SPRING JAUNTS: An American Small(ish) Town Weekend Planner by Hampton Rhodes

SPRING JAUNTS: An American Small(ish) Town Weekend Planner

Trying something a bit different this Spring, Z’Scoop will publish a Weekend Planner every Wednesday for readers to discover fun, out-of-the-ordinary things to do all across America for not a whole lot of money, within the next 10 days.

All around America, almost every weekend, are amazingly individual festivals and regional and local events in small towns everywhere. Lets take a look at some of the interesting things that will be going on within the next few weeks that may be near you.

For this coming week, Z’Scoop reports on weekend get-away festivities that encompass an Arkansas Nature Painting Festival, a Walking Ghost-Tour in Texas, Ohio’s own OddMall Emporium of the Weird, and an Alabama Hot Air Balloon Festival. Oh, and if you live on either coast, there are some amazing Cinco de Mayo celebrations!

Let’s Go!

Plein Air On The White River – Cotter, AK
“Plein air painting” is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning “open (in full) air.” It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. This once a year plein air painting event is held in conjunction with the May 6th Annual Cotter Trout Festival, when participating artists come to Cotter, Arkansas for six days of workshops and painting on location within a thirty mile radius of Big Spring Park, located on the beautiful White River.

During this event, artists will be creating original paintings of the northern Arkansas Twin Lakes Area. White River Artists will host a reception, awards ceremony, art show, and sale where the public can meet the artists and purchase paintings of local scenes.

The activities and events of the Cotter Trout Festival, plus allowing the artists to paint within a 30 mile radius of Cotter, give plein air artists and fishing enthusiasts a taste of small town America, untold painting opportunities and a chance to land a really big one!


WHEN: May 1-7, 2017
WHERE: Big Spring Park, Cotter, AK
Pre-Registration: Ozark Regional Arts Council
CONTACT: Debby Lively – 870.425.8291
Event website
For additional information call Sandy Barksdale at 870-424-0151, or visit: http://retiretoarkansas.net/area-info/page/63/plein-air-artists-white-river-may-5-7-2017

Ghost and Legends Granbury Historic Tour – Granbury, TX
The popular Granbury Ghosts and Legends tour will walk you through and around the Historic Square of central Granbury, Texas where tour guide and paranormal expert Brandy Herr will tell you about the famous and infamous characters of Granbury’s past and maybe the present? Stories about the Lady in Red, The Faceless Girl, John Wilkes Booth, outlaw Jesse James and many others.

Tours are every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., weather permitting.  The Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour has been named by Frommer’s Travel Guides as one of the seven BEST ghost tours in the country! Meet the tour guide at the Nutt Hotel on the Granbury Square.

WHEN: May 5, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Historic Granbury Square, Granbury TX
COST: $10.00 and $7.00 12 and under
CONTACT: Brandy Herr – 817-559-0849
Event website 

Oddmall Emporium of the Weird – Akron, OH
Oddmall is part art fair, part craft show, part comic con, part gaming festival, part cosplay extravaganza, part toy show, part antique show, part vintage fashion show, part geeksplosion, part music fest, part magic show, and part various undefinable othernesses. If it’s fun, artsy, geeky, crafty or odd, chances are it can be found at Oddmall. It’s the Emporium of the Weird.

Oddmall is open to everyone (except people who infringe upon anybody else’s right to be who they are). At Oddmall there’s no judging people for the things they enjoy. If you like to dress up like a giant action figure and have your picture taken with strangers GO FOR IT! If you dig making life-sized models of your pet cat out of old socks, do your THANG! Are you a collector of unusual art? Is your other car a TARDIS? Do you know Bruce Wayne’s middle name? Do people call you weird, strange, bizarre, nerdy, geeky, artsy-fartsy, or Gertrude? If so, Oddmall is the place for you.

