May 5, 2006 Posted at 4:30 a.m. CST
Pocahontas, AR - With soaring gas prices it seems your summer vacation plans may be put on hold. But don't give up, there are some great forms of entertainment right here in this area; we like to call them "The Arts of Region 8".
Art & Soul is a great place to spend an afternoon with a friend, loved one, or the whole family. It's a paint your own pottery studio and it's in downtown Jonesboro. You walk in pick out the pottery you want to paint, choose your paint, and get creative. They have great workers there to help you with ideas, colors, and if you make a mistake, they can help you with that too. The prices include everything from the pottery itself to the paint, glaze, and fire. And another cool thing about this place, they do birthday parties and they have camps. What better way to keep the kids busy during the summer. In all the process takes about a week from start to finish before you can take it home with you. But when it's finished, no matter what "it" is, you've got a great work of art.
Another form of entertainment is dancing, so I decided I would take a lesson or two. Christie McNeill's Studio of Dance is also right here in Jonesboro. Christie has been here for 24 years now, and she's seen a lot of talent come through her studio over the years. I knew I wasn't going to be one of those people, but I thought I would still give it a try. Some of her students decided I could probably learn from someone close to my age and about the same height, and told me I would learn one of their routines. It was from their latest show, Peter Pan, and they one Grand Champion for the dance. So I put on my tu-tu, (and they didn't tell me they don't really wear those anymore) and learned a few steps. The kids were way too fast, so I let them take it away and dance us off the show. So if you are looking for some "Art", Christie's might be the place for you.
With "The Arts" in mind we thought what better way to end the week than at the theater, and we knew just the place. The Imperial Dinner Theatre in Pocahontas has been at it's new location for over a year, but it was originally built in the early '90's.
"We had the Studio of Arts and the Imperial Theatre in the early '90's and it was just busting at the seams for a bigger and better place. With the help of local businesses and private donors, we raised half-a-million dollars for the new theater. If you haven't seen it, it's amazing!"
Kelly Grooms, the Artistic Director for the theater, went on to tell us about their production and dinner.
"It's great! When you first come in the door, you're greeted by a hostess who takes you to your table. There, your server will take care of you the rest of the evening. We're unique because we are the only town of this size with a major theater production and a great meal all in one. The experience is unforgetable."
The production starting Friday, May 5 is "The Boys Next Door". "It's about four guys who are mentally challenged and they are mainstreamed into an apartment trying to live a normal life. What you see from the play will touch you as you witness their triumphs and struggles. It's one of our greatest and that's why we've brought it back. People leave here thinking, "Wow, I never knew there was anything this great in Northeast Arkansas."