2020 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalists announced

The 2020 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalists were announced today (January 27) at the Division of Arkansas Heritage headquarters.

This year, the Hall of Fame’s fourth, over 1,450 nominations were received in the five categories.  (The previous years nominations were 300 (2017), 450 (2018), and over 600 (2019).) The nominations came from Arkansans in each of the state’s 75 counties.

As Secretary of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism Stacy Hurst noted, “The number of nominations confirms that people are indeed opinionated about their food.”  She continued, “Food is woven into our culture and our heritage.”

The 2020 Arkansas Food of the Year is Rice. Not only is it a staple in many restaurants throughout the state, it is also a major contributor to the state’s economy.

The finalists in four of the five categories were announced. The fifth, the People’s Choice Award, goes to the entity that received the most nomination submissions. It will be announced, along with the winners in the other categories, at the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame ceremony on Monday, February 24 at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

The finalists in the other four categories are:

Food Hall of Fame
AQ Chicken House (Springdale)
Bruno’s Little Italy (Little Rock)
Cattleman’s Steak House (Texarkana)
Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Restaurant (Fort Smith)
Feltner’s Whatta-Burger (Russellville)
Kream Kastle (Blytheville)
Murry’s Restaurant (Hazen)
Neal’s Cafe (Springdale)
The Ohio Club (Hot Springs)
Star of India (Little Rock)

Proprietor of the Year
Capi Peck, Little Rock (Trio’s)
Matt McClure, Bentonville (The Hive)
Peter Brave, Little Rock (Brave New Restaurant)
Sami Lal, Little Rock (Star of India)
Scott McGehee, Little Rock (Yellow Rocket Concepts restaurants)

Food Themed Event
Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Warren)
International Greek Food Festival (Little Rock)
Our Lady of the Lake Annual Church Spaghetti Dinner (Lake Village)
Tontitown Grape Festival (Tontitown)

Gone But Not Forgotten
Habib’s Cafe (Helena)
Mary Maestri’s Italiano Grillroom (Springdale)
Shaddon’s BBQ (Marvell)

Little Rock Copper Bowl: When Chiefs (of the Police variety) were involved in football in Little Rock

Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, so it seems to be a good time to remember the five year series of football games in Little Rock known as the Copper Bowl.

From December 1959 through December 1963, the Little Rock Police Department played the North Little Rock Police Department in a series of football games.  The Copper Bowl games were fundraisers to help the LRPD provide food and presents for needy families during the Christmas season.

The agreement was that the teams would play for five years. The team with the most wins would permanently receive the Copper Bowl trophy.  The LRPD was outfitted with uniforms from Little Rock University and Louisiana State University (thanks to the efforts of Sgt. Harold Zook).  The games were played at Quigley Stadium.

Before the final game on December 1, 1963, the series was tied at 2-2.  The LRPD team won the game and permanently captured the trophy.  Over the five year period several thousand dollars were raised.

PEACE comes to Downtown Little Rock on January 26, 2015

On January 26, 2015, the City of Little Rock and Sculpture at the River Market installed Lorri Acott’s PEACE sculpture at the southeast corner of the intersection of Main Street and Second Street.

Peace was the winner of the 2014 Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale public monument competition. The 12-feet-tall sculpture is made of bronze. It features a human figure standing with hands outstretched over its head. In between the hands is an arc made up of origami cranes.

The Sculpture at the River Market Committee commissioned the $60,000 sculpture and donated it to the City of Little Rock. “Peace” is made of bronze and features a long silhouette with colorful bronze origami cranes, known as symbols of peace and hope.

The sculpture design has won several accolades, including an “Art to Change the World” award from the American Civil Liberties Union and the 2014 World Citizens Artist Award from an international competition featuring art inspired the theme of peace.

“Here comes the General” – Douglas MacArthur born on January 26, 1880

On January 26, 1880, Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Building while his father was stationed at the Little Rock Barracks.  Though he left Arkansas a few weeks later when his father was transferred, he returned to his birthplace on March 23, 1952. On that day he was greeted by crowds welcoming one of the USA’s most famous military figures.

Though Gen. MacArthur spent only a few weeks in Little Rock, he was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church.  The location of the baptism remains a mystery today because the church was meeting in temporary locations due to the first structure having been lost to a fire.

When the General returned to Little Rock in 1952, he did pay a brief visit to Christ Church.  He also spoke at the Foster Bandshell in the park which bore his name.

When General MacArthur died, he was granted a state funeral.  He was one of the few non-Presidents to have been given this honor.

Today, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is located in the Arsenal building.  It was created to interpret our state’s military heritage from its territorial period to the present.

Located in the historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal–the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur–the museum preserves the contributions of Arkansas men and women who served in the armed forces.

Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.

January 25, 1940: Little Rock finally takes possession of Robinson Auditorium

On January 25, 1940, the City of Little Rock officially took complete possession of the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium. By assuming custody of the structure from the contractor and the PWA, the City accepted responsibility for any of the remaining work to be completed.

This event happened one day shy of the third anniversary of the election which approved plans to issue bonds for an auditorium.  The act took place only about five months behind schedule.

E. E. Beaumont, the Auditorium Commission chairman, stated that an opening date could not be set until more work was completed. A major unfinished task was the laying of the front sidewalk which had been delayed due to cold weather.

The night before Little Rock took possession, Robinson Auditorium had been a topic of discussion at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The new Chamber president Reeves E. Ritchie (who as an Arkansas Power & Light executive had been engaged in the lengthy discussions about the installation of the steam line and transformers of the building) pledged that the Chamber would work to bring more and larger conventions to Little Rock at the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium.