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.
7 p.m. Oaklawn. $25-$35.
To say The Temptations are appearing in Hot Springs this weekend is to speak the whole truth in legal terms and a partial truth in everyday terms. Of the group, a sharply dressed vocal quintet from Detroit who defined the sound of Motown (and of '60s R&B), only one living original member remains: Otis Williams, a 73-year-old baritone nicknamed "Big Daddy." The rest of the lineup has been filled out with competent and even brilliantly talented singers, most of whom joined in the late '90s. There is an exception, however, and he is Dennis Edwards. Edwards, who replaced the great David Ruffin in 1968, is in large part responsible for the band's inspired turn toward psychedelic soul in the years that followed ("Cloud Nine," "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)," etc.). In other words, he did the impossible — putting his stamp on a legacy that seemed already so enshrined and immortal as to be immovable. As a solo artist, Edwards also went on to make one of the most incredible pop songs of 1984, "Don't Look Any Further," which lent its instantly recognizable bassline to Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full," Lil Wayne's "Way of Life," and several other great rap songs. It was also the basis for an episode of "The X-Files," which had something to do with God and hypnotism. Edwards will be there this weekend, and so you should be, too. WS
GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
Forget the bundt cakes! It's baklava you want, and plenty of it, at the annual big fat Greek Food Festival. Head out to the Greek Orthodox church at 1100 Napa Valley Drive to feast on souvlaki, gyros, Greek pizza, fried squid, fried cheese, you name it, all in the name of charity. Besides the food, there will be things to buy in the Old World Market, like Russian nesting dolls, ceramics, jewelry and more, and you can cool off by taking a tour of the church. The top musical act is Heather Batchelor (8:15 p.m. Friday) and there will be dancing and more dancing by Greek, Indian, Irish and Middle Eastern groups and Mexican Ballet Folklorico. Arkansas Children's Hospital, Community Connections, Easter Seals and Harmony Health Clinic will benefit from your healthy appetite (don't forget you can buy plenty of food to go through the drive-through). Go to greekfoodfest.com for a map, schedule and where to catch the trolley from the parking area on Napa Valley. LNP
STEVE MILLER BAND
7:30 p.m. Walmart AMP. $31-$75.50.
Much like Bob Dylan, Steve Miller's career can be divided into two distinct periods: before and after a serious vehicular accident. In Dylan's case it was a motorcycle crash that laid him up in Woodstock and inspired "The Basement Tapes." In Miller's, it was a 1971 car accident that left him with a broken neck and inspired — indirectly or not — a little album called "The Joker." Its title track would forever haunt the legacy of the Steve Miller Band, which had previously been an above-average acid rock group spawned in LSD-era San Francisco and known for gorgeous, trippy art-rock missives like "Sailor" ("Dear Mary," from that LP, remains Miller's high-water mark as a songwriter and one of the most moving '60s psych-rock ballads ever recorded). Meanwhile, "The Joker" and all the albums the followed it are – to paraphrase Renata Adler — jarringly, piece by piece, line by line, and without interruption, worthless. So by all means, go see the Steve Miller Band. But when they launch into "The Joker," with its nursery rhyme meter and unforgiveable utterances ("Some call me the gangster of love") and nonsense words (what exactly, Steve, is the "pompitous of love"?), just know that once, back before the crash, a long time ago, Steve Miller was a very different man. WS
JAZZLIGHTS IN THE PARK
1 p.m. Clinton Presidential Park. $20 adv., $25 d.o.s.
This annual fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas bills its lineup as "modern, progressive jazz," which on further investigation seems to mean "a wide variety of genres that are often unjustly relegated into the background." Or if that's what you're after: "music to bliss out to while hanging out near the river." Jonathan Butler, a South African guitarist and vocalist famous for his slightly jazz-inflected, quiet storm R&B, is the headliner. He's joined by three of Arkansas's finest acts: charismatic genre straddling band Amasa Hine, jazz combo Rodney Block & the Real Music Lovers, and the Ted Ludwig Trio, led by the seven-string guitar stylings of New Orleans transplant Ludwig. TP and the Feel, Twice Sax, That Arkansas Weather and The Boys and Girls Club Jazz Band round out the lineup. Plus, country-folk dynamo Bonnie Montgomery performs with a backing band in the beer garden. Kids under 10 get into the event for free. LM
THE ED CROMWELL LEGACY
5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. panel discussion. Arkansas Arts Center. Free.
Architect Ed Cromwell was both preservationist and visionary. He worked to keep downtown Little Rock from losing its historic gems, such as the Capital Hotel, which he helped renovate with a $10 million federal grant. He saw the importance of the Arkansas River to the city and the need for a riverfront park. His vision led to the creation of the Quapaw Quarter Association, and for 25 years he was chair of the board of directors of the Historic Arkansas Museum's predecessor, the Arkansas Territorial Restoration. Cromwell was also forward-looking, designing the Maumelle New Town planned community on 5,000 acres owned by Jess Odom. Buildings he designed in Little Rock include the Arkansas Arts Center, Christ Episcopal Church and the Governor's Mansion. His impact on the look of Little Rock and Arkansas will be discussed by Charles Penix, chief operating officer of the firm Cromwell founded, Cromwell Architects and Engineers; Bill Worthen, director of the Historic Arkansas Museum; and Don Evans, an architect and associate, in this free event sponsored by the Architecture and Design Network. LNP
BOOKS IN BLOOM LITERARY FESTIVAL
Noon. 1886 Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs. Free.
It might be hard to imagine a place better for outdoors, springtime reading than Eureka Springs, that magical little town of burbling springs, Victorian architecture and lush Ozark greenery. Just thinking about sitting on a sun-warmed bench in Basin Park with a good book cracked on my lap makes me want to chuck it all and hit the road for Eureka. If you're a reader, this weekend might be a good time to do just that. For 10 years now, Eureka Springs' Books in Bloom Literary Festival has been helping great readers meet great writers. Held on the grounds of the soaring 1886 Crescent Hotel, this year's event features appearances by over a dozen nationally known authors and creative writing teachers, including humorist Roy Blount Jr., fiction writer William Bernhardt, former University of Arkansas English professor Margaret Jones Bolsterli, Mississippi short fiction writer Steve Yates, thriller author Tess Gerritsen and Ozark burial customs expert Abby Burnett. Best of all, it's absolutely free. For more information about authors, presentations and events at this year's Books in Bloom, visit the festival's website at booksinbloom.org. DK