Editor’s Note: At press time, the following events and meetings were known to be still scheduled. Organizers or appropriate officials are encouraged to contact Sandra Hope at to make additions or changes.

Thursday, Dec. 8

Enchanted Land of Lights open

The Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends drive-thru holiday lights display is now open from 6-9 p.m. daily through New Year’s Eve at Regional Park. Electrical issues caused a delay in turning on the exhibit. More than 150 lighted displays are on the trail and include a gigantic Christmas tree, a magical castle, Santa in a fishing boat, a twinkling pig, glowing seahorses and more. Many of the displays like snowflake arches and a happy green dragon are animated. Local businesses and individuals sponsor the displays.

Stakeholders to meet

The Pine Bluff School District Unified Stakeholders will meet Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Generator, 435 S. Main St., according to a news release.

Ivy Center sets ACT prep

The Ivy Center for Education will host a free virtual ACT Boot Camp for 7-12th graders from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 8 via Zoom. Students from across the state who want to improve their ACT scores are encouraged to attend. The Zoom meeting ID is 856 8296 4187 and passcode is 351061. Students may sign up to receive workshop documents and a sign-in link by Dec. 7 by sending an email to Mattie Collins, retired educator and Ivy Center president, at Charity Smith-Allen, Ed.D, principal associate for education at Fetterman & Associates and founder of the Arkansas College Prep Academy, and staff will be the facilitators, according to a news release.

Downtown agency sets ladies event

Pine Bluff Downtown Development will present Ladies Night Out, Sip, Shop, Dine - Repeat from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Activities will occur between Barraque and Main streets to Second Avenue, according to the PBDD newsletter. Participants will include Indigo Blue Coffeehouse, Southeast Engravers, D’Virtuous Diva, RJ’s Grill & Bar, The Avenue, Uptown Salon & Boutique, additional vendors and food trucks. PBDD is presenting the event with sponsor Jefferson Regional Medical Center, according to the newsletter.

JRMC auxiliary to light Christmas tree

The Jefferson Regional Medical Center Auxiliary is selling lights for their 2022 Community Christmas Tree. The tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. Dec. 8 in the hospital’s main lobby, according to a news release. Lights can be purchased for $5 each in honor or in memory of someone. The auxiliary will send a card to the recipient or their family about the gift. All proceeds will be used by the auxiliary for special hospital projects. The tree lighting ceremony is free to attend. There will be refreshments and entertainment by the Jenkins Center Choir, according to the release. To receive an order form to buy a light, contact Laura Beth Shaner, Jefferson Regional volunteer director, at (870) 541-7210 or

Beginning Thursday, Dec. 8

Mistletoe Magic community holiday events set

Go Forward Pine Bluff announced the events for “Mistletoe Magic: Believe in Miracles,” family-friendly events designed to kick off the holiday season. Events include: DEC. 8 — Pine Bluff Downtown Development will host the Shop, Sip, Dine, and Repeat from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in downtown Pine Bluff on Main Street between Barraque Street and Second Avenue. Sponsors include GFPB, city of Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation, Pine Bluff Downtown Development, and the Pine Bluff Festival Association. Details: or (870) 939-6900, or


Area Agency sets blanket drive

The Area Agency on Aging of Southeast is hosting the Warmth Blanket Drive now through Jan. 3 in Jefferson County. The drive began Dec. 5, according to a news release. The purpose of the event is donate blankets to individuals who are elderly or disabled to keep warm this winter. For details or make donations, contact Carolyn Ferguson, (870) 543-6309 or Pauline Jones (870) 543-6313, at Area Agency.

Chamber seeks junior leaders

The Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking applicants for its Junior Leadership Pine Bluff program. Leadership Pine Bluff is geared toward high school juniors looking to gain leadership skills, network with other like-minded students, and those wanting to build their resumes for college applications, according to the Chamber newsletter. Applications are due by Dec. 16. Details: Jamal Gordon, member engagement manager, or Chamber Director Jennifer Kline, or (870) 535-0110.

Friday, Dec. 9

UAPB graduation features Benjamin Crump

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will host its 166th commencement ceremony on Dec. 9, at 10 a.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center and will livestream the ceremony via YouTube. (The processional begins at 9:45 a.m.) Renowned civil-rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump will serve as commencement speaker. The doors will open at 7:30 a.m. and guests should allow extra time for entry. The doors will close once the processional begins and will not reopen until graduates are seated in the arena. Metal detectors will be located at the main entrance. All carried-in items will be searched by security personnel prior to entering the Convention Center, according to the news release.

