April Events Taking Place in Central Arkansas

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Kerry Kraus, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

 
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Note to the Print and Broadcast Media:

In order to better serve your needs and to keep you from getting extremely long documents from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, we have decided to break down our Travelin’ Arkansas release into regions organized by date. This way you will be able to look only at the areas you are interested in covering. The territories covered in Travelin' Arkansas adhere to the six geographical regions found in the Arkansas Tour Guide. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions: communications@arkansas.com or 501-682-7606.

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Take a Guided Canoe Tour of Mound Pond on Saturday, April 2 at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park in Scott. Meet a park interpreter at the visitor center for an introduction to canoeing, followed by an exploration of Mound Pond, used by the Plum Bayou Culture that lived here over 1,000 years ago. Learn how Native Americans used the plants and animals found in the pond. Canoeing experience isn’t necessary, but participants should be comfortable around water. Families are welcome. Reservations are required; space is limited. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, with under age six admitted free. Toltec is located at 490 Toltec Mounds Road. Contact the park for more information by calling 501-961-9442.

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A double-whammy of fine music and food awaits those who attend Conway’s 1st annual Jazz and Cuisine Classic of Conway, April 2. The evening features Arkansas's premier jazz band Carl Mouton and The Big Timers, and creations from some of the finest restaurants in town. Among the participating restaurants are Mike's Place, Michelangelo's, Oak Street Bistro, ZaZa’s, O'Henry's, Patticakes Bakery and Something Brewing.

Special guest entertainer is Devon Evans from the Wailing Wailers. Evans, now an elder musicologist, has performed over the years with Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis. He is also the founding drummer of The National Dance Theatre Company (N.D.T.C), as well as a composer/arranger/singer/poet and grand master percussionist.

Don your semi-formal best attire and enjoy the complimentary valet parking, red carpet entrance, and professional photography. The gala takes place at the Agora Events Center at 705 East Siebenmorgan Road in Conway. Tickets are $50 per person or $80 for two and are available by visiting www.wpwproductions.com or by phoning 501-358-1755.

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Boxers from West Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas compete April 7-9 at the Mid-South Golden Gloves Tournament. The North Little Rock Community Center is where the bouts take place with winners of the Open Division advancing to the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions. Visit www.GoldenGloves.com or call 501-225-7998 for additional information.

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Some of the top authors in country lead the lineup at the 8th Annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 7-10 in Little Rock. Appearing this year are David Sedaris, Pioneer Woman blogger Ree Drummond, Isabel Wilkerson, and Arkansas’s own Kevin Brockmeier and the queen of the supernatural, Charlaine Harris.

Food will be plentiful as cookbook authors and bakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito “whip up some sinfully delicious treats.” Also preparing some tasty concoctions are Elizabeth Heiskell, lead culinary instructor at the Viking School, who pairs with her friend Lee Richardson, executive chef at the Capital Hotel. Some tantalizing Southern dishes that are both simple and spectacular are going to be prepared.

Book Fiesta, a party for kids, introduces the 2011 fest children's authors in an interactive way. Children can win prizes, including a piñata, and enjoy books about sports, heroes, Arkansas, science, and more. Authors include Matt de la Peña, Darcy Pattison, Carla McClafferty, Tom Paradise, and Linda Williams. Snacks and drinks served.

The Central Arkansas Main Library and multiple venues in the River Market and Argenta Arts districts in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are where events take place. Admission to most sessions is free. Visit www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org for a complete schedule and information on those with admission charges.


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Get your bowls ready for some really good gumbo as The Allen School hosts the Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff on April 8. Creative competition takes place among local amateur cooking teams vying for prizes in several categories. Live Zydeco music from well-known Little Rock musicians Greasy Greens and all the gumbo you can eat are in store for visitors. Proceeds benefit The Allen School, a nonprofit preschool for children with special needs. The event takes place in the River Market Pavilions in downtown Little Rock. Admission is $15 with ages five and under free. For more information visit www.theallenschool.org or call 615-712-1573.

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Ladies, make plans to take part in An Outdoor Discovery Day just for you on April 9 at Woolly Hollow State Park at Greenbrier. Prepare to reconnect with nature with sessions on basic camping, nature journaling, kayaking and more. Space is limited and reservations are required. The $35 entry fee includes lunch and use of gear. Meet at the park pavilion. For more information phone 501-679-2098.

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On April 9 and 10, you and your family can learn the basics of camping and how to enjoy the outdoors during TENTing at the Mountain. Held at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, the event focuses on the Traveling Educational Nature Trailer (T.E.N.T), which is full of gear needed for a campout. Park interpreters explain how each piece is used then participants put those tips to use by enjoying a rare overnight outing at the day-use-only park. The fee includes use of the equipment and food. Space is limited and required reservations can be made by calling 501-868-5806. Cost is $22 for adults, $11 for ages 6-12. Pinnacle Mountain is located at 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road in west Little Rock.

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The Lester Flatt Memorial Park near Vilonia is where the 24th annual Bluegrass and Gospel Jamming Jammer Jamboree takes place April 11-16. This family fun week includes potluck meals, singing and lots of musical jam sessions. The park is located in the Otto community approximately three miles south of Vilonia. Admission is free. Phone 501-835-2451 for more details.

