Slice the melon 

Ace Cannon, the renowned saxophonist, and classic hitmaker “Jumpin’ ” Gene Simmons will make music to eat cold watermelon by when they perform Friday, Aug. 12, at the 29th annual Hope Watermelon Festival at Fair Park. The festival opens Thursday, Aug. 11, with a street dance to the tunes of Nighthawk, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 14. Look for seed-spitting and watermelon-eating contests on Saturday, gospel on Sunday by the Chuck Wagon Gang, and music throughout the festival. Admission is free. Parking is $2. Fair Park is on Park Drive off state Highway 174, six blocks south of U.S. Highway 67. Call 870-777-3640 or visit www.hopemelonfest.com. Strong arms in action Winners in an arm-wrestling competition set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13-14, at the Doubletree Hotel in Little Rock will go on to represent the United States in the 2005 World Armwrestling Federation World Championships held in Japan. The United States ArmSports Unified National Armwrestling Championship will hold weigh-ins from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday. Open competition starts at 1 p.m. Saturday. Entry fees are $30; spectator admission is $5. Awards will be presented to the first through sixth place in all weight classes. Mountain musician Bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley, 75, who sang the plaintive “Oh Death” for the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” will perform a two-hour show starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. Stanley, who with his brother founded the history-making Stanley Brothers duo in the 1950s, just released the album “Ralph Stanley” on Columbia Records. Stanley performed with the Down from the Mountain Tour in 2002. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the Folk Center, 870-269-3851, or online at www.ozarkfolkcenter.com. Concert tickets will get adults into the craft ground for $5, children for $4. Diamond in the park n Country stars Diamond Rio, whose hits include “Love a Little Stronger,” “Meet in the Middle,” and “Unbelievable,” will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Timberwood Amphitheatre in Magic Springs and Crystal Falls theme park. Diamond Rio formed in 1986, and 22 hit singles later is back on the record charts with the album “Completely.” Band members are Dana Williams on bass and vocals; Jimmy Olander on guitar; Dan Truman on keyboards; Gene Johnson on mandolin and vocals; Brian Prout on drums, and Marty Roe on vocals. Admission is free with park entry fee or $24.99 after 5 p.m. An added $5 buys a reserved seat. Next up: The Charlie Daniels Band on Aug. 20. For more information, call 501-624-0100. The park is located on Hwy. 70 East in Hot Springs. Book sale The Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL) will hold a Back-to-School Book Sale Friday, Aug. 12, through Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Main Library and the Cox Creative Center. Paperbacks will be 50 cents and hardbacks $1 at the Main Library, 100 Rock St., and “gently used” books will be sold at 50 percent off at the Cox center’s River Market Books and Gifts, 120 Commerce. School librarians and teachers will receive an additional 25 percent discount. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. FOCAL members will be admitted at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday; memberships are available at the door. For more information call 918-3033 or 918-3086, or www.cals.org. Sah-wing, batter The Arkansas Travelers return from a week on the road with a series against the Midland Rockhounds starting Monday, Aug. 15, at Ray Winder Field. Monday and Wednesday games start at 7:10 p.m. A doubleheader Tuesday starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. The Travelers had three home runs in their 9-1 defeat of the Springfield Cardinals Aug. 2. Call 664-1555 for more information.

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