May began with a rainbow, and then… Well, yes we did get a bit of liquid sunshine for the beginning of the 24th Annual Fine Arts Festival here in Eureka Springs. But the town is looking absoslutely beautiful, with homes and businesses alike decorated with colorful lanterns for the Grand Illumination, a new tradition here in the the art capital of middle America. At Cliff Cottage Inn we had a lot of fun stringing up our own multi-colored lanterns, now powered by techy LED devices. Since we are right above the trolley station on Main Street, we are visible to most of the town’s visitors as they stroll the shops, restaurants and galleries just below our inn. The May Festival of the Arts is really a “big deal” here in town, with daily musical performances in Basin Spring Park (right downtown) and many of our best local artists on display in the galleries that line our picturesque streets. It’s hard not to find a new exhibition or opening on a daily basis, and the sheer variety of art on display is truly impressive. If you love the fine arts, this is really the time to visit Eureka Springs. Painting, sculpture, pastels, watercolors, and mixed media are all available to delight and inspire. What a great time to add to your own art collection at home.
One of the most fun (and certainly most colorful) art-related events is the ARTrageous Parade, which takes place on May 7 starting at 200 p.m. and truly kick off the Festival of the Arts. This artful, sometimes outrageous parade rolls through downtown Eureka Springs with a variety of floats, walkers,stragglers, bands, and some truly remarkable autos decorated Eureka-style! Cliff Cottage Inn is the perfect setting to watch the parade. You can sit on the private porch of your suite, sipping a glass of wine while watching the whacky world of Eufreaka going by below on Main Street.
For music fans, the Ozark Chorale will be performing this coming weekend at the Aud (city auditorium, just 17 steps down from our Inn). Over 60 talented voices will take the stage in a musical offering that includes works by two Arkansas composers. The Ozark Chorale features singers of all ages and musical backgrounds, including a high- school-age young man who is blind and reads scores using Braille. (Innkeeper Sandra sang with the Chorale for a number of years). The Chorale will be joined for portions of the program by the choir of Berryville High School. Also on May 7, Eureka’s own Yao Angelo and his band, Ozakwaba, will be performing festive African drumming in Basin Spring Park before and after the ARTrageous Parade. So if you have a drum, bring it along and join the fun because this musical gathering welcomes everyone.