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“A Gathering Store: Arkansas Goes to War” is the theme for the 70th annual Arkansas Historical Association Conference. It takes place April 14-16 at the Darragh Center, Central Arkansas Library System Main Library in downtown Little Rock. With the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War beginning this year, this gathering inaugurates the groups’ look at the Civil War in Arkansas. For more information call 479-575-5884.

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Experience the rugged life of early explorers and trappers of the American frontier during the early 1800s at the Mountain Man Rendezvous. Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier hosts the event scheduled for April 15-17. Re-enactors dress in traditional period attire and camp in authentic lodges and tents. Demonstrations include the crafts, games, and survival skills needed during the era of fur trappers. All activities take place at the historic Woolly Cabin. Contact the park for further details and a program schedule by calling 501-679-2098.

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One of the world’s leading organizations working to end hunger, Heifer International, hosts Heifer's Hunger Awareness Event on April 16. This is a unique dining experience highlighting hunger all over the world. Upon arrival, participants receive a meal ticket that determines their “lot in life” for the event. Through this experiential educational activity, attendees discover first-hand how where people live can greatly influence what and how much they eat. It could be nothing at all (at this event everyone eats, but some do not eat much). Become a citizen of the world for an evening and see how others around the world live and what you can do to help. The experience takes place at the Heifer International’s Heifer Village in downtown Little Rock. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and tickets are $20 per person ages 12 and up. They can be ordered by calling 888-5-HUNGER (888-548-6437) to order tickets.

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Celebrate the arrival of spring at Wildwood Park’s BLOOMS! Festival April 16-17 in Little Rock. Activities include live demonstrations, garden tours and tips, a variety of food, live music, and events and crafting for kids. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, with ages five and under free. Visit www.wildwoodpark.org to order tickets and get additional information or call 501-821-7275. Wildwood Park for the Arts is located at 20919 Denny Road in west Little Rock.

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Experience the beauty of springtime in Arkansas with Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s Spring Canoe Float, April 16-17. Participants take off from the Little Maumelle boat launch for this guided 4.5-mile gentle float. Visit areas of the park that many people don't get to see. No paddling experience is necessary, but those taking part should be comfortable around water. The $30 fee includes use of boats, paddles, and lifejackets. Advance reservations and payment are required. Call 501-868-5806 for additional information. Pinnacle Mountain State Park is located at 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road in west Little Rock.

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England’s downtown Foster Park is where the 8th Annual England Celebration takes place on April 16. There are going to be booths, games, food, a fish fry, and a band. A special treat is a tour of the Wagon Yard Museum. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In case of rain, the event takes place on April 23. Admission is free. For more information call 501-231-5919.

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Upright bass player and indie celebrity Nat Baldwin takes the stage at Little Rock’s historic Dreamland Ballroom on April 19. Doors open at 6 p.m. for an art show featuring Colin Miles, Jake Pruitt, Cloud Map, Erin Lang, and other local artists. Local silkscreen artist Erin Lang will have limited edition hand-screened commemorative fliers for sale. Tree of Knowledge, a local independent book bistro, has a booth of books and magazines for browsing. Classical guitar sounds by Joel Richardson accompanies art and book surfing. A puppet show musical begins around 7:30 p.m. and featured music starts at 8 p.m. Dreamland Ballroom is located inside historic Taborian Hall, now home of Arkansas Flag and Banner, 800 West 9th Street. Visit www.dreamlandballroom.org/index.php/events or phone 501-607-0954 for more information. Admission: $5


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Cabot shows off its luscious crop of strawberries with the 9th annual Strawberry Festival April 22-23. Local growers display the fruits of their labor for tasting and purchasing. Carnival rides, a pageant, vendor and food booths, entertainment and games for the whole family await visitors. Admission is free. Activities take place in the Cabot Community Center at 508 North Lincoln. Visit http://juniorauxiliaryofcabot.com/strawberryfest.html or call 501-628-4044 for additional information.

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If you live in rural Arkansas and would like to know how to take advantage of tourism, make plans to attend the April 23rd Promoting Rural Tourism conference. Theme of the event is “Making Internet Marketing Work for Your Business and Your Town.” Learn to identify potential customers and get the conversation going. Rural tourism marketing expert Joanne Steele teaches how to turn your immense knowledge of your town and business into a focused and profitable Internet advertising strategy. The results fit your needs, time and budget. Computers are not used in this class, which is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the UALR College of Business Reynolds Business Center. Advance registration of $30 which includes a boxed lunch is required. Phone 800-862-2040 for more information.

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Conway’s annual colorful late spring extravaganza, Toad Suck Daze, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, April 29-May 1. During its first 29 years, Toad Suck Daze has raised one million dollars for scholarships and endowments to Conway’s three institutions of higher education: University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix and Central Baptist Colleges. Residents of Faulkner County are scholarship recipients.

The Legend of Toad Suck provides the attention-getting title. As the festival celebrates its 30th edition in 2011, the goals remain the same: to provide free family oriented fun and entertainment while making money to benefit local students.

Conway’s “Laid Back Weekend” occurs the first weekend in May. Favorite annual events include arts and crafts, the 'Toadal Kids Zone', a carnival, local and national entertainment, food, a rock-climbing wall, a petting zoo, 'Stuck on a Truck,' 5K/10K, a golf tournament, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, magicians, and much more. The focal point is the World Championship Toad Races. Visit www.toadsuck.org/ for more information or call 501-327-7788.


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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"