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Sep/Oct 2011 Issue

Dive into art at Shreveport’s Red River Revel

Shreveport will be synonymous with art this fall when the Red River Revel, the largest outdoor arts festival in north Louisiana, returns to the city’s Festival Plaza for eight days of art, artists and artistic activities.

Expected to attract more than 180,000 people from Oct. 1–8, the Red River Revel Arts Festival will feature more than 140 artists from across the country displaying and selling their fine art in ceramics, watercolors, acrylics, metals and more. In its 36th year, the festival also hosts art education programs, lectures and more along the banks of the Red River.

Fine arts aren’t the only draw, however. The festival also brings in national headline musical acts to perform on one of three outdoor stages.

A primary goal of the festival is arts education, so the Revel features an entire area exclusively for children, complete with its own performance stage and food booths. In addition to art projects, one of the children’s favorite activities is a mock geological dig site, which allows them to make exciting anthropologic discoveries. There’s also a climbing wall, trampoline and a mini grocery store where they can pretend to shop with kid-sized carts.

And like any great Louisiana festival, there will be plenty of food vendors to satisfy every palate, from pulled pork and meat pies to funnel cakes and chocolate-dipped cheesecake.

Admission to the Revel is free all day Monday and Tuesday–Friday until 5:30 p.m. Fees apply at other times ranging from $5 to $10, depending on the day and hour. Children under 12 are always admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking can be an issue, so the festival offers a free shuttle service. Consult the festival’s Web site for more details.

Festival hours are 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. For additional information, call (318) 424-4000, or visit online at


Held in the Festival Plaza in Shreveport, the Revel is expected to attract more than 180,000 people. Red River Revel photo



Fall Muster in Biloxi, Miss., brings antebellum history to life

The sound of musket volleys and the roar of cannon fire will fill the air during the 25th Annual Fall Muster at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Miss., the retirement home of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Featuring 300 period re-enactors and attracting more than 3,000 visitors, the 2011 Fall Muster will be held the weekend of Oct. 15–16. The event offers a realistic glimpse into the antebellum past, complete with camp life demonstrations, musket and cannon firing exhibitions and battle re-enactments.

Yet it’s not all guns and black powder. Festivities also include a picnic basket auction, ladies’ tea, live period music, a Saturday night dance and period vendors. The present also is represented in the food court, with vendors selling hot dogs and hamburgers, and authors who will be on hand to autograph their books about the Civil War.

Fully restored following major damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Beauvoir was the last home of Davis and it was the site of his retirement. He first settled into the home in the late 1870s to write his memoirs. After his death in 1889, the estate remained in his family until it was sold to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1903. In addition to being a shrine to Davis and to all Confederate soldiers since then, the site was used as a Confederate Veterans Home for soldiers and their widows until 1957.

The Fall Muster will be held from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. each day, with battle re-enactments at 2 p.m. daily. Admission is $9 for adults; $7.50 for seniors, students, AAA members and active military; and $5 for children.

Beauvoir is located at 2244 Beach Blvd. For more information, call (228) 388-4400, or click on


Re-enactors will demonstrate Civil War camp life and battles. Beauvoir photo


Nestle into Arkansas State Park cabins

To enjoy views of the largest lake in Arkansas, you need big windows, which is exactly what guests will find in the new comfy cabins at Lake Ouachita State Park.

Four new cabins opened to rave reviews last fall at the park, located on the eastern shores of the 40,000-acre lake northwest of Hot Springs, bringing the total number of cabins at the popular park to eight. Hugging the lakeshore, the contemporary cabins feature a great room with large windows that frame views of the lake through the trees and a vaulted ceiling with sky windows.

The great room opens onto a large private deck and porch, offering more places to take in the lake. Other highlights include Mission-style furniture, a fully equipped kitchen and a wood-burning fireplace.

While at the park, visitors can take advantage of a host of water sports on the lake, which is the largest lake completely within Arkansas’s borders, including boating, fishing, skiing, sailing and scuba diving. The park also offers hiking, camping, a marina with boat rentals and a visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

Lake Ouachita State Park is located at 5451 Mountain Pine Road near Mountain Pine. Call (800) 264-2441 for cabin reservations. The rate for the new cabins is $185 per day for four adults. Lake Ouachita State Park is among 11 state parks in Arkansas that offer cabins for rent. For details about staying in the parks, visit


One of the new cabins at Lake Ouachita State Park. A.C. Haralson/Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism photo


“Perseverance” pays off as Jazz National Park restores hall

The brassy sounds of New Orleans jazz once again fill Perseverance Hall, a former dance hall during the heyday of ragtime and early jazz where African-American performers and bands played for racially diverse audiences.

The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, which tells the story of the people and places that shaped jazz in New Orleans, recently reopened Perseverance Hall after performing major renovations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Open on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Perseverance Hall is the new home for the park’s Music for All Ages program. Held every Saturday from 11 a.m.–noon, the program invites young musicians to bring their instruments for a New Orleans brass band workshop and performance.

Located in Louis Armstrong Park, Perseverance Hall was originally a Masonic Lodge completed in 1820. Exhibits not only highlight the building’s rich history but examine some of the diverse roots of jazz.

The park is located near the French Quarter off North Rampart Street. For more details, call (504) 589-4841 or visit


Perseverance Hall, at far right, in Louis Armstrong Park. New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation photo


Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair marks 75 years of fun

While poultry and animals were once the only stars of the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair, the annual festival, which is in its 75th year, now features an ever-expanding constellation of events, activities and exhibitions that herald autumn in northwest Arkansas.

Begun in 1936 as the Fort Smith Livestock Exposition, the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair has grown into one of the premier events in the region. The fair will continue its tradition from Sept. 23–Oct. 1 by educating and entertaining with more than 2,500 exhibitors and vendors over nine exciting days.

While there are still livestock competitions at the fair, which is held at Kay Rodgers Park in Fort Smith, there also is a huge midway featuring plenty of thrilling rides and an array of food booths.

Music is a highlight of the fair with concerts held nightly. Tickets range from $7 to $30 depending on the show. Among the concerts will be a Youth Talent Competition with $1,000 in prize money at stake. The entertainment comes to a roaring conclusion on Saturday, Oct. 1, with a visit from the All Star Monster Truck Tour.

Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 3–11; patrons save $1 on tickets purchased in advance at the Kay Rodgers Park ticket office. Ride ticket packages and unlimited ride armbands range from $18 to $28. The park is located at 4400 Midland Blvd. For more details, call (479) 783-2393 or (800) 364-1080, or visit

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