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Jan/Feb 2014 Issue

Winter festival illuminates arts, culture, and nature at Little Rock, Ark., park

Illuminated with scores of luminaries, fire pits, and strands of lights, Wildwood Park for the Arts in Little Rock, Ark., will take on an ethereal glow during its LANTERNS! winter celebration.

In its sixth year, the festival will feature plenty of family fun and entertainment from Feb. 14–16 in the beautiful west Little Rock park. The festival will present a variety of indoor and outdoor performances and activities in lighted vistas that represent and celebrate cultures from around the globe.

Upon arrival, visitors will take a mystical stroll along illuminated paved pathways into the park’s woodlands. Entertainment, games, art, and other discoveries will be found in the park’s arboretum, gardens, and lakeside performance spaces.

Wildwood’s performance complex, including the 625-seat Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre, will be transformed into an international spectacle, transporting visitors to various countries via tastes, sounds, and sights.

Festivities will take place from 6–10 p.m. nightly at the park, located at 20919 Denny Road. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6–12, and free for children 5 and under. Wildwood Park members receive special discounts.

For more information or tickets, visit or call (501) 821-7275.

The park will be aglow with lanterns, fire pits, and strands of lights during the festival. Wildwood Park photo


Louisiana landmark drawbridge celebrating centennial

Once slated for the scrap yard, Louisiana’s last vertical-lift drawbridge is celebrating its 100th anniversary, a testament to late 19th-century design and engineering.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Caddo Lake Drawbridge in Mooringsport, La., was constructed in 1914 during the region’s oil boom era. However, its unique design can be traced directly to 1893 Chicago and the South Halsted Street Bridge, designed by James Alexander Low Waddell. Like the Chicago span, the Caddo Lake Drawbridge design allowed the entire center span to lift in a vertical direction to allow tall ships to pass through.

Although the lift is no longer operable, the distinctiveness of the bridge design, the legacy of its designer, and the fact that it is the last remaining example of this bridge type in Louisiana all combined to save the bridge from the scrap yard. It was slated to be demolished in the late 1980s, but a citizens’ group successfully campaigned to preserve it. Funds that were originally appropriated for removing the structure were then used to refurbish it as a pedestrian walkway and preserve it as a tourist attraction and civil engineering landmark. Located about 12 miles north of Shreveport, the bridge is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

For details about the bridge and other attractions in Mooringsport, visit or call (318) 222-9391 or (800) 551-8682.

Built in 1914, the drawbridge is a civil engineering landmark that is used today as a pedestrian walkway. Darren N. Guin photo


NBA bounces into New Orleans for All-Star week

New Orleans will host the 63rd NBA All-Star Game in February, following a weeklong celebration that includes the fan-favorite NBA All-Star Jam Session–the world’s largest interactive basketball theme park.

Housed inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Feb. 13–16, the Jam Session offers fans a chance to meet and collect free autographs from NBA players and legends. Jam Session offers nonstop basketball action, as fans can shoot, slam, dribble, and drive all day with tips from the stars.

Young fans can hang out at Kids Zone, with interactive activities just their size. For fans who want NBA entertainment, the NBA’s favorite players, dance teams, mascots, and celebrities will hit the court in a variety of competitions, including NBA All-Star Practice and the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Hours are 4–10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday.

The weekend offers other chances to see the league’s brightest stars on the court before Sunday’s game, including the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday for rookies and second-year players. On Saturday night, skills competitions will culminate in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. •

For ticket pricing and more details, visit



Fairy tale castle in Arkansas offers tours

Growing up on a tree farm and later traveling the world, Smith Treuer has melded his affinity for the Arkansas Ozarks woodlands and European architecture to create Castle Rogue’s Manor, an enchanting monument to craftsmanship.

Built over the last 20 years on limestone bluffs overlooking Table Rock Lake near Eureka Springs, Ark., the compound offers a glimpse of how barons lived in medieval times. With his partner, Debbie Sederstorm, Treuer set out to create a captivating manor that would not only honor the beauty of the Ozark Mountains but incorporate his love of history and art.

“It’s an architectural fantasy inspired by the Renaissance period and other historical periods and cultures,” said Treuer.

The castle, which has been featured on HGTV, can be used for weddings, meetings, and other events, but it is also open for tours. The guided tours showcase the sublime details that local artists and craftsmen incorporated into the construction, Treuer said.

In addition to the stunning great hall, the estate features a gatekeeper’s cottage, barns, guard towers, caretaker’s residence, and a gardener’s shed. All were built using native cedar and walnut timber milled on site; limestone and sandstone rock; and steel and iron forged by local blacksmiths.

Tours, offered by appointment only, are $20 for adults, $10 for children, and free for visitors 5 and younger. The castle is located just off state Highway 187 near the town of Beaver.

For details, call (479) 981-6816 or (800) 250-5827 or visit

The sprawling estate includes 20 acres of enchanting buildings. Castle Rogue’s Manor photo


Crack open oyster festival for family fun in Mississippi

Open up the New Year by prying open a good time at the fourth annual Pass Christian Oyster Festival spanning the last weekend of January in this quaint Mississippi coastal town.

Whether you like your oysters raw on the half shell, grilled, fried, or smoked, there will be countless opportunities to get your fill of the delectable bivalve from Jan. 24–26. Of course, a wide variety of other cuisine will be available as well.

Held at the Pass Christian Harbor, the festival features arts and crafts, oyster shucking and eating contests, a fishing rodeo, live music, and carnival rides. This year’s event will include vintage cars on display in the inaugural Classic Car Show.

The festival kicks off on Friday from 6–9 p.m. with “Oyster Eve.” Attendees will sample oysters prepared by chefs vying for the Top Oyster Award. Tickets to this event range from $15 to $30.

Except for carnival rides and games, the rest of the festival is free. On Saturday and Sunday, hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Call (228) 342-2366 for details or visit

The festival will feature oysters served any way you like them.

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