This month brings much more than just May flowers. The coming weeks are jam-packed with events including An Art Affair, A Night in the Caribbean, and an old-fashioned Mother's Day Tea.
• An Art Affair
The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM) will celebrate its rich history and toast to its future as it hosts its first ever RAM Gala, "An Art Affair," on May 1. The evening will include great art, delicious food by 21 West End, an open bar courtesy of In Good Spirits, and live music.
The gala will be a true "selfie extravaganza" with guests taking pictures of one another that will be shown at next year's celebration. Gala-goers will also be able to take home their own self-portrait, drawn by one of the professional artists on-hand at the event.
In addition to the photo fun, guests will enjoy a private viewing of the COIN exhibit, and will have one last opportunity to enjoy the "The Art of Romance" exhibition. They will also have the chance to purchase tickets to win a $2,000 Newton's Jewelers gift certificate.
The gala will be held at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 for RAM members, and $100 for non-members. Attire is "arsty chic." Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 479-784-2787.
• Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Expo
The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Business Expo, "Shop Local, Sell Global," on May 2. Festivities will kick off on Friday morning with the monthly "First Friday" Breakfast, featuring guest speaker, Quinn Frazier, UPS business director. Sam T. Sicard, president of First National Bank of Fort Smith, will also speak regarding the importance of shopping local and supporting fellow chamber members. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Exhibit Hall A.
The Chamber Expo will follow from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Exhibit Halls B and C of the Convention Center. The event will feature member booths and vendors, and also include a number of breakout sessions for those in attendance.
A special "Business After 5" will also be held the night before, in the Fort Smith Convention Center Rotunda. Chamber members will network and enjoy refreshments from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, call the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce at 479-783-3111.
• Life's an Uphill Run! 5K
The Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren will hold its second annual "Life's an Uphill Run!" 5k on May 3. Presented by Rhodes Chevrolet, the event will include a 5K through the hills of the city park and surrounding area, as well as a one-mile fun run/walk around the park lake. The race will begin and end at the Boys and Girls Club, located at 1403 City Park Road.
Following the race, an awards presentation and post race celebration with inflatables, snacks and door prizes will also be held. Awards will be presented to the first, second, and third place finishers in each category, and to the top overall male and female runners. One-mile fun run/walk participants will also each receive a medal.
Entry fee is $20 in advance and $25 the morning of the race. Registration can be completed online. Check-in will begin at 7 a.m., followed by the race at 8 a.m. Each participant will receive a goody bag and dri-fit race t-shirt. For more information, call 479-474-9401.
• Night in the Caribbean
Folks looking to get away without leaving town can enjoy a "Night in the Caribbean" as The Gregory Kistler Center in Fort Smith hosts its signature fundraiser on May 3.
The Bahama-style event will feature a Caribbean feast and specialty Mojito bar, as well as music by the popular Tulsa-based Salsa/Latin Jazz band, Grupo Salsabor. Guests can dine, drink, dance, and bid on one of the many fabulous prizes that will be included in the live and silent auctions. A drawdown of $20 tickets ($15 in advance) will also be held, with one lucky donor earning half the pot proceeds.
Night in the Caribbean will be held at Golden Living in Fort Smith from 6 to 11 p.m. Individual tickets are $75, and corporate tables of eight are $1,000. Tickets will be available at the door. To purchase in advance or for more information, call 479-785-4677.
• Mother's Day Tea
Celebrate your mother by treating her to an old-fashioned tea party at the Clayton House in Fort Smith on May 11. Beginning at noon, the Mother's Day Tea will include an elegant lunch buffet, with dining available inside the historic home or on the outside lawn.
Children of all ages will enjoy grabbing a ribbon from the May Pole and experiencing the classic springtime dance that was a tradition at many Victorian-era gatherings. Young guests will also have the chance to take part in a fun craft activity.
The afternoon will include music and entertainment for all. Following the tea, volunteer tour guides will lead guests through a walking tour of the historic Belle Grove District.
Tickets are $30 for adults and $8 for children and can be purchased online or by calling 479-783-3000. All proceeds benefit the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation, which supports the Clayton House and its programs.