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    friday at BFF was THE day to be in town

    I enjoyed the closing ceremony and after party as much as any part of the film festival. The blue carpet VIP walk was nice and I got to see a few celebs that I hadn't before.


     Bruce Dern and Nick Cannon had a visit...

    I used to watch Melissa Joan Hart with the kids on Nickelodeon



     Courtney Cox was looking beautiful


    Geena Davis was stunning

    Judge Reinhold with Miss Arkansas. He joking referred to himself as the "token white male" at the film festival built around women and diversity in film making




    I attempted to marry my son off to Joey Lauren Adams. I don't think it worked though


    After the closing ceremony there was a massive party at the Ice House. Nick Cannon came and DJ'd for us. I know I'm old but that guy is phenomenal!


    All in all it seemed to have gone off very very smoothly. No fights, no beligerent drunks, just every day people from all over the country and the world enjoying our town. You can't buy that kind of advertisement.

    Next year will be bigger and I hear that the De Niro's loved the area and will definitely come back.

    Thanks to all who particpated both behind the scenes and with your attendance.


    Thursday is a beautiful day in Bentonville for BFF...and to all the haters

    Today is a gorgeous day in Bentonville. The flowers around the square are perfect and there's a pretty big crowd around sponsor village and the square and in the restaurants. Even the Peanut-Mobile is here with Mr. Peanut, and the Oscar Mayer Weiner-Mobile.




    I have read a lot of great stuff online about the festival. Short of a few snarky remarks, it is mostly positive. However, there are some haters out there who hate Wal-Mart and the Waltons and by extension, Bentonville and everything that goes along with it. It must be out of jealousy. Maybe they don't have nice things or were treated badly as a child. Whatever the case, yes - Bentonville doesn't have a movie theater. That goes along with the small town that we have been up until the last few years. It's not unusual. It is unusual for a small town to have the world's largest retailer here. There are some bad things about Wal-Mart as there is with every large company. But the benefits not only here at home but around the world greatly outweigh the bad. They are making our town better and better.

    It reminds of the the nasty report John Stossel did about XNA airport prior to it's being built. That it was a boondoggle, an airport in the middle of a cow pasture. Nowhere. That airport ended 2014 with 640,000 enplanements. Not bad for a cow pasture. I think someone owes us an apology.

    Crystal Bridges was treated in much the same way. Snooty types on both coasts were aghast at expensive art going to Bentonville - they were appalled. What's wrong with the middle of the United States being treated to great art, offered free as well, to the 1.5 million visitors that have gone through so far?

    So - bash away, we're here to stay. Expect to hear more about Bentonville in the future. The haters can hate.  Robert De Niro is a block away from me right now...where does he stay when he comes to your town?


    history of the bentonville ice house

    Since there have been events going on at the old Ice House on SE 5th I have had several people wanting to know about it, so here is the info on the old building...and it begins with apples.

    Apple production was once a booming business in Northwest Arkansas, particularly Washington and Benton Counties. The first orchards here were around 1836 in Cane Hill in Washington County, and in Bentonville.

    The industry stayed basically a local one, without adequate transportation to take the apples to market. Wagon trains left the region for Little Rock with loads of apples, but it was inefficient. Finally with the addition of the first rail line by the Frisco in 1881, the area had a means of moving apples out of the region. In 1882 a spur was run to Bentonville and eventually through the west side of the county to Grove, Indian Territory. All of the little towns and spurs along the way had a means of shipping apples. By 1900, Benton County had 40,000 acres in apple orchards, slightly less in Washington county, making them the two largest apple producing counties in the US.

    In 1900, the Arkansas Black apple won first prize at the Paris Exhibition. Apples entered into the World's Fair in St. Louis won all of the major categories.

    By 1920 the boom was about over due to disease, changing market demands and later the dust bowl conditions.

    Back to the Ice House. The rail line ran from Rogers to Bentonville and the tracks were right behind the ice house. There were also a couple of evaporators in the same area served by a two block long spur to the north. The Ice House was likely built about 1895 to provide ice for the apples being packed from the west side of the county headed toward the Frisco line and points beyond.

    After the end of the apple boom, the Ice House provided ice for homes in an era when folks had an ice box instead of a refrigerator. They continued to produce ice for home and business use up until about the mid 1960's or early 1970's. I remember going there on my bike as a kid as they had a fountain out front that supplied the coldest drink of water in town.

    It was later closed for many years, opened as a private club and dining operation a few years back that didn't last long.

    Soon it will be made once again into viable lease space for restaurant, offices, etc....

    So when you are there this week for the festival, you now know the story behind the building.


    BFF Opening ceremony at crystal bridges

    Crystal Bridges was decked out in it's finest for the crowd of about 500 who were invited to the opening ceremony. I was invited but also at work, so I went.


    That's the governor in front of the entry; the Coke bottles were all made of bead work and acted as a doorway to the party...beautiful and I'm sure a lot of work...






    I kept saying that I hadn't seen any celebrities except for Geena Davis. Here's proof that someone sent me from a facebook posting:


    Yeah. Famke Janssen from XMen, Taken, etc...Look at the oblivious idiot in the background. No wonder I didn't see any stars.


    Bentonville film festival is starting tomorrow and setting up...are you coming?

    Took a walk around the corner to the location of the BFF Sponsor Village, just north of the Lawrence Plaza...things are starting to shape up...hope you are coming to experience this new and unusual event that will bring lots of visitors and tax dollars to our city. Starts tomorrow...let's go!