The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Page Turners -

Au­tumn falls rather gen­tly on Hot Springs, its ar­rival marked by sub­tle sea­sonal changes that bring with them the re­al­iza­tion of how quickly time passes.

Ac­tiv­i­ties abound here – bik­ers, hik­ers, mu­sic-mak­ers, ar­ti­sans, his­tory buffs and mu­seum-go­ers are at home in this di­a­mond of a tourist cen­ter. Lo­cal denizens continue to sa­vor Hot Springs His­toric Down­town Farm­ers Mar­ket, to gallery hop, to test their irons on the links and to prove their met­tle at out­door grilling con­tests or for ca­sual neigh­bor­hood get-to­geth­ers.

On Fri­day nights, foot­balls are in the air at high school sta­di­ums around the county and state, along with the blares of trum­pets from march­ing bands whose mem­bers proudly ex­e­cute in­tri­cate ma­neu­vers in a spir­ited fash­ion.

For ar­dent fans of the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs, the UCA Bears, the Arkansas State Red Wolves, the Arkansas Tech Won­der Boys, Satur­day af­ter­noons and nights may reach a fever pitch with game watch par­ties punc­tu­ated by vo­cal ex­pres­sions that in­di­cate ex­hil­a­ra­tion or angst, de­pend­ing on how the con­test is go­ing.

And Septem­ber in the Spa City is made all the more spe­cial by the al­lure and charm of opera, which has found new and ap­pre­ci­ate au­di­ences, thanks to The Muses Cre­ative Artistry Project. The Muses Opera Week (Sept. 16-22) cul­mi­nates with a pre­sen­ta­tion of Mozart’s “Cosi fan Tutte” in Horner Hall of the Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

Per­for­mance of this pop­u­lar clas­sic, writ­ten more than 200 years ago, high­lights the Muses’ Fifth An­nual Opera Gala and fundrais­ing din­ner.

Cirque Noir, Cir­cus of the Night, is the theme for an­other gala, the 20th an­nual Baron’s Ball to ben­e­fit Levi Hospi­tal. Fine din­ing and mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment are tra­di­tions of this event, which will be on Thurs­day, Oct. 25, also at the Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

The very word “gala” de­notes a soiree of the first or­der, a fes­tive, up­beat so­cial. I still re­call an­other Levi Hospi­tal-hosted gath­er­ing of some years ago when the guest of honor was Academy Award-win­ning ac­tress Joan Fon­taine. It was my good for­tune to be able to at­tend this el­e­gant fete with The Senti

nel-Record’s en­ter­tain­ment ed­i­tor and to have a few min­utes’ con­ver­sa­tion with Miss Fon­taine. Her gra­cious­ness ex­tended to au­to­graph­ing a pa­per­back copy of Daphne du Mau­rier’s novel, “Re­becca,” the ba­sis for the film and the lead­ing role that brought the star her Os­car.

The glit­tery oc­ca­sion was a thrill for me and for any­one who ever played dress-up as a young girl, don­ning a mother’s and grand­mother’s long gloves, hats, pins and evening wear and dream­ing of some­day be­ing in the com­pany of such fa­mous and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple.

Hot Springs’ res­i­dents don’t have to travel far to find some­thing that suits their fancy.

It’s all right here.

Melinda B. Gas­s­away Ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor

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