A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
Pianist Paul Bisaccia returns to Little Rock for a concert Friday, Feb. 16, featuring songs from his new CD release “I Love a Piano.” The concert will be held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 310 W. 17th St., beginning at 7:30 p.m. and is free.
The show marks Bisaccia’s third appearance in Trinity’s “Cathedral Concerts” series, and the crowd favorite includes something for everyone in his shows, with songs from the 1800s to contemporary favorites. Some of his show will feature work by such composers as Chopin, Debussy, Satie and Paderewski, while he’ll also delve into more recent work by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Scott Joplin, Harold Arlen and Marvin Hamlisch. Look for such classics as “In the Mood,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Misty” and “What I Did for Love.”
Call 372-0294 for more information.
Soup’s on again
Soup Sunday is back for its 26th consecutive year, benefiting the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. The event will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 11301 Financial Center Parkway.
More than 30 leading restaurants and caterers from Central Arkansas will participate in providing soup tastings, while live music and a silent auction will keep the adults entertained. A kids room will be available with magician..
Among the restaurants participating and what they’re serving are: Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Some, hot and sour soup; Capriccio Grill Italian Steakhouse, minestrone; Sufficient Grounds, minestrone; Graffiti’s, Cajun shrimp bisque; Olive Garden, pasta e fagioli (NLR location), zuppa Toscana (LR location); Capitol Bistro, potato-bacon and cheddar soup; Dixie Cafe, cheese broccoli soup; Fire Fall Grill, chili; The Villa, minestrone; Purple Cow, South of the Border soup; P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, hot and sour soup; Reno’s Argenta Cafe, white bean soup, and RSVP Catering, taco soup and crawfish etouffee with rice.
Tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 371-9678.
Fat Tuesday parties
“Fat Tuesday,” or Mardi Gras, is officially Feb. 20, but the parties start in Central Arkansas this week, beginning with a Fat Tuesday Kickoff at the Afterthought in Hillcrest at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Former New Orleans resident Ted Ludwig and his musician friends will perform.
Mardi Gras continues cranking ion Saturday thanks a couple of local organizations with a Mardi Gras parade down South Main Street. With an influx of Louisiana residents into the area since Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, the Southside Main Street Project decided to plan an all-day party starting at noon. The parade will feature beads, floats, marching bands and more starting at 18th and Main streets and will head northward to 12th Street, just short of Interstate 630.
After the parade, there’s more fun and food planned at a street party. Businesses on Main Street will feature specials, Juanita’s Party Room will have a children’s area, and entertainment and vendors will be all along Main Street.
The Downtown Dames, a Southside Main Street Project auxiliary, take over during the evening, playing host to a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball at the Woman’s City Club Ballroom at Fourth and Scott streets. The ball begins at 7 p.m. Saturday and will include a supper of heavy hors d’oeuvres and traditional New Orleans style hurricanes. Dixieland-music entertainment will be provided by the Happy Tymes Jazz Band, and a King Rex and Queen will be chosen from among people with the best costumes. Horse drawn carriage rides through downtown will also be available.
Tickets are $165 per couple, and all proceeds go to the Southside Main Street Project.
Call 372-3372 or visit downtowndames.com.
On Tuesday, the River Market district will be full of Mardi Gras fun. The “Little Rock Celebrates Mardi Gras” Party is planned for the River Market pavilions starting at 6 p.m. and running until midnight. Live music and plenty of beer will be provided, and admission is free. Also, Clear Channel Radio is sponsoring a second annual Fat Tuesday Parade through the River Market district. Commercial float entry fee is $100 (nonprofits are free), with proceeds going to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. Call 217-5153 for more information. The parade will begin at 7 p.m., with lineup at 6 p.m.
Plenty more Fat Tuesday action is scheduled; see the “In the Clubs.”