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May brings Rodeo festivities, Old Timer's Day, and Crawfish Boil

event preview by Brittany Ransom
bransom@thecitywire.com

The Fort Smith Region will enjoy Old Fort Days Rodeo celebrations, Old Timer's Day, an old-fashioned crawfish boil, and much more in the coming weeks.

Tough Enough To Wear Pink
The rodeo will soon be in town, which means it is time for the 9th annual Creative Leather & Tack Riders “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” Chili Feast and Concert . Scheduled for May 15, the event will include delicious food, live music, auctions, and fun contests.

The  event kicks off the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” challenge, with proceeds benefiting the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House. Featured entertainment will be The Arkansas Travelers. Children ages ten and under are invited to dress as their favorite rodeo clown for the costume contest. A raffle and live auction will also be held.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink will be held at the Kay Rodgers Park Expo Building in Fort Smith. The chili feast will start at 6 p.m., with the costume judging to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12, and free for ages five and under.

For more information, contact Celeste White at 414-3698.

Old Timer's Day
The Old Town Merchant's Association in Van Buren will host its annual spring arts and crafts festival, Old Timer's Day, the weekend of May 16. More than 200 food, art, and craft vendors from several states will be set up along Main Street. Live music and carnival-style games and rides will also be featured at the festival.

Old Timer's Day will open on Friday (May 15) with the family-fun carnival. Vertical Groove will perform on the depot stage from 7 to 9 p.m.

Vendor booths will open on Saturday (May 16) morning, along with the carnival. Live entertainment will be featured throughout the day, with Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes headlining on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Sunday will also include vendors, rides, games, and live music.

Admission to Old Timer's Day is free. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 471-8112.

Atkinson-Williams Warehouse Homecoming
In celebration of Fort Smith Western Heritage Month, the Fort Smith Museum of History will host a “Homecoming for the Atkinson-Williams Warehouse” on May 17. All former employees of the various businesses to occupy the historic structure, which now houses the Museum, and local history-lovers are  invited for a special program celebrating the landmark building.

Completed in 1907, the building housed  several successful businesses, including the original Atkinson-Williams Hardware. The company officially became Williams Hardware in 1930, until it was sold to Speer Hardware. After the property was purchased from the Speer Family in 1979, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and later became the home of the Fort Smith Museum of History.

The program is free with a paid museum admission which costs $5 for adults, $2 for children, and free for ages six and under. A barbecue lunch by Whole Hog Cafe will be available for $10 per person. Lunch reservations are requested. To RSVP or for more information, call 783-7841.

Girls, Inc. Crawfish Boil
George and LuAnn Moschner will open their home on May 17 for the annual Girls, Inc. Crawfish Boil. The dinner will feature delicious crawfish, sides, and drinks.

Tickets are $35 for adults and free for kids up to 12th grade. Tables for eight are also available for $500 and include reserved seating, as well as two bottles of wine and private wait staff.

The evening will kick off at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit Girls, Inc. in Fort Smith which inspires girls to "be strong, smart and bold." Tickets may be purchased online or by calling Girls, Inc. For tickets or directions, call 782-0376.

Clayton Conversations
The Clayton House in Fort Smith will take a look back at 90 years of beautiful music as it welcomes Fort Smith Symphony Conductor John Jeter for its May Clayton Conversations program on May 18.

Jeter will discuss how America’s earliest symphony orchestras formed, and share about the growth and development of the Fort Smith Symphony, which has the distinction of being the state's oldest symphony. Jeter has led the Fort Smith Symphony for the past 18 seasons.

Prior to Jeter's program, violinist Chris Pinkston will give a special performance at 1:30 p.m. Pinkston is in his 18th year as an instructor for the Fort Smith Public Schools Orchestra Program and has played with the Fort Smith Symphony since 1991. Refreshments will also be served.

Clayton Conversations is open to the public, but seating is limited. A $5 donation is suggested. Reservations can be made by calling 783-3000 or by emailing claytonhouse@claytonhouse.org.

New Start for Children & Families Gala
New Start for Children & Families will host its inaugural gala featuring author John Borgstedt on May 20.

The evening will kick-off with a social hour, cash bar, and silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and program at 7 p.m. Borgstedt, author of "I Love You Mom...Please Don't Break My Heart," will speak about enduring abuse as a child and how he went on to become a nationally-recognized youth advocate and motivational speaker. The gala will be hosted at the MovieLounge EpiCenter in Fort Smith.

Proceeds from the event will support New Start's mission to build a home in the River Valley to help house the overwhelming number of local foster children. Individual tickets are $50. Tables for ten may be purchased or $500. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. To RSVP or for more information, call 430-3529.

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Old Fort Days Radio Parade and Color Dash
A "Color Dash," known as the "world's brightest 5K," will kick off this year's Old Fort Days Radio Parade on May 26. Participants will gather at the Fort Smith Convention Center and lead off the parade, which signifies the start of the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith.

Non-runners can also get in on the fun by taking part in a fun run/walk. The event is open to all ages.

The dash is being held in conjunction with the celebration of Fort Smith's Western Heritage Month. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the Color Dash will benefit  the Arkansas Oklahoma Regional Education and Promotion Association, Inc.'s "Old Fort Days" Scholarship program, in hopes of furthering student's education in the many fields of agriculture.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. Individual registration is $40, with discount pricing available for families. Participants can register online at the Color Dash website.

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