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A Piece Of The Pie

Hootenanny ‘old-timey’ fun for artsy cause

By Lara Hightower

This article was published May 19, 2017 at 1:00 a.m.

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A passion for pies is at the heart of the Artist’s Laboratory Hootenanny, scheduled for Saturday. Rain date is June 3, and ALT founder Erika Wilhite promises updates at arkansasartlab on Facebook.

FAQ

Hootenanny

WHEN — 6-9 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — Cheadle Farms, 1554 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville; parking available at Ozark Natural Foods

COST — $5-$20

INFO — 439-6046

The Artist's Laboratory Theatre's artistic director Erika Wilhite knows exactly where the idea for the company's fundraiser "Hootenanny" -- a pie-fest of epic proportions -- came from.

"I absolutely remember the inciting incident," Wilhite says, laughing. "We do a radio show, 'The All You Need to Know Show,' that picks a theme, and through song and monologues we learn about that theme. We picked pie one time, and it was the biggest hit. We knew then that there was power in pie to bring people together."

Now in its third year, the Hootenanny has become one of the hottest tickets in town. A $20 entrance fee ($5 for kids 10 and younger) buys you a barbecue dinner provided by Ozark Natural Foods and beer provided by Fossil Cove Brewing Co., sangria and -- of course -- pie on the picturesque grounds of Cheadle Farms in Fayetteville.

But the fun-filled evening doesn't simply include food -- lawn games, square dancing and plenty of activities for kids make this a family-friendly hoedown, all part of what Wilhite calls "Ozark old timey fun."

"Artist's Laboratory likes to do an environment," says Wilhite. "It's the theater in us. So we said, 'Let's do a whole world.'"

Allison Williams of Fayetteville Square Dance will teach partygoers traditional square dancing moves to the tunes of a live string band while three-legged races, horseshoes and egg rolling competitions will keep parents and kids alike entertained.

And then, says Wilhite, "we'll fight to the death for pie" at the silent and live auctions, which will close out the night. Wilhite says she currently has commitments for 45 pies (and counting) from "local celebrities."

"A lot of people's mothers or grandmothers have recipes that they have handed down from generation to generation," says Wilhite. "Those grandma pies go for high dollars." Wilhite thinks a bourbon and bacon pie from years past may be the most unusual combination of pie she remembers seeing.

Because it's an outside event, the Hootenanny organizers are watching the skies and have a contingency plan should the weather not cooperate.

"It's really about getting people together," says Wilhite. "That's why we do these events. We're going to have such a great time."

-- Lara Hightower

lhightower@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 05/19/2017

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