WHEN: May 6th (10 a.m. until 6 p.m.) and 7th (10 a.m. until 5 p.m.), 2017
WHERE: John S. Knight Center 77 E. Mill Street, Akron, OH 44308
COST: Free – (suggested donation is $5)
CONTACT: Andy Hopp – 330.899.1017
Event website 

2017 Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival – Foley, AL
The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, presented by Tanger Outlets, welcomes hot air balloonists from across the country. Enjoy the floating works of art as they grace the skies of South Baldwin County on Friday and Saturday morning.* Get up close and personal as the hot air balloons and their pilots light up the evening skies at the nightly balloon glows, held Friday and Saturday night.

Guests enjoy free, fun entertainment featuring something for every member of your family. Spread out your blanket, grab an ice cold drink and enjoy a variety of live music daily. Be sure to catch one of the many shows by the Disc Connected K-9 World Famous Frisbee Dog Show. Toss after toss you will be amazed as man’s best friend defies gravity catching their prized flying saucers.

Motorcycle daredevil Bubba Blackwell puts on a stunt show at 4 p.m. on Friday and 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Other entertainment includes the K9 Frisbee Dogs and live music. Roam the arts and crafts booths throughout the day, and enjoy carnival rides.

Grab a cone of homemade ice cream or a delicious BBQ plate as you shop through an eclectic array of local crafters, artisans, and retailers. Many crafters provide onsite demonstrations, find a one-of-a-kind piece of art, or grab a souvenir to commemorate your visit.

WHEN: May 4th thru 7th, 2017
Consult the Event Schedule for times and places
WHERE: Various Festival grounds
18507 US Highway 98 West, Foley, AL 36535
Foley Sports Complex 998 W. Section Street, Foley AL 36535
COST: General Admission is FREE
CONTACT: Phone: 251.943.3291
Event website 

And for you people located on either coast, consider a weekend trip to either San Francisco, LA or NYC for a really fabulous Cinco de Mayo celebration in any of these cities:

San Francisco, CA
Thousands turn out annually for the Mission Cinco de Mayo celebration in San Francisco. The family-friendly event showcases the best of Latin and Mexican-American cultures through music, foods, dance and art. More than 75 vendors will exhibit their culinary creations and crafts. Numerous performances include traditional Mexican songs, salsa, Latin jazz and other Latin rhythms. Festivities take place on Saturday, May 6, giving revelers plenty of time to enjoy the holiday until the day after.

And as an extra, Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra + VNote Ensemble will be performing on Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Esplanade, Yerba Buena Gardens, 761 Mission Street, San Francisco, California with FREE Admission!

Oh – and there are 96 other events going on throughout the city on May 5th alone! Find them here.

Los Angeles, CA
From restaurants that offer Cinco de Mayo specials to festivals all across the city, Los Angeles is a hub of events. Start with the Fiesta Broadway festival on Sunday, April 30, then take your pick among restaurants, concerts, or even a Lucha VaVoom wrestling match to celebrate.

Just north of the Grove, on Beverly Boulevard is the El Coyote – a classic Mexican restaurant since 1931 where the star-gazing is exceptional. You’ll find tons of Cinco de Mayo events just outside of Los Angeles as well. Citadel Outlet Mall features music and sales for the holiday each year, and Latin American museums in Long Beach and Costa Mesa hold annual events as well. And also check out the Fiesta in San Clemente!

Click here for another 878 events and things to do in and around LA during Cinco de Mayo.

New York City, NY
You’ll find the whole gamut of Cinco de Mayo options in the Big Apple, from booze cruises to Latin dance class specials. With so many restaurants in the city, it won’t be hard to find great deals on food as well. Horchata in Greenwich Village is offering a “Five at Five” deal, where guests can grab five menu or drink items for just $5. Dos Caminos, which has various locations throughout Manhattan, is celebrating with a special Cinco de Mayo menu in all five locations all week. If you’re looking for a bigger hurrah, the 6th Annual Cinco de Mayo bar crawl starts May 5 at 3 p.m.

Cotter, AK
Granbury, TX
Akron, OH
Foley, AL
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY

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