UAM plans fall graduation

The University of Arkansas at Monticello will conduct its fall 2022 commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday at Herman C. Steelman Fieldhouse at Monticello, according to their website. The graduation is for UAM’s Monticello, Crossett, and McGehee campuses. Scheduled speakers include UAM Chancellor Peggy Doss and C.C. “Cliff” Gibson III, chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. Special recognitions will include the presentation of the Chancellor’s Legacy Award. A clear bag policy is in place for all guests, according to a news release. Details: or the Office of Academic Affairs at (870) 460-1033. Commencement will be streamed live on YouTube. The link will be accessible from the website.

Live@5 to feature Josh Park Band

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will host the Josh Park Band during its Live@5 concert series from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9. “Listen to heavy electric blues and rock sounds that will bring explosive solos and rich tones to the Catherine M. Bellamy stage at 701 S. Main St.,” according to the news release. Admission is $5 for ASC members and $10 for nonmembers. Guests must be 21 or older. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and snacks will be provided. ASC’s Live@5 concert series, sponsored by MK distributors, is home to live jazz, blues, and rock & roll at 5 p.m. is usually held the first Friday of each month.

ASC sets Jewelry Making: Wire-Wrapped Rings

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will hold a beginner-friendly Jewelry Making: Wire-Wrapped Rings workshop from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at The ARTSpace on Main. Jeweler Mary Pat Tate will teach the craftsmanship of wire-wrapped rings. Students will learn two techniques: a basic wire-wrapped ring with a round bead and a wire-wrapped bezel ring using a coin bead. Students will make two rings to take home and gain the skills to make many more. Tate has fashioned jewelry for the past two decades and re-purposes found objects with precious metals to make one-of-a-kind pieces. The cost is $20 for ASC members and $25 for nonmembers. Must be 16 years or older. To register, visit or call (870) 536-3375. Details: Kourtlynn Pinkins at

Saturday, Dec. 10

Blues band fundraiser set

Jason Lee Hale and the Personal Space Invaders won the right to advance to the 2023 International Blues Challenge to be held on Beale Street at Memphis. Port City Blues Society will host a fundraiser concert and send-off event featuring the band at 8 p.m. Dec. 10 to help cover expenses of the competition, according to a news release. The event will be held at RJ’s Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors will open at 7 p.m.

Kids Cookin’ for a Cause set

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will present Kids Cookin’ for a Cause with instructor Faith Anaya from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 10 at The ARTSpace on Main. This event is free for ages 10 and older. To register, visit “This community service program allows youth to practice their kitchen skills while cooking delicious pasta dinners for hungry Arkansans served by Potluck Food Rescue. The organization helps to provide meals to children’s programs, women’s emergency shelters, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and more,” according to a news release.

Dollarway author, illustrator host event

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas welcomes Dollarway High School students Savannah Lawson and Jasmine Stinnett for the Second Saturday Family FunDay: “Mello’s Aquatic Life” Workshop Adventure, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 10. This event is free and open to all ages. This author-illustrator duo created the book “Mello’s Aquatic Life,” which guides readers through the character’s Coral City life while counting its diverse inhabitants, according to a news release. Lawson will guide participants to draw Mello, and Stinnett will read “Mello’s Aquatic Life.” A book signing will follow with a limited number of copies of the book for visitors to take home free. More will be available for purchase.

Sunday, Dec. 11

First Ward pantry, Joneses set Christmas giveaway

First Ward Living Grace Pantry will host the Bill and Sharri Jones 2022 Christmas Toy and Food Drive Give Away from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football stadium parking lot. Organizers expect to provide for more than 500 families in the drive-through event. Vehicles may have a maximum of two families each. The giveaway is first come first served. Participants must not get out of their vehicles. Vehicles will enter University Drive and exit Oliver Road to L.A. “Prexy” Davis Drive. Supporters are Bill and Sharri Jones of Sissy’s Log Cabin, Arkansas Food Bank, Tyson Foods, and others, according to a news release from Debra Allen, executive director of First Ward Living Grace pantry.

St. John AME observes 154th anniversary

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will celebrate its 154th anniversary at 11 a.m. Dec. 11. The pastor, the Rev. Chestine Sims Jr., will deliver the worship message. The community is invited to attend the service in person or virtually via Zoom, with Meeting ID 380 457 5496 and Passcode: 1117; by audio-call in at 1-312-626-6799 (when prompted use: 3804575496# when prompted use 1117#); or by Facebook Live at

Monday, Dec. 12

A&P finance panel to meet

The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission Finance Committee will meet at noon Dec. 12 in the offices of the A&P Commission, 623 S. Main St. Participants are asked to let the staff know if they plan to attend, according to a news release. Details: Betty Brown, A&P administrative assistant, (870) 534-2121.

