The Movies in the Park schedule has been announced. This year, we get to see Frozen, Office Space, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Hunger Games and ET, among others.
Movies in the park is a free summer event in Little Rock. Family friendly movies are shown on a projection screen in Riverfest Amphitheater in Riverfront Park.
The event is absolutely free. Here's the complete schedule. Check the article for more information.
June 11: Man of Steel (PG 13)
June 18: Office Space (R)
June 25: Eat Pray Love (PG 13)
July 2: Frozen (PG)
July 9: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (PG)
July 16: The Hunger Games (PG 13)
July 23: Friday Night Lights (PG 13)
July 30: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (PG)
This is the time of year when festivals are in full swing. Every weekend is a new festival celebrating some weird thing.
Talking about this with my friend, I came to realize that I've been to quite a few festivals in my day. Throw a corny festival in Arkansas, and I'm there. There's something about an Arkansas festival. I love seeing the crafts. I love seeing locals showing off their towns and talents in the best possible light. I love getting to know a little about Arkansas history and the people of our state. It's all pretty great, even if it is celebrating a pickle.
Here are twenty of my favorite unusual Arkansas festivals. Some are unusual for what their celebrating or the activities you can find there, and others are just unusually named. Most of them are being held in the next few months, so get out your planner and see some Arkansas towns you haven't seen!
A great way to spend spring break is to go see the tiger cubs at the Little Rock Zoo. These guys are full of energy and very cute. Seen above playing with their mom, Suhana. Liem, Eko, Olan and Asmara (there are four, only two are pictured) are on display at the zoo from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day, if the weather is nice. They come out with their mom, Suhana. Their dad, Liku, comes out in the afternoon. Tigers are solitary in the wild, and the male has to be separated after breeding.
The family is composed of rare Malayan tigers. Malayan tigers are some of the most endangered big cats in the world with less than 500 left in the wild.
If chimpanzees are your thing, that area is undergoing construction and you won't be able to see them. However, you can view the other great apes, including the gorilla family, though the view is a bit obstructed for some of them
Admission to the zoo is $12 for adults, $9 for kids and $2 for parking. In addition to the baby tigers, the zoo has some other fun stuff planned for spring break. More info.
Little Rock rocks. Find out seven reasons why. This is a take off of a Buzz Feed list I saw comparing Seattle to Denver. Those cities are great, but Little Rock is pretty awesome too. Find out 7 reasons why Little Rock beats the other cities.
A recent article on movoto.com rated Little Rock as the US's most dangerous city. Some of the startling statistics are:
Little Rock ranked second overall in terms of total crime, with 9,378 crimes per 100,000 in 2012. The chance of being a victim of one of those crimes stood at 1 in 21. The city's rank for property crime was only slightly better at third, with 8,062 per 100,000 (1 in 24 odds) during the same period.
Most of Little Rock's crime were minor crimes. People in Little Rock have a 1 in 149 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Your odds of being murdered are 1 in 8,524 according to this article.
A 1 in 21 chance of being the victim of a crime is pretty serious. Does Little Rock feel that dangerous to you? Let me know!
Cinco De Mayo is mostly an American holiday. It is not celebrated countrywide in Mexico. Americans commonly think it's Mexican Independence Day, but it actually celebrates one battle. On May 5, 1862 Mexico won an improbable battle in Puebla. The French went on to take Mexico City, but the victory is still remembered. Mexico actually celebrates its independence on September 16. More information on the holiday and traditions associated with it.
That being said, do we really care that it's not Independence Day? It's a great excuse to eat tacos and drink margaritas and that's ok with me. Most of our local Mexican restaurants celebrate with discounts and specials. Check out a list of the best Mexican restaurants in Little Rock.
Chuy's has all day happy hour with margaritas served in a commemorative cup, and free nacho cars from 4 to 7 p.m. El Porton has Cinco de Mayo margaritas and Mexican flag Jell-O shots. It's happy hour all day at El Porton. Local Lime has a new Ribeye special and $5 margaritas all day. Cantina Laredo has $3 draft Dos XX and $5 margaritas. Mexico Chiquito has $2 margaritas and $1 beer, and $1 off lunch and dinner plates.
The weather is going to be great for Cinco, so Casa Manana and their great deck is a super option too!
Mayflower and Vilonia have been hit hard by storms tonight. I've been following on Twitter with #arwx. That's the absolute best way to stay up to date with weather (that may not be over yet). If you click on the link above, you can follow local weather experts, even if you don't have Twitter. Many photos and videos are being posted of the damage. Tomorrow morning, the light of day will probably reveal even more damage and fatalities. So far, there are 16 fatalities: 10 in Faulkner County, 5 in Pulaski County and 1 in White County. Two of the fatalities are reported to be children.
The areas hit will need our help, but they won't need people who don't have help to offer. If you're not a first responder, don't visit the scene. First responders need to be able to get to people who haven't been reached. If you're going to look around, and not to contribute to the cleanup or aid, it's best to stay home for now. There's work to be done and, surely, more horrors to discover.
Authorities say if you want to volunteer time, head to a shelter (listed here) or join with a group listed below. Don't come through Mayflower or Vilonia on your own. Shelters also need goods (blankets, pillows, bottled water, non-perishable foods), so you can bring them to the shelters or the Faulkner County Sheriff's department.
