Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hopping in Little Rock

I guess when the weather starts to cool, people start to gather themselves because dozens of events were on offer this weekend in Little Rock. There was a 100-mile bike ride ending on the same street where Katie's farmer's market is held. That whole area was blocked off for the riders and their fans, and people were selling stuff on the sidelines. We managed to get our vegetables and visit with Katie at the market, despite the hubbub, but it was a challenge.

The Clinton library sponsored a Saturday morning art program with kids drawing chalk murals on the sidewalks. We could have joined 150 other volunteers doing a landscape makeover at the Little Rock Zoo. There was also an event called Worldfest promoting cultural diversity and held in conjunction with the anniversary of the integration of Central High School by the Little Rock Nine (as they're known now) in 1957. That event featured music and speakers from around the world.

We decided to check out the Hillcrest Harvest Festival since it was right in our neighborhood. A chili contest was the main event, but people were also selling stuff, gathering signatures (for health reform and carbon caps), and showing off antique cars. We wandered around among our neighbors, enjoying the fine weather and all the people-watching. Lots of grey-haired seniors, parents with babies in strollers, young adults sporting tatoos and skateboards, and matrons leading their dogs through the crowds. I was heartened by all the diversity (for a change).

For us, the day's main event was when our next-door neighbor, Kevin Kirby, took the stage with his group, Battery. Kevin's wife is a nurse named Carole Ann and they have two kids, Gus (age 7) and Bess (age 3). His wife told me that she used to put headphones on the kids to protect their ears when they were listening to his band. But the street was an ideal place for a kid-friendly performance this afternoon: toddlers were dancing in front of the band while the rest of us tapped our toes and nodded in the sunshine. People sang along. It was very fun. Here is a fun video of Kevin playing in his backyard.

I guess the fun will continue throughout the fall. Next month, for instance, the Certified All Arkansas Farmers market will have a "Fall Foodie Fest" to remind consumers about buying locally grown foods. Mick made them this beautiful poster. Do I dare to point out the Arkansas dragonfly that Mick added to this poster? It's a local, too.

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