Countdown to class
School starts in 192 hours, but there is still time for some summer fun
There are only 192 hours left, and the clock is ticking. As of 7 this morning, summer has only 192 hours remaining. Unofficially, of course, as summer scientifically ends with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22. But as students, parents, grandparents, teachers and countless others know, summer ends when school starts.
That start — for most schools from central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas to Jonesboro and Pine Bluff — is Aug. 14. So, at 7 a.m. Aug. 14, summer is pretty much over. That means between 7 a.m. today and 7 a.m. Aug. 14, there are 192 hours left of summer vacation. That’s still
a lot of time to do what you said you’d do this summer, like go to the beach or visit a big city. But even if you’re staying in Arkansas for the next 192 hours, it’s possible to spend one more full week of freedom before school starts.
Let’s say you and the children (or grandchildren) take the week off. Here are suggestions for filling these last 192 hours. And if the start of school has no effect on your calendar, well, there are ideas here for everyone.
Get going. The countdown has begun.
7 a.m. (192:00)
Wake up. Take these hours to ease into the day. Eat a leisurely breakfast, read the newspaper and relax for a bit. Things are about to get busy. Check out local movie listings. Watch CBS Sunday Morning’s Moment of Nature. 10 a.m. (189:00) Nowadays, most theaters offer Sunday morning screenings, and Sunday mornings mean smaller crowds. The Dark Tower and Detroit opened this weekend. Based on the Stephen King novels, The Dark Tower is the story of the Gunslinger searching for the Man in Black in two worlds. Detroit is from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (2009’s The Hurt Locker) and is based on Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot.
But there are plenty of movies still in theaters worth checking out:
Dunkirk, Girls Trip, Atomic Blonde.
Maybe the local theater is showing some older movies. Maybe this is the day you catch up on all the movies you missed this summer.
2 p.m. (185:00)
We’re just going to assume that you watched two movies — and, of course, paid for both. After spending a few hours inside a darkened theater, go outside for some nature by visiting your city park.
But, if you happen to be in the Mountain View area, go see some music at the Sunday Court Square Music Concert Series on the Court Square in Mountain View. The free performance is 2-3 p.m. under the shade of the oak tree on the east side of the courthouse. The music is usually Ozark mountain music, and, after playing, musicians host an open picking session from 3 to 4 p.m. Guests can take a lawn chair and an instrument to join in the picking.
7:30 p.m. (179:30) There’s still time to get tickets to the Double Feature Tour featuring Postmodern Jukebox and Straight No Chaser at the Walmart AMP in Rogers. The gates opened at 6 p.m. but the music is just now starting, at 7:30. Tickets start at $39.95. The opener is Jon McLaughlin.
Straight No Chaser is an a capella group known for “jaw-dropping vocal prowess and soulful harmonies on past and current hits,” according to press materials. Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox reimagines contemporary pop, rock and R&B hits in the style of yesteryear’s swing, doo-wop, ragtime and Motown. Bradlee, who founded the group in 2009, has described Postmodern Jukebox as “pop music in a time machine.”
11 p.m. (176:00)
Day One is complete. Go to bed.
7 a.m. (168:00) Hopefully you got your eight hours of sleep. Spend this morning getting in some exercise, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, reading the newspaper and preparing for the day.
10 a.m. (165:00)
Watch The Price Is Right. Yes, it’s Monday. Chill. Noon (163:00)
Get out the door and go visit one of Arkansas’ 52 state parks. For people in central Arkansas, this means a hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. For Texarkana residents, head up to Millwood for its 29,500-acre lake filled with largemouth bass, catfish, bream and crappie. Lake Chicot near Lake Village offers fishing boats for rent at its marina, along with kayaks for paddling around the lake and checking out nature. Crowley’s Ridge, west of Paragould, has four hiking trails of varying lengths, and Devil’s Den in Northwest Arkansas has miles of mountain biking trails for riders from beginner to expert.
6:45 p.m. (156:15) Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows bring A Brief History of Everything Tour 2017 to the Walmart AMP, with the gates opening at 5 p.m. and the music starting at 6:45. Tickets start at $35.
It has been more than 20 years since Matchbox Twenty released its breakthrough album Yourself or Someone Like You, which has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and included the hits “Push” and “3 A.M.”
Want to feel older? Counting Crows released its multiplatinum breakout album August and Everything After in 1993. Yep, almost a quarter century ago. “Mr. Jones,” anyone?
10 p.m. (153:00)
Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean summer reading should. One should always be reading. Some book suggestions, based on several Best Summer Books 2017 lists? The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge; Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout; Borne by Jeff VanderMeer; Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (I read this book and it’s excellent); Runnin’ With the Devil by Noel E. Monk and Joe Layden; and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. 11 p.m. (152:00)
7 a.m. (144:00)
Today is museum day. Most museums don’t open until midmorning, so take this time to formulate a plan for visiting the most museums possible.
9 a.m. (142:00)
Go wander through the University of Arkansas’ botanical garden at Garvan Woodland Gardens outside Hot Springs.
10 a.m. (141:00)
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff features “Color in Space: The Art of Justin Bryant,” a collection of watercolors.
The Arkansas Arts Center in downtown Little Rock’s “The 59th Annual Delta Exhibition” is still up (until Aug. 27). Also up is “Drawing on History.” Up the road at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the exhibit of note is “Not Forgotten: An Arkansas Family Album,” which showcases photography by Nina Robinson.
