"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
ARKANSAS BLUES AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Thu.-Sat., Oct. 4-6
Downtown Helena. Free.
Your baby left you? Dog died? Not a cent to your name? Head on down to Helena, because they've got the blues too. This is the 22nd anniversary of the festival, which offers tasty eats (turkey leg, anyone?) as well as soulful music. Highlights include Blinddog Smokin' with special guest Bobby Rush; Pintetop Perkins and “Steady Rollin' ” Bob Margolin; Michael Burks; Hubert Sumlin and The Willie “Big Eyes” Smith Band, and the Robert Lockwood Junior Band with Wallace Coleman and Cleveland Fats. And you won't be singin' the blues about cost, because this event is still free. KW
Fri.-Sat., Oct. 5-6
Hill Wheatley Plaza, Hot Springs. $5-$7.
Nothing says fall like lederhosen, pretzels and beer — lots and lots of beer. But it's not just beer connoisseurs who'll want to join in the revelry of the 33rd annual Oktoberfest. There's something for everyone — from a strong-arm contest to pretzel making to dancing lessons. You won't want to miss appearances by Mrs. Arkansas, the Waterloo German Band (clad in traditional garb) and the Village Polka Dots (wearing, you guessed it, matching polka dot vests). Somewhere Lawrence Welk rejoices. Why drink a six-pack and saw logs on the couch at home when you can go to Hot Springs, imbibe some fine brew and participate in the Saw Log Competition? KW
THE RAT PACK
Fri.-Sat., Oct. 5-6
Robinson Center Music Hall. $16-$70.
A ring a ding ding! This “Symphonic Celebration” of Vegas-style crooners features vocalists Eric Jordan Young, Sal Viviano and Nat Chandler. An international hit, “The Rat Pack” celebrates the classic songs of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, including “Volare,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Mr. Bojangles,” and more. Choreographed and performed with the full Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, you'll think you're swingin' at the Sands Hotel. And remember, what happens in Robinson Auditorium, stays in Robinson Auditorium. KW
ARKANSAS RIVER FAMILY FEST
Sat.-Sun., Oct. 6-7
North Shore Park, North Little Rock. $7-$10
An encore of this week's Maumelle Familyfest, for people who couldn't get enough or think Maumelle is too far away, the two-day Arkansas River Familyfest is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of get-down for kids and grown-folks alike. To wit: “The largest petting zoo in the state,” pony rides, carnival rides, magic shows, a screening of “Star Wars,” an Elvis impersonator and lots of up-and-coming local talent, including crooner Josef Hedinger (formerly of Starkz), bombastic pop-rockers Latture and the winners of Little Rock Star. Tickets are available at Harvest Foods throughout central Arkansas. LM
EUREKA FOLK FESTIVAL
Wed.-Sun., Oct. 10-14
City Auditorium, Eureka Springs. $10-$44.
This mammoth, city-wide event starts Wednesday night with the Queens Contest, then continues through Sunday with musical performances in the City Auditorium and various venues throughout town. There will be a parade on Saturday at 2 p.m. with a songwriter's contest in Basin Spring Park to follow. This 60th annual festival, the oldest festival in the Ozark Mountains, features the legendary Odetta and the ubiquitous Trout Fishing in America, among other talents. Though it's grown in numbers, it still has the intimate feel of a down-home hootenanny. KW
Thu.-Sat., Oct. 11-13
Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $22-$45.
Hailed as one of the nation's best ballet companies by the New York Times, the Houston Ballet will perform three nights only in Fayetteville at the Walton Arts Center. On Thursday and Friday nights, the troupe will take on the two-act ballet “Madame Butterfly.” Immortalized on Broadway as “Miss Saigon,” the tragic love story unfolds when a young geisha falls for a foreigner. On Saturday, it's Repertory Night: The company will deliver dance pieces “Clear,” “Hush” and “Velocity.” After the show, the audience will be invited to mix and mingle with the dancers and with members of the Northwest Arkansas Dance Coalition. NB