The month of March means the return of Grape Escapes and the 5x5 Gala, along with the opening of a COIN exhibit, some high-flying Harlem Ambassador stunts, and a couple of local 5ks.
• COIN Installation @ RAM
Fort Smith's Regional Art Museum (RAM) will debut its COIN Installation exhibit by Dayton Castleman with a special opening reception on March 6.
The exhibit centers around the vision of William "Coin" Hope Harvey and his final architectural endeavor, a Greek amphitheater that remained unfinished on the site of his famous 320-acre Monte Ne resort in Arkansas. According to RAM, "the amphitheater was designed as a foyer that would be located at the foot of a 130-foot obelisk named “The Pyramid” that would serve as a warning future generations of the fall of man."
The reception, which will include hors d'oeuvres and drinks, will last from 5 to 7 p.m. It is free to RAM members and $5 to non-members. The exhibit will remain on display through May 25.
• Harlem Ambassadors
The internationally-acclaimed comedy basketball team, The Harlem Ambassadors, are coming to Van Buren on March 6. Crawford County Optimist Club, Van Buren Kiwanis Club, and the Alma Rotary Club will welcome the Ambassadors for a special one-night only basketball event at the Van Buren High School Arena.
The Harlem Ambassadors will perform unique high-flying slam dunks, dazzling ball-handling tricks and hilarious comedy routines. The team is comprised of talented male and female basketball players that are drug-free, college-educated, and positive in appearance. The group provides family-friendly entertainment, serving as positive role models for kids.
A team of local celebrities, known as the "Crawford County Dawgs," will compete against the Ambassadors in a special game, meant for fun and laughs. Following the game, the audience will have the opportunity to meet the Ambassadors during a special autograph session.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren and the Boys and Girls Club of Alma. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and free for ages four and under. They can be purchased online or at the door. For more information, call 479-221-1361.
• Grape Escapes
Wine lovers will rejoice as Bost presents its signature fundraiser, Grape Escapes, on March 7. The 12th annual event will be held at The Epicenter by Movie Lounge from 6 to 11 p.m.
This year's "A Vine Affair" will offer guests the chance to sample more than 350 wines from around the world and taste dishes from more than 13 area restaurants and caterers.
The Dave Holland Ensemble will provide live entertainment, while guests peruse auction items and take their pick in the Grape Escapes Wine Pull.
New to this year's event is the Sykes-sponsored door prize, a $3,000 John Mays Jewelry shopping spree. All attendees are eligible to win, but guest must be present to win. A special live auction will also be held with auctioneer Tim Dunn at the helm. Up for grabs will be Hearts on Fire Diamond Jewelry, Dallas Cowboy Sky Box tickets and sideline passes for two, and a one week stay for 6 in a private villa at Barton Creek in Austin, Texas, among many other prize packages.
All proceeds support Bost, which serves more than1,000 individuals with mental, physical and developmental disabilities in 34 counties in Arkansas. Tickets are $100. For more information call 479-478-5554.
• Reach Out and Run 5k
Junior League of Fort Smith will host a "Reach Out and Run" 5k/10k on March 8 at Chaffee Crossing. The 5K and 10K courses are USATF Certified and will be chip timed.
Registration will begin at 6:30 a.m., with the race to follow at 8 a.m.
Cost is $25 per person, or $20 per individual for parties of four or more. Participants can register online or the morning of the event.
Proceeds from the event will benefit JLFS and its mission of "helping area kids who are aging out of the foster care system." For more information, call 479-783-3930.
• 5x5 Gala
Score some original art and enjoy an evening of fine dining and drinks on March 8 at the Center for Art and Education's annual 5x5 Gala.
Hosted at the Fort Smith Civic Center, the event will include dinner, drinks, auctions, and the signature "Dash for Art." Guests will rush to pick the 5x5 canvas of their choice, painted by a local artist, to take home and enjoy.
This year's event will also feature pieces by a number of regional artists including, Ernest Cialone, Suzanne King, Peter Lippincot, Maggie Malloy, and Greg Palmer. Gala-goers will have the chance to browse their recent collections and visit with the artists in the event gallery.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Center for Art and Education in Van Buren, which has provided outstanding art educational programming to area artists, children, and seniors for more than 35 years.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling Owen at 479-474-7767 or emailing email@example.com.
• African Night @ UAFS
The African Student Association at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith will host its second edition of African Night on March 14. The cultural event will celebrate the beautiful continent and feature authentic food, dance, music and fashion.
African Night will be held in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center, beginning at 6 p.m. The evening will include dinner showcasing African cuisine, as well as a fashion show highlighting African textiles and clothing.
Entertainment will be provided by Afrique Aya Dance Company, a state-renowned African dance group that combines the musical notes of drums and the traditional dance steps from the heart of Africa to display the characteristics of African culture. Baba Kwasi of Ayubu Kamau Kings and Queens, an African performing arts and cultural enrichment company in Dallas,will also perform. Kwasi will be combine drums and folklore to uniquely depict the rich oral traditions of Africa.
Tickets are $8 for UAFS students and $20 for non-UAFS students. Group discounts are available. Seating is limited to only 200 guests. Tickets can be purchased in room 112 of the Vines Building at UAFS. For more information, contact Rasila Soumana at 479-274-1813 or Dr. Williams Yamkam at 479-788-7981.
• Walk with the Knights 5K
King Elementary School will host its ninth annual "Walk with the Knights" 5k on March 15. The USATF certified course will begin and end at the school, located at 411 N. 20th, St., and track through historic downtown Van Buren.
Cost is $25 for adults and $10 for students ages 18 and under. Registration forms are available online or at the school.
Race proceeds will help send all King fourth grade students to C.A.M.P. (Children Achieving Maximum Potential), a three day, two night camp that is used to teach outside of the classroom and to provide the students with unique outdoor experiences. For more information, call King Elementary School at 479-474-2661.