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Navy Chanters and Edamame Festival come to the Fort Smith area

event preview by Brittany Ransom
bransom@thecitywire.com

Spring is just around the corner, and the Fort Smith region is celebrating with Family Fun at the Nature Center, a performance by the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, an Edamame Festival, and much more.

• Spring Break at the River Valley Nature Center
The Arkansas River Valley Nature Center in Fort Smith invites students to enjoy some great Spring Break Special Programs March 22-March 30.

Beginning on Saturday (March 22), the center will offer a variety of courses, guided hikes, crafts classes, and outdoor experiences for families to enjoy. Courses will included kayaking, hunter education, archery, fly fishing, bird watching and more.

Activities will vary each day and will include some programs tailored to specific ages groups. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Scales of Justice Trailer will also be at the nature center Tuesday through Friday. The trailer is a program of the AGFC designed to" increase awareness and appreciation of the enforcement division and what a wildlife officer's role is."

All programs are free. A complete Spring Break schedule is available online. For more information, contact the Arkansas River Valley Nature Center at 479-452-3993.

• U.S. Navy Sea Chanters Concert
The Alma Performing Arts Center will play host to the official chorus of the United States Navy, the "Sea Chanters," on March 22.

Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Georgina Todd, the "Sea Chanters" have performed across the country, including at the White House and at the 56th Presidential  Inauguration Ceremony. The chorus will perform a range of music including traditional choral music, sea chantey, as well as Broadway musicals.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Up to six tickets are available per family. To request tickets, call 479-632-2129.

This event is presented by the Alma Education and Arts Foundation.

• "Don't Discuss Your Bloomers"
The Clayton House in Fort Smith will celebrate National Women's History month with a special Clayton Conversation s on March 23. Guests will learn why you "Don't Discuss Your Bloomers" as they take a look back at general restrictions that were placed on women in the 1800s.

Sheryl Flanagin, women's rights history enthusiast, and Sue Robison, historic reenactor of Mrs. Isaac C. Parker, will serve as the guest speakers. Music and refreshments will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by the program at 2 p.m.

The event is open to the public, with a $5 donation for admission encouraged. Tours of the Clayton House will be offered following the hour-long program. For more information or to RSVP, call 479-783-3000.

• Mulberry Edamame Festival
The town of Mulberry will host its first-ever Edamame Festival  on March 29. The event will celebrate the edamame, the immature green soybean that is a staple in Arkansas agriculture.

The festival will include vendors, helicopter tours, carnival rides and a car show. Visitors can also take part in a bass tournament, 5K run, and a disc golf tournament. True to the festival's name, the event will include an "Edamame Experience," complete with a bean shelling contest and edamame tasting featuring various recipes.

Festivities will kick-off at 10 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. at the Mulberry City Park. Admission and parking for the festival are free.

For tournament entry or to become a vendor, contact the mayor’s office at 479-997-1321 or email mayor@cityofmulberry.org. To enter the festival pageant, contact Creena Bocksnick at 479-997-1363 or cbocksnick@mpvschools.com. All proceeds from the pageant benefit the Mulberry-Pleasant View FFA.

• Vietnam Veteran Appreciation Day
The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 467 and VFW 8245  will host a Vietnam Veterans Appreciation Day on March 29 at the Vietnam Veterans Museum at Chaffee Crossing. Festivities will include a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and museum tours.

A poker run will kick-off that morning with registration at 10 a.m. Cost is $10 per rider, per hand. First ride out will take place at 11 a.m., with the last bike in at 2 p.m. Food and refreshments will also be available. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair, as well as canned goods to donate to a local benefiting food pantry.

All veterans and the public are invited to attend. For more information, contact Larry Mars at 479-414-7334 or Joe Gibbs at 479-414-7048.

• Project Compassion Designer Showhouse Ball
Project Compassion will present the 2014 Designer Showhouse Ball on Apr. 1 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. Guests will enjoy assorted wines, as well as a live auction and musical entertainment by Don Bailey.

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The ball will get underway at 5:30 p.m. and last until 9:30 p.m. The event will kick off the organization's April Designer Showhouse Tours, which will be offered Apr. 2-30. The beautiful show home, located at 4 Berry Hill Road in Fort smith, will feature unique decor and staging by area interior designers.

Proceeds from the ball and showhouse tours will benefit Project Compassion, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to bring joy, companionship and quality of life to residents in long-term care and retirement facilities throughout the area."

Tickets for the ball are $65 per person, or $650 for tables of 10. Tickets may be purchased online. For more information, call 479-462-4893.

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