SALINE SUMMER DAZE WITH KRIS ALLEN 3 p.m., Watts Field, Benton. $15-$50.
Eddie Black, director of the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce, is quick to play down any suggestion Saline Summer Daze is in competition with Riverfest. The new event, he says, is merely an expansion of the Wally Hall Tournament of Champions, a softball tourney entering its third year that's expected to draw between 8,000 and 10,000. Add concessions and a carnival and some music and — boom — you've got a nice little family festival. But when you snag Kris Allen to perform his first solo concert in Arkansas since winning “American Idol” last year, your little family festival becomes a whole 'nother thing. To that end, Black says he's sold advance tickets to the concert in eight states and all across Arkansas. The advance VIP tickets, which run $50 and get you a seat near the front of the stage, should sell out pre-event, according to Black. But Watts Field (AKA the old Saline County airport) can accommodate thousands of folks, and Black anticipates there being plenty of tickets available at the door. Local acts Crash Meadows, Dry County
(fitting since Saline County is dry; no alcohol is allowed in the festival) and Riverbilly open for Allen, who'll likely hit the stage around 8 p.m. Saturday. The carnival, which will be staged adjacent to the ticketed concert area and to Bernard Holland Field (where the softball tournament happens) and Saline County Park, kicks off on Friday at 3 p.m. and opens Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Admission is free.