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A year of sipping 

Event becomes the toast of Hillcrest

The Arkansas Times-sponsored Shop ’n’ Sip in Hillcrest (also known as First Thursday) celebrated its first year anniversary in September. In that year, the event, held on the first Thursday of every month, has grown from late hours at a few Hillcrest stores and drink specials at area restaurants to a convivial minor Mardi Gras, with outdoor entertainment, snacks and free beverages. “It’s definitely grown,” said Dr. Dennis Burrow, president of the Hillcrest Merchants’ Association. “We’ve had people from out of state come out.” A Riverdale Shop ’n’ Sip is expected to debut later in the year. A free trolley service (operated by Central Arkansas Transit) takes riders on a loop from Stifft Station to the turnaround point at Hocott’s Garden Center on Kavanaugh, back to Van Buren, south to A Street, east to Jackson, north to Lee, then back up Beechwood to Kavanaugh. Riders disembarking there can also catch a trolley that takes them to a similar merchants’ event in the Heights. Through contributions from the Hillcrest Neighborhood Association, the trolley service expanded its hours in July. It now runs from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., giving people more time to shop, eat and drink. Two regular riders on the trolley are famed do-gooder and hat maven Willie Oates and Burrow. This summer he wore a seersucker suit and straw hat; he is considering making the ride in a top hat and tails this fall and winter. Burrow said the Shop ’n’ Sip event has not only been a boon for neighborhood merchants, but for families looking for fun as well. “We have people who bring their kids to ride around on the trolley every time,” he said. The trolley’s been such a success that Burrow is now negotiating with CATA to run a trolley through Hillcrest to the Park Plaza shopping mall during the holidays. *** One of the 15 merchants who participate in Shop ’n’ Sip is the eclectic gift and clothing store Box Turtle Imports and Gifts (2616 Kavanaugh Blvd., 661-1167). I made a recent visit to look over the selections from Lake, a line of clothing that Little Rock designer Lakey Goff-Miller makes of deconstructed and re-formed vintage clothing. The Lake pieces include vintage short jackets in to their original glory to dresses and blouses remade by layering several different pieces. An art deco-style green suit jacket from the 1940s will set you back $120. Most of the dresses used lingerie — slips, camisoles and corsets — to make flowing, frilly creations. A black day dress with a pink sash struck my fancy. The dresses were priced $120 and up. Box Turtle also has contemporary clothes, including soft belted suede car coats in celadon green and black for $206. More comfy-looking items included fuzzy sweaters and thick, bulky bathrobes. Other items of note included flip-flops with plastic kitten heels (now 30 percent off), Bloom cosmetics, Dr. Hauschka skin care items and tiny trunks decorated on the inside with religious icons. The next Shop ’n’ Sip event is Thursday, Oct. 7, and begins at 5 p.m.
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