1. ESSE Purse Museum’s Exposed: Unmentionables
January 30 – April 29
ESSE Purse Museum’s brand-new exhibit focuses on undergarments from the 1900s to the 1960s. The temporary exhibit, which will be shown in addition the museum’s regular collection of accessories, is a peek into a seldom-seen part of women’s lives. Dress forms, corsets, slips photographs and other items will be on display. General admission is $10. Student, senior and military admission is $8. The temporary exhibit is included in the museum’s regular admission.
2. The Illusionists – Live From Broadway
This isn’t just some sleight of hand. Join five world-class illusionists at Robinson Performance Hall for levitation, mind-reading, disappearances and an underwater escape act. The New York Times called the show “A high-tech magic extravaganza.” Performers include The Daredevil aka Jonathan Goodwin, The Deductionist aka Colin Cloud, The Inventor aka Kevin James, The Manipulator aka An Ha Lim and The Trickster aka Jeff Hobson. Tickets start at $47.
3. Soul of a Nation
February 3 – April 23
Soul of a Nation at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art showcases art from the time of the Civil Rights Movement in America. The multimedia exhibit will include paintings, sculptures, street photography, murals and more. This collection was developed by the Tate Modern in London. Crystal Bridges is the exhibition’s first U.S. home. Tickets are $10.
4. Chocolate Festival
Most people don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate, but if you do, here it is: the 14th Annual Chocolate Festival raises money for charity. The Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa hosts this fundraiser to benefit Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic. The event also includes a silent auction and live entertainment. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. VIP tickets are also available.
Can’t make it to New Orleans? Celebrate Mardi Gras right here in Arkansas. Head to the Rev Room in the River Market District for a night full of live music, a silent auction, drinks and beads. The party benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
6. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra – Music City Hit Makers
February 10 – 11
Join the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson Performance Hall to hear three of Nashville’s elite songwriters perform the songs they wrote for pop and country stars. Icons like Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum and Kelly Clarkson recorded these Grammy Award-winning writers’ songs. Tickets start at $10.
7. Hot Springs Jazz Society’s Mardi Gras Costume Ball & Contest
Don’t miss the largest dance floor in Hot Springs. Put on a costume and dance to the sounds of the Spa City Stompers Dixieland Band and the Delta Brass Express while raising money for the Hot Springs Jazz Society. The party includes a raffle, a costume contest and a silent auction. Cajun food and alcoholic drinks will be served. Tickets are $60.
8. Fort Smith Marathon
Explore Fort Smith’s downtown and neighborhoods via the Fort Smith Marathon. A half marathon and relays will also be held Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Marathon registration includes a short sleeve T-shirt, timing chip/bib and race packet. If you register from Jan. 1 – Feb. 11, the race costs $100 per person. Registration on the day of costs $125.
9. Barkus on Main
Looking for a unique parade in February? Bring your beagle (or any other breed) to Barkus on Main, downtown Little Rock’s Mardi Gras dog parade. The parade pre-party starts at noon. At 2 p.m., walk your dog from 7th and Main to 4th and Main. The party includes live music, a beer garden, a hurricane station, gumbo, crawfish and beads. Spectators can watch the event for free. Parade registration is $30 for each dog.
10. The Shirelles
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Shirelles will perform at the East Arkansas Community College Fine Arts Center in Forrest City as part of EACC’s Spotlight Series. Listen to America’s Original Dream Girls sing hits like “Soldier Boy,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Dedicated to the One I Love” and more at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Tickets are $39.