Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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A full day of fun and music today at Riverfest

Riverfest2015_tstDay TWO of Riverfest is full of music on four stages as well as many other activities.

Miller Light/AFCU Stage

Little Rock School of Dance starts the day on the Miller Light/AFCU Stage at 11:30, followed by I CAN! Dance (12:15), KidSmart (1pm) and O’Donovans School of Irish Dance (1:45pm).  At 2:30, Kyla Horton performs followed by Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts (3:30) and Adam Hambrick (4:45).

At 6pm Ben Rector goes on stage.  Robert Earl Keen takes the stage at 7:45.  The final act of the night is Kip Moore at 9:30.


Bud Light Stage

Things get going on the Bud Light stage at 11:30 with the winning band from Rock ‘n’ Stroll.  Then at 1pm, Brothers & Company are next.  They are followed by American Lions (2:15), Recess (3:30) and 40 Oz to Freedom (4:30).

At 6pm Sister Hazel takes the stage.  Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony are next at 8pm.  The evening lineup ends when 311 goes on stage at 9:45.


Stickyz Music Stage

At 12:30, the People’s Republic of Casio Tones starts the day on the Stickyz Music Stage.  They will be followed by Open Fields (1:45), Move Orchestra (3:00), Ghost Bones (4:15) and Bobgoblin (5:30).

The Whigs claim the stage at 6:45 followed by Vinyl Thief at 8:15.  Mansion on the Moon goes on at 9;45.


Yarnell’s Kidzone Stage

  • 11:30 pm Little Rock Zoo Creature Feature
  • 12:15 pm The Kazoobie Kazoo Show w/Rick Hubbard
  • 1:15 p.m. FreezeFest Ice Cream Eating Competition
  • 1:30 p.m. Little Rock Zoo Creature Feature
  • 2:15 pm Break Shop Bump’n
  • 3:00 p.m. Kenya Safari Acrobats
  • 3:45 p.m. FreezeFest Ice Cream Eating Competition
  • 4:00 p.m. The Kazoobie Kazoo Show w/Rick Hubbard
  • 5:00 p.m. Break Shop Bump’n
  • 5:45 p.m. Kenya Safari Acrobats
  • 6:30 p.m. FreezeFest Ice Cream Eating Competition
  • 6:45 p.m. The Kazoobie Kazoo Show w/Rick Hubbard
  • 7:45 pm Break Shop Bump’n
  • 8:30 p.m. DJ Dev

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Heritage Month – Lincoln Viaduct

ahpp_nom_lincolnaveviaduct_largeToday kicks off the start of the Memorial Day weekend.  Since Memorial Day grew out of the Civil War-based Decoration Day, today’s property is named for a Civil War leader: Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct is traversed by thousands of cars each day, with most having no idea the name of the structure.  The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct is the arched bridge connecting LaHarpe with Cantrell Road which (literally) bridges downtown with the west along Highway 10.

The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct is a reinforced concrete rainbow arch bridge. It was opened at 2:05 p.m. on Friday, December 28, 1928, and, despite later alterations, it remains particularly well-preserved. The Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, considered the most important railroad company in the state, constructed the bridge amid a series of improvements in Little Rock made necessary by the damage wrought by the infamous spring floods of 1927.

Though the bride was constructed by the railroad, the City had to give authorization to do so, this was accomplished by the passing of Ordinance 4,335, at the May 28, 1928, City Council meeting.

Lincoln Avenue was one of several names for stretches of Highway 10 in Little Rock. By the 1960s, the areas west of the Lincoln Avenue viaduct were all renamed Cantrell in honor of the man who had developed much of the area west of the Heights. The longest stretch of the road already carried that name. There had been an effort to rename Highway 10 (including sections named Lincoln, Q, and Cantrell) in Little Rock for Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson in 1930. He declined the offer because he did not want to diminish the contributions of Mr. Cantrell.  Over time the entire stretch bore the name Cantrell.

The stretches east of the viaduct which involved a couple of names were renamed La Harpe Boulevard in honor of the French explorer who first saw the Little Rock.

Though the street has been renamed, the bridge still carries the name of the 16th President of the United States.

The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990.

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Little Rock Look Back: Mayor Thomas D. Merrick

IMG_5546Thomas D. Merrick was born on 23 May, 1814, in Hampden County, Massachusetts. He later moved to Indianapolis IN and Louisville KY before ending up in Little Rock.

On January 17, 1841, he married Anna M. Adams of Kentucky at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock. They had seven children: George, Annie, Ellie, Mollie, Lillian, Dwight, and Thomas. Thomas died at age ten.

Merrick became a prominent member of the Little Rock business community, as a merchant and cotton broker. He was involved in Freemasonry, holding the position of Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in 1845.

In 1855 Merrick entered into a business partnership with future LR Mayor John Wassell. Merrick was also involved in city politics, serving on the city council and also as mayor from January 1854 to January 1855.

He saw active service during the Civil War. On February 6, 1861, Merrick delivered an ultimatum to Captain James Totten of the United States Arsenal at Little Rock, demanding the surrender of the federal troops.  This was more than two months before Fort Sumter was attached,.

Merrick also raised a regiment of Confederate Arkansas Militia, holding the rank of Colonel of Infantry at Camp Conway, near Springfield, Arkansas.  Following the Battle of Shiloh (April 1862), Merrick resigned his commission and returned to Little Rock.

Merrick died in his home in Little Rock on March 18, 1866.  He is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery.