4 p.m. (135:00)
The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is open until 6 p.m., so enjoy the artwork of Carlos Luna, whose art combines Cuban, Mexican and American cultures.
7:05 p.m. (131:55)
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals kick off a series against the Midland RockHounds at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale and its $1 brats night.
11 p.m. (128:00)
Turn in for the night.
WEDNESDAY 8 a.m. (119:00) Yesterday was extremely busy and everybody needs a day of rest. This is it. The weekend is coming. Today might be a good day for Netflix. All three Matrix films have returned to the online streaming site, and the first season of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later premiered Aug. 4.
Over on Amazon Prime, check out Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, five of the Saw movies and Superbad.
If you’re looking to binge watch to catch up on a current show, check out The Americans or Better Call Saul.
This could be the day you also return to the theater to see any other summer movies you haven’t seen. Or you could spend this day watching trashy daytime TV.
11 p.m. (104:00)
Rest those bleary eyes.
7 a.m. (96:00)
The early bird gets the best deals with the 18th annual Bargains Galore on 64, which is through Saturday. Spread along U.S. 64 from Fort Smith to Beebe, the three days include 160 miles of yard sales, antiques, collectibles and flea markets at stops along the highway.
4 p.m. (87:00)
All that shopping makes someone thirsty, so now is the time to enjoy an Arkansas craft beer. The Fayetteville Ale Trail includes 11 participating or partnering breweries stretched from Bentonville to Fayetteville.
In central Arkansas, it’s possible to visit up to eight breweries within a few miles of each other in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock.
7:10 p.m. (83:50)
One cannot have too much minor league baseball, and the Frisco RoughRiders visit Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock for a game against the Arkansas Travelers. It just so happens it’s Super Hero Theme Night, so get a free hero cape at the gate or come dressed as your favorite superhero and enter the seventh inning costume contest. 11 p.m. (80:00)
Off to sleep
8 a.m. (71:00)
It’s Friday morning so sleep in a little later because the weekend is here.
1 p.m. (66:00)
Each Friday at 1 p.m., the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena broadcasts Delta Sounds, its weekly halfhour radio show exploring the music and musicians of the Arkansas Delta and beyond, live from the center’s visitors center. Before or after, check out the museum’s exhibits, including “Songs From the Field,” which tells the story of early Delta music, from spirituals to the blues.
5 p.m. (62:00)
The second Friday of the month means 2nd Friday Art Night in downtown Little Rock, where galleries, museums and businesses are open after hours, from 5 to 8 p.m. And it’s free. The Old State House Museum has the bluegrass music of Runaway Planet during the event.
6:30 p.m. (60:30)
The rodeo returns to Jonesboro with the NE Arkansas Pro Rodeo at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center. The night includes barebacks, saddle broncs, tiedown roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and more. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $13 for adults and $8 for children.
The show continues Saturday evening.
11 p.m. (56:00) Goodnight
SATURDAY 7 a.m. (48:00)
The Eureka Springs Multisport Festival is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and includes a sprint-distance triathlon on Friday afternoon and running races on Sunday. Saturday morning is the Gran Fondo, three bicycle rides of either 21, 62 or 100 miles. The finish is in downtown Eureka Springs, so enjoy the town afterward. Noon (43:00)
You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to enjoy the River Market Farmers Market in downtown Little Rock. It helps, but the farmfresh produce, handmade arts and crafts and more are there from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday.
8:30 p.m. (34:30)
The 41st annual Hope Watermelon Festival has been going on since Thursday, but things really get going Friday and Saturday, with arts and crafts, food, a 5K race, a dog show, the “Watermelon Idol” talent contest and the watermelon eating contest. The festival comes to a close with an appearance at 8:30 by Joe Diffie, the country musician who has scored five No. 1 hits, including “Pickup Man.”
11 p.m. (32:00)
Get some rest.
7 a.m. (24:00)
This is it. Only 24 hours left. The end is near. Act accordingly and spend it smartly. It being a Sunday and right before the start of school, saying some prayers might be wise.
10 p.m. (9:00) Benjamin Franklin once said: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” That’s good to remember during the school year. A better maxim that I learned from a former employer years and years ago? “You can’t party with the buzzards at night and soar with the eagles in the morning.”
7 a.m. (0:00) Godspeed.
The last day of school for Little Rock public schools looks to be May 29, depending on the weather. That’s only 288 days away.
Or, 6,912 hours.
The watermelon eating contest at last year’s Hope Watermelon Festival drew an enthusiastic participant in Timothy Landes of Hope.
The 56-foot-high waterfall at Devil’s Den State Park near Winslow is one of two on the park’s self-guided tour.
North Little Rock artist Cathy Burns’ photograph is featured at “The 59th Annual Delta Exhibition” at the Arkansas Arts Center.
Arkansas Travelers’ Justin DeFratus throws a pitch at a recent game at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The team plays the Frisco RoughRiders on Thursday.
The photography of Nina Robinson is featured at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock. The exhibit is titled “Not Forgotten: An Arkansas Family Album.”
As this sign points out, a hike on the wildlife trail at Millwood State Park offers alligator viewing opportunities.
Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows perform Monday at the Walmart AMP in Rogers.