HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - Hundreds of directors, actors, and movie-goers will make their way to Hot Springs for the annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
As documentary lovers catch a screening along Central Avenue, local businesses are hopeful and confident they'll shop, eat, and play as well.
"We depend downtown on festivals,” said Robert Raines.
He owns the Gangster Museum of America. Thursday afternoon, the lines were out the door to get in and get a peek of Hot Springs' history.
"All of the films are being shown around here and so at night time, it feels just like Beal Street or Central Avenue in Saratoga Springs in New York," Raines said. "It's just a wonderful metropolitan feel this time of year."
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, he said, comes at a vital time between the summer season and racing season; what used to be a slow period for Hot Springs some 25 years ago.
"The convention center and the conventions that it brings along with the festivals like the documentary film festival really are the livelihood of all the Central Avenue businesses,” Raines said.
Fat Bottomed Girls' Cupcakes is among the businesses preparing for the rush.
"We are getting ready right now. Our inventory, stocking up on our own goods like flower, sugar, everything like that. We have to prepare for these events,” explained barista Casey Glenn.
The Documentary Film Festival isn't the only thing happening in Hot Springs this weekend. The 48th annual Arts and Crafts Festival is being held at the Fair Grounds. Last weekend it was the Magic Festival and the weekend before that, it was Spa Con. The Convention Center said Hot Springs is booked solid.
"The problem we are having with festivals is there's something going on every weekend. It's very hard to find that open weekend if somebody wants to do a new festival," said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. "But things are popping, new things are happening all the time, so we will just have to see what we have next year."
Arrison said he expects the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival to bring about $1.2 million in to the city over the next week.
The Festival kicks off Friday night with Command and Control, a documentary about the Titan Missile Crisis and runs through the following Saturday with Beatlemania which is a documentary on The Beatles.
For more information on tickets and times, visit http://www.hsdfi.org/.