Angel Tree deadline set

The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program at Pine Bluff is underway until Dec. 12 to help children in need. There are names to be adopted and drop-off Angel Tree locations at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave.; Simmons Bank, 501 S. Main St.; Hibbett Sports, 1650 E. Harding Ave.; and Walmart Supercenter, 5501 S. Olive St., which is offering in-store and online options. Just select a name from the tree, buy the gift and drop it into the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree box, which is usually located near the store’s exit. Details: TheSalvationArmyofPineBluff/ on Facebook.

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Chamber slates Lunch & Learn

A Lunch & Learn session will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave. The session will be in rooms A&B, according to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The guest speaker will be Stephanie Ezell, donor recruitment director for the Arkansas Blood Institute. Lunch is $10 and it’s sponsored by the institute. Reservations are required at or (870) 535-0110.

Stone Bank sets holiday open house

Stone Bank, 7739 Sheridan Road, will host a holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 13. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend the event. The bank will also make a holiday contribution to the EAST Lab at White Hall Middle School, according to a news release.

TOPPS to hand out food

TOPPS, 1000 Townsend Drive, will conduct its monthly food distribution at 10 a.m. Dec. 13. An application form must be completed on the day of the distribution, according to a news release. One application per household will be provided. Clients must have ID with proof of residence and the address must match the ID. Participants must be present to receive a food box and there are no exceptions. TOPPS is a non-profit, community based organization. Details: TOPPS, (870) 850-6011.

Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 13

Pine Bluff Community Band hosts concerts

The Pine Bluff Community Band announced its upcoming concerts. Performances include: their major Christmas concert on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church at White Hall, 8708 Dollarway Road; and a performance Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at The Villages of General Baptist East, 6811 S. Hazel St. Concerts are free and open to the general public.

Wednesday, Dec. 14

Pine Bluff Commercial sets church news deadline

Church news is printed in The Commercial on Friday. The deadline to submit church announcements is noon Wednesday. Pastors, ministers or others interested in writing for the Devotional Page may also submit columns for consideration. Column writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Articles should be submitted by email to Details: (870) 534-3400, ext. 5.

Thursday, Dec. 15

Parole Board meeting set

The Arkansas Parole Board will hold its monthly board meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Richard Lee Richardson Auditorium of the board office at North Little Rock, according to a news release. The full calendar of hearings and meetings slated for and by the parole board can be found on the website at under Meeting Information and Hearings & Board Schedule. Details: (501) 682-3850.

Friday, Dec. 16

UAPB sets groundbreaking

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will conduct a ground-breaking ceremony for the UAPB Student Engagement Center at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 16. The event will be held at the STEM Conference Center, 1530 L.A. Prexy Davis Drive, according to a news release. The community is invited to view the ceremony which will be live-streamed at Details: or (870) 575-8701.

SEARK plans graduation

Southeast Arkansas College will host its fall 2022 in-person commencement at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Details:

Chamber sets deadline on junior leaders

The Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking applicants for its Junior Leadership Pine Bluff program. Leadership Pine Bluff is geared toward high school juniors looking to gain leadership skills, network with other like-minded students, and those wanting to build their resumes for college applications, according to the Chamber newsletter. Applications are due by Dec. 16. Details: Jamal Gordon, member engagement manager, or Chamber Director Jennifer Kline, or (870) 535-0110.

Saturday, Dec. 17

St. John AME to give away food

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will give away food boxes to those in need Dec. 17 from 9 a.m. until all food has been given out. State ID’s are required to receive one box per family. Food will be picked up in front of the church on Cherry Street. For safety reasons, recipients are asked to stay in their vehicles and open their trunks, according to a news release.

Delta Network to give away food

The Delta Network Food Bank of Pine Bluff will give away food from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The annual Drive-Thru Hunger Relief Distribution will feature a truckload of chicken donated by Tyson Foods to help families in economic distress, according to a news release. Participants should remain in their vehicles at all times. Vehicles will line up down Eighth Avenue and drive through the North access to the Convention Center, receive the food available for each registered household, and follow the instructions of the traffic directors. Registration forms will be available on site. Details: (870) 536-2424.

ASC announces Miracle on Main

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will present “Miracle on Main: A Holiday Special” at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (870) 536-3375. Tickets are $20 each. Children 3 and younger can sit on the lap of their parents/guardians for free entry. “Remember those television Holiday specials: the singing, the dancing, and those family-friendly comedy skits? Get ready to celebrate ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ during ASC’s holiday variety show featuring talent from Southeast Arkansas. Join the laughter, the fun and many holiday favorites. Santa himself may stop by for a visit,” according to the news release.

