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Fort Smith hosts Riverfront Blues, True Grit Ride, and Women of Vision

event preview by Brittany Ransom
bransom@thecitywire.com

School is out and summer is almost here, which means there is lots to do and see in the Fort Smith area. Locals can take in some tunes at the Riverfront Blues Festival, test their limits at the True Grit Ride, celebrate Women of Vision, or learn about some local history in the weeks to come.

• Clayton House Tea-"Servants of the Law: Reflections of Two Prosecutors, 140 Years Apart”
The Clayton House will continue its themed afternoon tea series with a special presentation, “Servants of the Law: Reflections of Two Prosecutors, 140 Years Apart” on June 14. The tea will feature guest speaker Dan Shue, Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney. He will  discuss the differences and similarities he faces in his criminal law work today with that of William H. H. Clayton, the U.S. Attorney in Fort Smith’s frontier federal court.

Refreshments and music by guitarist Rick Watson will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by the program at 2 p.m. Desserts will be provided by the Danish Bakehouse in Fort Smith.
Admission is $10. Space is limited and reservations are encouraged. For more information, call 783-3000.

• Riverfront Blues Festival
Summertime always brings the blues to town, and this year is no exception. Fort Smith will host the 24th Annual Riverfront Blues Festival on June 20-21 with singer songwriter Paul Thorn and blues legend Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials co-headlining the event.

Recognized as one of the "Top 100 Events in North America" by the American Bus Association, this year's festival will include acts such as Smokin Crawdadz, Blind Boy Paxton, Samantha Fish, and Jigsaw Mud. The line-up will also feature 2009 International Blues Challenge winner J.P.Soars, and musician Patrick Dodd,  who appeared as a contestant on season four of NBC's "The Voice."

In addition to great music, food, drink and other vendors will be on-site. Guests must have I.D. to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Admission to the festival is $10. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with an adult. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs. Coolers, camcorders and recording devices are prohibited.

The Riverfront Blues Festival is produced by the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Society, which sponsors the "Blues in Schools" educational program and the Barry Ratliff Memorial Scholarship for area music students.

• True Grit Ride
Cyclists can test their toughness at the third annual True Grit Ride on June 21. Benefitting the Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith, the event will offer 10, 35, 50, 75-mile routes, as well as the True Grit 100-mile trail all beginning at Ben Geren Park.

Race start times will be staggered, beginning with the 75 and 100-mile riders at 7 a.m. All riders must be lined up and ready to go at 6:50 a.m. Following the races, a finish line celebration will be held that will include delicious BBQ and sweet tea.

Registration is $40. Participants are encouraged to register online to guarantee shirt size, but registration will be available the day before and the day of the event. For more information, call 782-5074.

• Fort Smith Museum Remembers Boston Store Tea Room
The Fort Smith Museum of History will celebrate the iconic Boston Store and Tea Room, which was an area staple in fashion and society for nearly 100 years, on June 21.

Dating back to 1879 when it operated as Baer Brothers, the store was the first of its kind in the Fort Smith area, offering shoppers high-quality merchandise including the latest in fashion and accessories. The department store operated on Garrison Avenue until 1972, when it relocated to the newly opened Central Mall. The Boston Store also operated a popular Tea Room which served delicious sandwiches and desserts in an elegant atmosphere. The store closed permanently in 1984.

The Museum will present a recreation of the famed Tea Room serving up some of the store's best known treats. Guests will also enjoy a fashion show of vintage clothing and accessories purchased from the Boston Store, modeled by Western Arkansas Ballet dancers and Museum Board Members.

The program will begin at 1 p.m. at the Fort Smith Museum of History.  Admission to is $25 per person. To RSVP, call 783-7841.

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• Women of Vision
Girls, Inc. Fort Smith will hosts its 2014 Women of Vision Luncheon on June 26. The event will feature special guest speaker, Alexis Ware, founder and executive director of Lessons for Life, Inc.

Lunch will be held at the Holiday Inn City Center in downtown Fort Smith. It will begin at 11:30 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m. A silent auction and 50/50 drawing will also be held. All proceeds will benefit Girls, Inc. of Fort Smith, which inspires all girls to be "strong, smart, and bold."

Individual tickets are $35, with corporate tables of 10 available for $350. To purchase or for more information, call 782-0375.

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