Festivating: Decades-old fun
TONTITOWN — What is left to say about a 114-year-old festival that has changed little in recent years, except for the addition of Post wines to its legendary fried chicken and spaghetti dinner?
Some 140,000 people are expected to attend the Tontitown Grape Festival, which started Tuesday (Aug. 7) and runs through Saturday (Aug. 11) on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Tontitown’s main drag, Henri De Tonti Boulevard. (Just head toward Siloam Springs on U.S. 412 and look for flashing lights of the carnival.)
The parking is free; so is the admission and nightly entertainment. But if you hope to get one of the 9,000 or so spaghetti dinners, it’ll cost $12 ($6 for kids) plus your weight in sweat as you wait in line outside the church’s crowded parish hall. It’s all worth it, of course. The meat sauce is homemade and the pasta is handmade, using recipes carried by the Italian Catholic immigrants who settled in Tontitown in the late 19th century.
Other mainstays of the grape festival: A grape stomp, the Run for the Grapes 5K (led by a balloon-covered runner who looks like a character in a Fruit of the Loom commercial), as well as a truck giveaway. This year, Blair Ceola was named Queen Concordia for selling the most tickets in the truck raffle.
Save your sweat; they don’t start serving dinner until Thursday. More on the festival can be found here.
Impact: Color of Hope
ROGERS — What color is hope anyway? It’s been red, white, purple and chocolate. For 2012, it’s deemed green.
Guests at Friday’s (Aug. 10) Color of Hope Gala for Arkansas Children’s Hospital will be donning every imaginable hue for one of the area’s largest fundraisers of the season. The gala starts at 5:30 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center and includes a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions and live music. Auction items include an eight-night trip to Ireland; a six-night trip to Italy; and packages for the MLB All-Star Game, the 2013 Country Music Awards and the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Those are some serious auction items, sure to turn some guests that certain shade associated of envy.
More than 1,200 people attended the gala last year. Paired with the Aug. 9-10 Will Golf 4 Kids fundraising golf tournament, the events netted $920,000 for the Little Rock children’s hospital and have contributed more than $10.5 million in the past 18 years.
Music: final summer jazz concert
FAYETTEVILLE — The final concert of the KUAF Summer Jazz Concert Series will feature jazz guitar legend Vic Juris, a Jersey City native who cut his teeth in the early 1960s after listening to his father’s LP recordings of Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry.
Eagerly sought out by his contemporaries, Juris has provided accompaniment for a “Who’s Who” of jazz superstars including Mel Torme, Michel Legrand, Nancy Wilson, Larry Coryell, Sarah Vaughn and Jimmy Smith, to name just a few. As a member of the David Liebman group since 1991, he has recorded 10 CDs, traveled throughout Europe, Japan, Israel and the United States and is still going strong.
He’s not just a master — he’s also a teacher.
Juris is also one of the leading jazz educators throughout the world. He has written two books published by Mel Bay: Vic Juris Inside/Outside: Original Play-Along Modern Jazz Guitar Solos and Modern Chords: Advanced Harmony for Guitar. Both books are highly regarded by up and coming guitarists. He currently teaches at The New School for Social Research, Rutgers University and Lehigh University.
His performance at 8 p.m. Saturday will include solo guitar selections intertwined with a trio that includes James Greeson on bass and Darren Novotny on drums.
More information can be had by contacting Robert Ginsberg at www.digjazz.com or calling (479) 443-5600.
Fun: ArtMazing Race
BENTONVILLE — Some young, fun patrons of the Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art will take to the museum grounds Saturday for a scavenger hunt, followed by a pub crawl around the Bentonville square.
The event is open to members and potential members of the young members group, recently renamed ArtInfusion. For the ArtMazing Race, teams will compete to decipher clues to unravel the secret name of a famous artist. Participants must be 21 to participate.
Pre-registration can be made by emailing Catherine Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (479)418-5728. Packets can be picked up at 3:30 p.m., 30 minutes prior to the race.
Art: For the more serious patron
BENTONVILLE — Los Angeles-based filmmaker Dale Schierholt will represent “Revealing the Artists’s Story through Documentary Film” from 2-4 p.m. at Crystal Bridges. Schierholt’s films are believed to help patrons learn more about artists — in this case, Louise Nevelson and Robert Indiana.
Art institutions all over the country, such as the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Art Students League in New York City, have asked Schierholt to produce American artist films. At Sunday’s event, the filmmaker will share his process of developing close relationships with the artists in their studios, and with their family and colleagues. The presentation will include a screening of Schierholt's film, Nevelson: Awareness in the Fourth Dimension, and selected highlights from the film, A Visit to the Star of Hope: Conversations with Robert Indiana.
The event is free with online reservations made here.
Theater: Not soon forgotten — Bunnicula
SPRINGDALE — A “flexible cast of seven” is needed to play all parts in Bunnicula, auditions for which are Monday and Tuesday (Aug. 13&14) at Arts Center of the Ozarks. The show runs Sept. 22-23.
In the play, Chester the cat and Harold the dog are more than just pets. They’re good friends too. Then one dark and stormy night, a bunny moves in. Though this no ordinary rabbit — this is the the extraordinary Bunnicula. When the family’s produce starts losing its juice, Chester suspects Bunnicula is a vampire. Singing and dancing their way through this hilarious mystery, the furry friends find room in their hearts, and in their home, for one very unique bunny.