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.
Hot Springs invades White Water Tavern, with The White Glove Test and Healer bringing the rock, 9 p.m. Lucero kicks off a two-night stand at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, joined by Shawn James & The Shapeshifters Thursday night and Benjamin Del Shreve on Friday night, 9 p.m., $24. The Arkansas Choral Society presents a performance of Handel's "Messiah," First Pentecostal Church, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15. The Joint hosts 5 Point Cove, Leta Joyner and The Dangerous Idiots, 9:30 p.m., $5. The Little Rock Wind Symphony performs "Christmas with the Wind Symphony," Second Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m., $8-$10. Authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will discuss "Double Down," the follow up to their No. 1 best-selling book, "Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime," Clinton School of Public Service, 6 p.m., free.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown play an 18-and-older gig with Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts, Stickyz, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. Folk singers Lisa Lamoureux and Robb McCormick perform at Vino's, 9 p.m. Ramona Smith and The Soul Rhythms headline at Cajun's Wharf, with Richie Johnson handling happy hour, 5:30 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. KSSN 96's Annual Toy Hill toy drive kicks off. Bring new, unopened and unwrapped toys to donate and enjoy some music, parades and more, Clear Channel Metroplex, 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. It's time for the Arkansas Craft Guild's 35th Annual Christmas Showcase, Statehouse Convention Center, 10 a.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.; Sunday 10 a.m., $5.
The Little Rock Folk Club brings in the eclectic outfit Harpeth Rising, 7:30 p.m., $8-$15, Unitarian Universalist Church. The Arkansas Chamber Singers' 9th Annual Capitol Event features dinner and a silent auction, overlooking fireworks over the Capitol building, The Little Rock Club, 5 p.m., $125. The inaugural Santa Paws Cocktail Party is a benefit for Little Rock Animal Village with holiday drinks and hors d'oeuvres, prizes, entertainment and photos with Santa, Oxford American, 7:30 p.m., $30.
Bethel AME's 150th Anniversary Celebration Banquet features speaker Rodney Slater, the former U.S. transportation secretary, and music from Rodney Block & Co. Little Rock Marriott, 5 p.m., $100.