equipment was installed on the Rambling Cove Trail.

–    Fairfield Lanes remodeled and re-opened.

–    The community has 29 miles of resurfaced roads.

Looking ahead, 2016 projects include attracting a hotel developer and the construction of new spec homes. Three new pumper trucks will also be added for the Fairfield Bay Fire Department.

In the area of recreation, 24 additional boat slips are planned at the Fairfield Bay Marina. Grant money will be used to install a new automatic electronic door at the conference center.

Grant money will also be used for planned upgrades to Rambling Cove Trail, including new playground, basketball court, and picnic pavilion with accessible parking and walkways.

There will also be a new 3D Archery Shoot.

To stay for the weekend at Fairfield Bay, call 501.884.4202 for lodging information and a list of other fun things to do. Information is also available at VisitFairfieldBay.com.