Blues in the Natural State
The seventh annual Blues in the Natural State Festival will provide hours of fun and entertainment this Saturday and even a guitar workshop. The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. with an all-ages blues guitar workshop with Isayah Warford.
Headlining the festival this year is the “Arkansas Quadruple Threat” Michael Burks, Jimmy Thackery and Earl Cate with John Davies, R.J. Mischo and Terry Cagle and Oreo Blue with Brian Crowne.
Burks’ latest album, “Iron Man” features 12 songs, seven of them written by the Arkansas native. Burks is a true blues man, who knows how to handle a guitar and put out the kind of music that will make music history.
Starting off the music will be Isayah Warford’s All Stars at 4 p.m. followed by Delta bluesman John Horton. Revving things up will be an a cappella gospel procession led by those who know how to pipe it out—Ocie Fisher, Daryl Brooks, Liz Lottmann, Pamela Nelson, Gib Ponder and Jules Taylor. Blues fans will second line with the gospel singers following them outside to the Beer Garden Stage.
Blues in the Natural State is a fundraiser for the Ozark Blues Society, which provides support for Blues in the Schools educational programs. As usual, an autographed guitar will be given away during the festival. This year’s guitar was signed by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Tommy Castro, Deanna Bogart, Ronny Baker Brooks, Magic Dick, Homemade Jamz Band and the 2007 Blues in the Natural State Festival performers.
Tickets are $5 at the door for the guitar workshop, $12 in advance for the workshop and performances and $15 day of show. Tables can be reserved by calling 527-6618. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.georgesmajesticlounge.com.

Indoor Stage
4 p.m. All ages guitar workshop with Isayah Warford
5 p.m. Isayah Warford’s All Stars
6 p.m. John Horton
7 p.m. Gospel procession featuring Ocie Fisher, Daryl Brooks, Liz Lottmann, Pamela Nelson, Gib Ponder and Jules Taylor

Beer Garden Stage
7:15 p.m. Kory Montgomery
8:15 p.m. Oreo Blue
9:30 p.m. Jimmy Thackery/Earl Cate Band
10:45 p.m. Michael Burks
Thrills and Spills
The 11th annual Eureka Springs Fat Tire Festival, the largest event of its kind in the central United States, lands in Eureka Springs on Friday for three jam packed days of boys and girls showing off their skills on mountain bikes. And really, what’s a better place for this than the steep hills of Eureka Springs? The event will include both competitive and non-competitive cycling events. All races and “fun” rides are free to spectators.
Competitive Cross-country (XC), Downhill and Short Track races are scheduled, as well as Observed Trials. Non-competitive events include a Trimble Ranch Ride, two children’s Fun Rides and two Black Bass Back Street Fun Rides.
Last year’s event drew over 1,000 participants and spectators from all over the country. This year’s festival will be “fatter” than ever according to event organizer David Renko.
“Word keeps spreading about what a fantastic place Eureka Springs is for mountain biking. And with $5,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, we expect ‘Fatty’’08 to be our biggest yet,” Renko said.
The event’s name is derived from the size of tires required for traversing the challenging mountainous terrain. Pre-registration for all events is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Harmon Park. Entry fees for participants range from $15 to $35.
Kicking off Fatty ’08 will be the non-competitive Black Bass Back Street Fun Ride kicks at noon Friday at Harmon Park. Casual riders can experience the seldom seen scenic, tree-lined back roads. Downhill practice and XC course pre-rides will follow that afternoon. The first competition, the Phat Tire Short Track race, will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at Harmon Park. Saturday’s competitive races are the Downhill at Lake Leatherwood Park at 9 a.m. and the Super Fat Trials at Harmon Park at 2 p.m.
Two non-competitive rides are also set for Saturday. The Children’s Fun Ride at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lake Leatherwood. At noon a guided ride on one of the newest “Fat” single track courses in Northwest Arkansas will be at Trimble Ranch in Berryville, east of Eureka Springs.
Sunday’s highlight is the crowd-pleasing, “photo-op”-filled XC Race to the Lake. That event begins at 9 a.m. at Basin Spring Park in downtown and concludes at Lake Leatherwood Park. A Children’s Fun Ride, hospitality tent and awards ceremony will follow at Lake Leatherwood.
For information (479) 422-7654 or visit www.fattirefestival.com.

Categories: Features