by Kat Robinson
It kicks off the morning of Thursday, July 7th with the Farmer’s Market at Pine Mountain Village, rolls into beignets and café au lait with artist Robert Norman at Caribe that night and goes from there. There will be concerts, performance art, movie showings (Chocolat and Casablanca), French dinners and wines offered by local restaurants and French themed weekends from several local bed and breakfasts.
So what about those frogs? Seems they’ve been adopted as the mascot for the event. It’s not a derogatory thing, just something to come play with. There’s also a contest being sponsored by Massage therapist Alexa Pittinger, challenging male and female locals and locals-at-heart to sport a pencil moustache and a beret for the weekend.
Sounds like fun. I will be there. Will you? More details on the jump — and on the Fleur Delicious Festival website.
(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR)- An idea that started as a little event to celebrate Bastille Day has blossomed into a major new four-day festival entitled Fleur Delicious Weekend. The event is billed as one to delight all the senses. Sponsored by local businesses, the French-themed weekend will blend sophisticated food and beverages, art, and music with light-hearted entertainment and some goofy old-fashioned fun.
Promoter Ilene Powell, who had begun visiting Eureka Springs in 2002, had considered retiring here from New Orleans. Then she lost her home in the Katrina flood and moved here last year, several years ahead of her anticipated schedule.
In post-Katrina New Orleans, she said, many displaced service industry workers had financial troubles, and the local restaurant association started a foundation to raise funds to help them return home.
Powell saw an opportunity for an event to celebrate Bastille Day, but as enthusiasm in the community grew, the single day expanded into a long weekend of food, art, wine and entertainment. She contacted Teresa DeVito to help her plan things, and began recruiting businesses to join the fun.
Powell hopes to eventually see a local foundation created to offer aid to hospitality industry workers in the Eureka Springs area who suffer natural disasters or injury; she wants an annual Fleur Delicious Weekend to provide some of the funding for the foundation.
Although the schedule is not yet complete, Powell said the event kick-starts the senses at the Farmers’ Market at Pine Mountain Village, Thursday, July 7, 7 a.m. — noon, with French music and a cooking demonstration, gorgeous flowers, a cornucopia of organic veggies, baked goods, and locally handcrafted items.
That evening at 6 p.m. Caribe Restaurante y Cantina will serve café au lait with beignets during a presentation of the work of Robert Norman, the Eureka Springs artist who designed the event’s artwork and poster.
Friday at 7 p.m., the Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library will present the movie Chocolat at the Annex at 192 Spring St. Admission is free.
Saturday the event jumps into high gear, with jazz in Basin Spring Park from 1- 5 p.m., a Spring Street Waiters’ Race at 3 p.m., and French-themed art during the Second Saturday Gallery Stroll, 6-9 p.m. 83 Spring Street Gallery will host guest artist Willis Miller from 1-4 p.m., with an evening reception during Gallery Stroll. In the spirit of Bastille Day celebration, Miller takes an impressionistic look at the French flag in a piece titles "Still Held Together." The original work will be displayed and prints will also be available.
At 8 p.m. Saturday night, Enthios Art Venue on Greenwood Hollow Rd. will present “The Cirque du Soleil of Eureka Springs.” The performance is billed as live music performance art, and is highlighted by the performance of “Cosmic Roots.” Local artists will be creating art, and contestants will model a French costume show to win prizes for talent and costume design. French pancakes will be served between 6-8 p.m., and diners are encouraged to bring their own beverages. Ticket prices are $15. with $5 off for local residents, and pre-sold tickets discounted $2.
Sunday 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., a Sunday Jazz Brunch in the Crystal Dining Room of the Crescent Hotel includes French champagne and a French food station. The Cottage Inn Restaurant celebrates the weekend with a Bastille Day Tour de France Wine Dinner at 7 p.m.
That same night, starting at 8 p.m., Casablanca airs as the free movie in the park.
Many of the bed and breakfasts in town plan to serve French-themed breakfast, afternoon refreshments, or desserts.
DeVito’s Restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, will offer French wine flights throughout the event. The Stone House will add a French Canadian cheese platter to its offerings, feature several cheeses, hot salami and kelp vegetarian caviar, paired with French wines and genuine Champagne by the glass. Flights will be available during all open hours, 1 —10 p.m. Wed to Sat.
Sparky’s Roadhouse Café will serve French wines, cheese and entrees, including their Eiffel Tower Chicken.
Massage therapist Alexa Pittinger is challenging male and female locals and locals-at-heart to sport a pencil moustache and a beret for the weekend. That simple costume allows revelers to pick up entry forms, available at local shops, to win free massage services being donated by several different therapists.
Pittinger dubbed the prize event Frogs R Us, and said she chose the frog for its symbolic value, even though she knew it might cause a stir because the word is sometimes used as a slur against the French.
“Frogs live in water and on trees, and like canaries in the coal mine, alert us to the earliest signs of pollution. I chose frogs as a symbol because we’re in this tourist economy together. People take offense at things because they feel separate, but we all contribute to the tourist economy here. If any one section of us wasn’t here, the town wouldn’t thrive...like frogs with deforestation and water pollution.”
Pittinger admitted some people expressed offense about the name, but added, “let’s have a teachable moment and let’s hear each other. I asked some French people who live in town, but my sense was it was no big deal to the French. So let’s all work together and be French for this weekend.”
More information is available from Teresa DeVito, 479-253-6807; Ilene Powell, 504-421-246; Fleurdeliciousweekend@yahoo.com; and on Facebook.