A sure sign that spring is on the way, Bentonville kicks off its First Friday season on March 1 (that’s tomorrow folks). The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It includes live music, children’s activities and a variety of vendor booths. The music will extend later into to the evening at various locations around downtown, with the bands performing downtown on Saturday as well. The theme for this First Friday is Midway to St. Patrick’s Day.
Jonathan Ramsey (www.reverbnation.com/rpk/bio/291981) plays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. on the Walton Arts Center Main Stage, located in front of the Benton County Courthouse on the downtown square. His style is a mix of original and traditional Irish songs of love, hope, and despair; ironic and folk-tinged covers; songs of plans gone painfully awry; and a bit of sassy social rebel discourse. After his performance at First Friday, he will move over to The Pressroom (121 W Central Ave.) to continue playing at 7:30 pm. He will also be at The Pressroom on Saturday, March 2 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Also on the Main Stage is Three Dollar Band (www.threedollarband.com) out of Kansas City, playing from 6:46 p.m. to 8 p.m. From there they head over to The Hive, the restaurant in the 21C Museum Hotel and start playing around 9 p.m. Three Dollar Band performs at Tusk & Trotter from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. This band is a unique blend of folk music inspired by both Irish and Appalachian traditions with the odd French or Bulgarian rhythm thrown in for good measure.
The Ozark Highlander Pipe Band, which once performed in front of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, will make an appearance during the evening of First Friday. Based in Fayetteville and formed in 1984 by Pipe Major Dr. Steve Wilson and Drum Major Ramon Hendricks, the band has performed in numerous parades and events around the region.
In addition to the music, First Friday is known for a wide variety of food, children’s activities and vendors. Local retailers and restaurants jump in by extending their hours, offering special discounts or new menu items. The event is produced by Downtown Bentonville, Inc. and runs every first Friday of the month from March – November. Go to www.downtownbentonville.org for more information.