If you're going to donate, be sure to send donations to reputable organizations. I've listed some national organizations that always help, like the Red Cross, and some smaller, local organizations like The Van and local churches. Some of these organizations want monetary donations, and some like goods or time.
- Red Cross Tornado Relief has a fund setup for the victims of this storm. Some who were hit tonight lost everything and had to rebuild just three ago (almost to the day). They will also probably need blood, as they always do when disasters strike.
- The Salvation Army has a Tornado Relief fund too.
- Apostolic Church in North Little Rock accepting donations beginning at 9 a.m. Monday. Donations of tarps, flashlights, batteries, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food items, gloves, toiletries, chainsaws, blankets and bottled water can be dropped off at 4315 Landers Rd. in North Little Rock. 501-945-2655.
- New Life Church is accepting donations to their tornado relief fund setup at the Arkansas Dream Center Page.
- Holiday Inn Express in Maumelle will be a drop off site for donations . They need bottled water, non perishable food items, blankets, clothes, baby items, books and stuffed animals. Holiday Inn Express is located at 200 Holiday Dr, Maumelle, AR 72113.
- The Van is accepting donations. Check their Facebook for more info. You can donate cash to The One (the organization behind the Van) online. The Van is in Vilonia right now helping out.
- The United Methodists of Arkansas have setup a disaster relief fun.
- Mosaic Church has a fund for several Mosaic families that were affected by the Tornado.
- Arkansas Foodbank is onsite and they are accepting donations of food or money.
- Arkansas Rice Depot is preparing Disaster Meal Kits and accepting donations.
- CARE is accepting donations for the pets affected by the storms. Monetary donations from "Paws in the Pantry" go to help tornado victims, but they are also accepting pet food donations.
- ZAZA, Local Lime and Big Orange are sponsoring "Feed the Recovery." Make a donation to the Red Cross recovery effort there and you get free food, and 10% of sales now through Wednesday go to relief efforts. The free meal changes based on the restaurant (ZAZA is a free pizza for a $50 donation, Big Orange is a free burger for a $50 donation and Local Lime is free enchiladas, salad or taco plate). You also get entered for dinner for 2.
- Better Business Bureau in Little Rock is accepting non-perishable foods, water, tooth brushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, deodorant, etc. (12521 Kanis Road, 501-664-7274).
- North Point Ford-Lincoln in North Little Rock is accepting donations such as toiletries, bathing products, clothing, water, non-perishable food items, power tools and anything that would be helpful at 4400 Landers Road.
- Little Rock FOP is gathering donation items in the gym to be delivered to the areas effected by the tornadoes. The date / time of delivery is to be determined and will be posted to Facebook. Donation suggestions: non-perishable food items, plastic food containers, zip lock bags, diapers, wipes, formula, deodorant, toothbrushes / toothpaste, shampoo, soap, pet carriers, dry or canned pet food, bottled water, Gatorade, etc. Located at 1700 E. 2nd St. in Little Rock.
Lots of people have asked who I personally am donating to, so they can narrow the list. Personally, I will give to the Red Cross, The One/The Van and the Arkansas Foodbank. I think all three of these organizations do great work. Anyone on the list you donate to will do good things with the money you donate!
Here are a few other useful links:
- KATV has a list of shelters and NOAA weather radio stations. The weather isn't over yet, so don't put away your NOAA radio.
- KARK has the six shelters listed too.
- The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Situation Report for last night.
- Brian Emfinger has some powerful aerial footage of the devastation.
- Highway conditions on iDriveArkansas show that some highways are impassable right now. Be sure you check them out if you're planning to go the direction of the storms.
- The National Weather Service Tornado Readiness page won't help tonight, but get prepared for the next storm.
- KATV has an app that will live stream weather for you. It's available for Android and iPhone under "KATV Weather." It's helpful if you lose power and don't have a television.
Visiting Heifer International's Global Village is a great way to spend a day during spring break. The village is an interactive global education facility. It's also, in traditional Heifer fashion, an environmentally sensitive facility. The goal of the center is to education visitors about global hunger and the solutions that Heifer provides. It's designed in concentric circles. Heifer says this is due to the idea of concentric rings of influence, like a pebble hitting a pool of water, where a single animal given to one family provides sustenance many times over as subsequent families receive an offspring.
For spring break, they've got special activities, crafts and of scavenger hunts that will inspire kids and adults to make a difference around the world.
Looking for some stuff to do over spring break? I have a few ideas listed here.
State Parks are always a good bet. Pinnacle is offering mini-camps for kids. If you haven't been to the Museum of Discovery, that's a good choice too. Sid the Science Kid will be there on Thursday, March 27
You can check out all these ideas and more on my list.
Jazz in the park was a lot of fun last year and it's back again. The Jazz in the Park series is a series of free weekly concerts will held each Wednesday night from 6:00 to 8:00 April 2 through April 30 at the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park. It kicks up again in June.
They've announced their April lineup. Check it out.
Speaking of "in the park," Movies in the Park, the free movies shown at First Security Bank Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park, is coming back this year too. They haven't announced their line up, but it's always a great family outing.