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Inclement weather and the threat thereof dampened participation in an Easter-themed First Thursday event March 4, but the disappointing turnout is not deterring Main Street El Dorado or the Downtown Business Association from their mission of drawing more people downtown.

“The DBA is still going strong with their First Thursday plan,” Brumley said, adding that the group has agreed to boost promotional efforts, including marketing via radio and social media.

MSE board member Bruce Butterfield also suggested targeting employees of nearby professional offices and corporations, including Murphy Oil and Murphy USA.

Downtown’s Hoppin’ did not draw the crowd that was needed to break a state record for the longest Bunny Hop line.

Siloam Springs holds the record in Arkansas for 500.

Thundershowers throughout the day had mostly cleared by the time the bunny hop line was formed in the evening, but skies remained cloudy and another round of showers moved in later.

A modest crowd braved the rainy weather to participate in the event.

Downtown’s Hoppin’ is one of several creative ideas the DBA is implementing to enhance First Thursday activities, which include live music, retail promotions, refreshments and later hours for downtown businesses.

The theme for May 2 is “Mommy and Me,” a salute to Mother’s Day on May 12.

Brumley said the DBA is hoping the theme will prompt mothers to bring their children downtown for an evening of shopping, dining and other activities, including the MAD playscape.

First Thursday, which was launched by the DBA last year, is slowly catching on in the community, Brumley said.

She noted that a woman who participated in the March 4 event said the extended retail hours afforded her the opportunity to shop downtown after work.

Downtown retail shops remain open until 7 p.m. on First Thursday. Most typically close between 5 and 6 p.m.

A “school’s out” celebration with a carnival theme is planned for First Thursday in June, Brumley announced.

Downtown summer events will also kick off in June with the first installment of Showdown at Sunset, the Murphy USA Summer Concert Series, PJ’s Grill Wars and Music on Main, sponsored by the El Dorado Creamery.

Summer events are planned for June 22, July 27 and August 24.

The theme is “Spend the Day in El Dorado,” and Brumley said activities will begin at noon and include Baggo, Connect Four, Jenga and free horse and carriage rides.

Live music will begin at 4:30 p.m., leading into Showdown, a historical reenactment of a deadly gunfight that took place on the streets of El Dorado in the early 1900s as part of an ongoing feud between the Tucker and Parnell families.

Former Arkansas Gov. Jim “Guy” Tucker is a descendent of the Tucker clan.

The long-running show is staged on the east (Jefferson Avenue) side of the Union County Courthouse.

The concert series will immediately follow Showdown in the MAD Amphitheater. Performers for 2019 will be announced.

New downtown business

Southern Hippie joined the Downtown El Dorado retail family with a soft opening Thursday, Main Street board members reported.

The new retail shop is located at 207 E. Main and offers unique gifts and apparel and accessories for men, women and children.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@eldoradonews.com.

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