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Ruff on the River Goes Red, White and Blue!

ROTR_FBRiverfest presents the 4th Annual “Ruff on the River Pooch Parade” to be held on Saturday May 23, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.  This year’s theme is Red, White, and Blue! Dress up your pooch in a patriotic theme. Ruff on the River and Riverfest want to give back to animal organizations in need. What better way than to get the community together for some fun while giving back to others.  This years proceeds recipients are as follows:  All About Labs, Little Rock Animal Village and C.A.R.E.

The registration “PAWTY” and the start of the parade will take place on the lawn of Heifer Village for the 2015 festival. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. If you did not pre-register, you may register on site for $35 with festival admission included for the entire weekend! The “PAWTY”starts at 8:30 a.m. and immediately following the parade will be the Weenie Dog Derby for all short legged dogs.  There are three different sized categories for the short-legged dog races.1) Beenie Weenies – Measures no more than 8″ in height. 2) Hot Dogs – Measures 9-12″ in height. 3) Summer Sausage – Measures over 12″ in height.  Join our celebrity judges as they give away top prizes at the Winners Circle and introduce the recipients of our proceeds and the winners of the best costume contest!

Each Pooch registration includes one human escort. Additional human guests can walk with the pooch member by purchasing an additional escort pass. Escort passes can be purchased at the registration “PAWTY”.

Registration for additional human companions and the Weenie Dog Derby will take place the day of the event for $5.

Your registration fee benefits C.A.R.E., All About Labs and Little Rock Animal Village.

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Heritage Month – La Petite Roche

IMG_4805Today’s Heritage Month “property” is the oldest in Little Rock.  It is, in fact, THE Little Rock.

On April 9, 1722, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe rounded the bend of the Arkansas River and saw La Petite Roche and Le Rocher Français.

Though La Harpe and his expedition are the first Europeans documented to have seen La Petite Roche, the outcropping of rocks was well-known to the Quapaw Indians in the area.  The outcropping jutted out in the Arkansas River and created a natural harbor which provided a perfect place for boats to land.

The rock outcropping is the first one visible along the banks of the Arkansas River.  It marks the place where the Mississippi Delta meets the Ouachita Mountains.  Geologists now believe that the Little Rock is not the same type of rock as the Ouachita Mountains and more closely matches the composition and age of mountains in the western US.

In 1813, William Lewis became the first European settler to live near La Petite Roche but only stayed a few months.  Speculators and trappers continued to visit the area throughout the 1810s. During that time, the outcropping became known informally as the Little Rock.

La Petite Roche had become a well-known crossing when the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819. The permanent settlement of ‘The Rock’ began in the spring of 1820, and the first building has been described as a cabin, or shanty, and was built on the bank of the river near the ‘Rock.’ In March 1820, a Post Office was established at the ‘Rock’ with the name “Little Rock.”

Over the years, La Petite Roche was altered.  In 1872, Congress authorized the building of a railroad bridge. A pier for the bridge was built at the location of the La Petite Roche which caused the removal of several tons of rock.  The bridge was never built.  When the Junction Bridge was built in 1899, even more rock was removed in the process of erecting part of the bridge on top of the rock.  It was not viewed as being disrespectful of the City’s namesake at the time.  Indeed, it was viewed as a testament to the sturdiness of the rock.

In 2010, La Petite Roche plaza opened in Riverfront Park.  It celebrates the history of La Petite Roche and explores its importance to various aspects of Little Rock’s history and geography.

The Little Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places in October 1970.

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Riverfest kicks off today with Sheryl Crow, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, Kris Allen, Gaelic Storm

2015 Riverfest SquareRiverfest is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually over Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas with a rich 38-year tradition. Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2014 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.

Tonight things get going with performances on four different stages.

On the Miller Lite/Arkansas Federal Credit Union Stage (the amphitheatre), Sheryl Crow will headline at 9:30.  Arkansas’ own Kris Allen will play from 8 to 9.  Just Sayin’ will just kick things off at 6:30.

The lineup for the Bud Light Stage includes: STARSET at 6:30, The Pretty Reckless at 8 and Halestorm at 9:45.

On the Stickyz Stage, The Salty Dogs will start at 6:30. At 8, Swampbird will take the stage.  Gaelic Storm will end the evening at 9:30.

The Yarnell’s Kidzone Stage will feature: The Kazoobie Kazoo Show w/Rick Hubbard at 6:15, Break Shop Bump’n at 7:15 and DJ Dev at 8pm.

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TV ALERT – Museum of Discovery’s Kevin Delaney returns to Tonight Show tonight!

Delaney MOD NBCAs proof that good things come in threes, Kevin Delaney, director of visitor experience at the Museum of Discovery, will make his THIRD appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” at 10:35 p.m. Friday, May 22, on NBC.  Delaney serves as the show’s “science expert” and performs multiple science demonstrations with Fallon serving as his lab assistant.

“I am honored to return to ‘The Tonight Show’ and represent the Museum of Discovery and Arkansas,” said Delaney. “It’s exciting to have this opportunity to showcase how amazing science is, all while serving the museum’s mission of igniting a passion for science, technology and math.”

Delaney was chosen after “Tonight Show” producers reached out to more than 50 museums across the country in search of the right candidate. Following a test show in February, Delaney made his successful “Tonight Show” debut on May 5, 2014 and returned again on November 7. To watch his first two appearances, visit and

To learn more about Delaney, visit

The Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.


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