Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus
7 p.m., Barton Coliseum, $14-$45.
In 1871 P.T. Bailey declared his Wisconsin circus “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Its heir, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, is coming to Little Rock for a four-day stand at Barton Coliseum. This particular incarnation, “An Upside-Down World,” features, as the show's title suggests, performers doing all sorts of crazy stunts while hanging upside-down. Come an hour early to meet the carneys and the animals at a free pre-show party. Tickets range from $14 to $45 and are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 975-7575. Show times are 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Hope Watermelon Festival
Through Sunday, City Park at Jones St. and Hwy 174 in Hope.
The watermelons keep getting bigger and bigger in Hope. In 1925, Hugh Laseter nursed a 125-pound whopper of a watermelon into being; in 2005, Lloyd Bright created a 268.8-pound baby. How do they grow them so big? What do they do with all that melon? Get answers to these questions and more at the 31st annual Hope Watermelon Festival this weekend. Opening night events include a Kiwanis Club BBQ chicken supper from 5-7 p.m. and a dog show at 6 p.m. Contestants will compete for the Traveling Trophy at the Watermelon Olympics at 6 p.m. on Friday and Little Miss and Little Mr. Watermelon will be crowned at 6:30 p.m. Saturday is jam-packed with events, including a bass tournament, a car show, a baseball card show and a motorcycle show, as well as the more melon-centric eating and seed-spitting contests. The watermelon judging is at 10 p.m. Gospel, bluegrass and country music entertainers will perform. Visit the Hope Chamber of Commerce website at www.hopechamberofcommerce.com for a complete schedule of events and an entry form for the Watermelon Olympics.
7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Windsong Performing Arts Center, $65.
In 1964, Gary Lewis and the Playboys found instant success when their debut single “This Diamond Ring” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The tune was notable for more than its chart position: Al Kooper, who played keys on Dylan's “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde,” co-authored the song and Leon Russell contributed to the arrangement. Lewis followed that chart-topper with six consecutive Top Ten singles, but the end of the ride came when he was drafted into the Army in 1967. Discharged a year later, he never regained his earlier momentum as rock began to move away from the teeny bop sounds that dominated the early '60s. Backed by a new version of the Playboys, Lewis is sure to break out all the old hits tonight. Located at 7318 Windsong Drive in North Little Rock, the group will play two shows at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For directions, call 758-8694 or visit www.windsongcenter.com.
Oh No! Oh My!
9 p.m., Revolution, $10.
Oh yeah! The Austin-based indie rock trio Oh No! Oh My! makes a stop along its nationwide tour in Little Rock tonight. In DIY fashion, the band self-released its 2006 debut before issuing the EP “Between the Devil and the Sea” last month on Dim Mak. The five-track collection includes the single “The Party Punch.” If their other songs are like this one, concert-goers can expect a breezy, upbeat set with songs following a fairly predictable twee-pop template. Opener Snowglobe, a Memphis outfit, uses piano and horns to create a fuller sound that still bounces along within the confines of pop-rock.