February brings Red Carpet Galas, Chocolate Festivals, and a Black Hearts Ball

event preview by Brittany Ransom
bransom@thecitywire.com

Love is in the air, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate with red carpets, romantic music and of course, endless chocolate. Or, forgo the lovey-dovey holiday and head over to the Black Hearts Ball for an "anti-Valentine" bash.

• "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage
Guests will step back in time, as The Walton Arts Center brings the 1950s television classic, "I Love Lucy," to stage Feb. 4-9.

The new hit show, "I Love Lucy, Live on Stage," takes visitors back to 1952, where they will witness stars Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel "film" the beloved sitcom. Complete with 50s era "commercials," the show will have the audience feeling nostalgic and roaring with laughter all at the same time.

Show times will be 6 p.m. Feb. 4-6, and 7 p.m. on Feb. 7. There will be two performances on Feb. 8, including a matinee  at 2 p.m., and an evening show at 8 p.m. The production will wrap on Feb. 9, with a final performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets begin at $29 and can be purchased online or by calling 479-443-5600.

• Youth Bridges Wonderful Life Gala
Youth Bridge will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an "It's a Wonderful Life" Red Carpet Gala on Feb. 13. Guests will take a trip through the decades commemorating the work of Youth Bridge and celebrating NWA, while enjoying dinner, drinks, music from the different eras.

Upon arrival, visitors will have their pick from the wine pull, bar pull, or mystery gift box, and have the chance to bid on numerous items in the silent auction. During dinner, entertainment will be provided by the nationally-renowned "Thinkfast" Game Show, where participants will compete for the honor of presenting Life Bridge with a large cash prize.

Doors will open at  5:30 p.m. for the signature VIP Champagne and Chocolate Reception, followed by dinner, special presentations, a live auction, and a the balloon pop at 9 p.m., where everyone will walk away a winner.

The gala will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Individual tickets are $95 and can be purchased online. Guests are encouraged to RSVP by Feb. 10.

• Eureka Springs Chocolate Lovers Festival
Chocoholics will rejoice as Eureka Springs presents its 10th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival on Feb. 15.

The nationally recognized event will offer guests the chance to taste all types of chocolate treats, including cakes, cookies, and beverages, and take home samplings of their favorites.

Contests for chocolate recipes and decorating will also be held with several cash prizes awarded. Other activities will include a silent auction, and a local merchants market. Proceeds from the festival will be shared among four area schools and non-profit organizations.

The festival will be held Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center in Eureka Springs. It will open at 9 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. A Chocolate Lovers Festival Cookbook featuring more than 500 delicious recipes will also be available for $15. The book can be purchased in advance by visiting the group's Facebook page.

Admission is $12 and $6 for children ages six and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling (800) 638-7352.

• SoNA Valentine's Pops Concert
The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) will present a Valentine's Pop Concert on Feb. 15 at the Walton Arts Center. The central theme of the performance will be the pursuit of love, and will include symphonic, operatic and musical theater pieces by Puccini, Mozart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $28-$48 and may be purchased online. For more information, call SoNA at 479-521-4166.

• Sheep Dog Charity Ball
The second annual Sheep Dog Charity Ball will be held on February 15 at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. The formal affair will include cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, music, dancing and guest speaker Tracy Reinhold.

Reinhold, a former Marine, worked as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, before promoting  to Assistant Director of the Directorate of Intelligence and eventually being named Associate Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch.

After retiring, Reinhold assumed the role of Vice President for Global Investigations for Walmart, a position he now holds. Cocktail hour will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 6 p.m. The ball is black-tie, and military and emergency personnel/law enforcement are encouraged to wear their dress uniform.

All proceeds from the charity ball benefit Rogers-based Sheep Dog Impact Assistance,  which "focuses on supporting the unique needs of our veteran 'Sheep Dogs'; society’s protectors, the men and women that form the ranks of America’s military, law enforcement, fire & rescue, and EMS." The organization also supports disaster relief missions, and disaster preparedness education classes for communities in need.

Tickets range from $47 to $65, with tables available for $450.

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• Crystal Bridges' Back in Black: The Return of Black Hearts Ball
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art invites guests to nurse their "smoldering, jaded bitterness among kindred spirits" at its second annual "Back in Black: The Return of Black Hearts Ball" on Feb. 15.

The anti-Valentine's "ArtinFusion" bash will feature DJ Robert Barron, a silent disco, and a night full of dancing. Guests can  "make art, not love" and try their hand at the art creation station, while dining on delicious appetizers and treats created by the talented chefs of Eleven.

An after-party will follow at "The Hive." ArtinFusion members can take advantage of special room rates at the 21c Museum Hotel.

Guests are required to dress in black, to symbolize the color of their hearts. Tickets are free for  current members and $25 for guests. Reservations can be made online or by calling 479-418-5728.

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