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Arty May days 

Eureka Spring’s month-long festival kicks off.

click to enlarge DEL CASTILLO: At THE Auditorium.
  • DEL CASTILLO: At THE Auditorium.

Art and music lovers, Eureka Springs is calling your name in May. The 21st edition of the city's month-long Festival of the Arts kicks off this weekend with music, arts and crafts sales, a car show, an art parade and a literary festival. And that's just three of more than 30 days.

The month is so full of activity, organizer Eric Young says, it's impossible to designate one event as the centerpiece. “We have two parades, two dances in the park, shows in the auditorium, music in the park, art walks — there's just too much to choose from.”

But, because you're not likely to abandon job and responsibilities for the entire month, here's a look at some of the highlights:

Shop for arts and crafts and mingle with lions and tigers and bears at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Spring Arts and Crafts Fair, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Catch what organizer Young calls “one of the craziest parades out there,” the themed ARTrageous Parade, on Spring Street, at 2 p.m. Saturday. Read a book, or rather hear an author read from his book at “Books in Bloom,” noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Crescent Hotel. Along with Times contributors Mara Leveritt and John Brummett, romance writer Laura Parker Castoro, memoirist Janis Kearney and Southern novelist Jack Riggs will be among those featured.

The following weekend, Austin, Texas' Del Castillo blends flamenco, Latin rock with bits of blues and R&B at THE Auditorium, 8 p.m., Friday, May 8, $25. On Mother's Day May 10, platinum-selling performer John Two-Hawks offers Native American flute music at THE Auditorium, 2 p.m., $10 (mothers get in free).

From May 14-16, the Eternal Sword Temperance Union at the Grand Central Hotel presents “Temperance Tantrums,” a musical spoof of a 19th century anti-booze rally. The dinner theater starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $50 per person. Reservations recommended. Get more info at temperancetantrum.com. It's Kids Weekend, too, with interactive arts and crafts, clowns and more downtown throughout the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17, the Annual Mid-America Photographic Symposium brings together professionals and hobbyists in workshops and presentations. Register online at ww.mapsym.org.

From May 22-25, look out for Bobby Maverick, comedian, magician and escape artist. He'll be in and around Basin Park all weekend.

If you plan on attending the Eureka Springs Blues Weekend, which closes out the festival May 28-31, you better book lodging now. Over the course of four days, the event features some 70 performances at 15 different venues, including name acts like Guitar Shorty, Hubert Sumlin & the Buddy Flett Band, David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Joe Louis Walker. Tickets range from $15 for individual shows to $235 for a VIP weekend package. Proceeds benefit the Blues Foundation's Handy Artist Relief Fund and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Get more information at eurekaspringsblues.com.

Frustratingly, there's no central web schedule for the May Festival of the Arts. However, once you're in Eureka, you should be able to find printed ones in Basin Spring Park.

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