Yoga in The Loft set at ASC

Ages 13 and older are invited to exercise and relax with certified yoga instructor Florence Love, aka FloEssence, every third Saturday of the month from 1:30-3 p.m. during Yoga in the Loft. The next session is Dec. 17. The cost is pay-what-you-can ($15 recommended). This program takes place in the Loft Gallery at the ARTSpace on Main, a program of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. Advanced registration is required at or by calling (870) 536-3375. Participants may use provided yoga mats or bring their own. People should also wear yoga-appropriate attire. The event is sponsored by Angela J. White Smith, Realtor. Details: Kourtlynn Pinkins at

Police toy drive event set

The Pine Bluff Police Officers’ 4th annual Toy Drive event will be held Dec. 17. The Toy Drive Committee is asking for the community’s support in helping the officers provide new toys. They will also accept monetary donations to purchase toys, according to the City of Pine Bluff Facebook post. Donations can be made to: Pine Bluff Police Officers Toy Drive, 200 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff, AR, 71601. For more details or for donations to be picked up, call (870) 413-6756 or (870) 489-6006.

Sunday, Dec. 18

New Community hosts Kingdom Building

New Community Church, 321 N. Birch St., will host its Kingdom Building program at 6 p.m. Dec. 18. The speaker will be Sam Gibson, a New Community deacon.

Through Monday, Dec. 19

DRA seeks applicants for medical missions

The Delta Regional Authority released a Request for Proposals seeking an organization within the DRA region to partner with local community agencies and the U.S. Department of Defense to deliver two Innovative Readiness Training Medical Missions in summer 2023. The deadline for submitting a proposal is 5 p.m. Dec. 19, according to a news release. Details on Innovative Readiness Trainings is available at and Details on submission requirements and scope of work is available at

Through Saturday, Dec. 31

Road improvements closes lanes

Alternating lane closures began recently on Highway 79 between Saline County and Rison for one mile across the Saline River Bridge. Due to the lane closures, the maximum load width on the bridge is eight feet, according to a news release from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. These closures will continue daily until the end of December, weather permitting, and will allow crews to conduct hydro demolition of the current bridge deck, followed by a latex-modified concrete overlay. ARDOT reminds drivers to slow down and be cautious of people in work zones.


NAACP recruits for academic contest

The Pine Bluff Branch NAACP is recruiting youth for its 2022-23 Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO.) Contestants will compete for scholarships and monetary prizes, according to a news release. Students at Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel, Dollarway, and White Hall high schools are eligible to participate. Parents and teachers are urged to register their students as soon as possible to take advantage of scholarship opportunities offered by the National NAACP in essay writing, art, and engineering. Registration ends in December. To get an ACT-SO registration packet, to volunteer, or for more information, contact Maryann Lee at (870) 718-5330.

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023

Blues concerts on tap for downtown

The Port City Blues Society will host “Blues By Budweiser,” live blues concerts on the first Saturday of each month through February 2023 at RJ’s Sports Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Port City Blues Society members are admitted for free. There’s a $5 cover charge for nonmembers, according to a news release. Performers include Jan. 7, 2023 — Sean Bad Apple; and Feb. 4, 2023 — Arkaholics. Details: or

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023

Berry reception, Gillett Coon Supper set

The 11th annual “Berry Pre-Coon Supper Reception” will be held at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Berry Farm Shop at Gillett. The 79th Gillett Coon Supper will follow at the Gillett School Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m., according to a news release. Tickets to the Coon Supper may be purchased by contacting Larry Bauer at (870) 830-4002. Tickets for the reception are $40 each. All tickets will be available for purchase at the door. For reception sponsorship details, contact Becky Barnes Campbell at (501) 912-7560 or Gabe Holmstrom at (479) 409-3329.

Through Friday, Jan. 20

Downtown project seeks chefs, entrepreneurs

Go Forward Pine Bluff is seeking food trucks, chefs, entrepreneurs and start-ups for business opportunities supported by the Sixth & Main project. GFPB is transforming the Sixth and Main Street Plaza into a fully functioning space that will feature four restaurants, a roof top bar and several retail areas in Downtown Pine Bluff, according to a news release. The plaza will also feature an outdoor amphitheater, outdoor dining, a rainwater garden, and a fountain bridge. All interested vendors are encouraged to contact The Generator at (870) 663-0200. Space is limited. The deadline to apply is Jan. 20, 2023.

Through Saturday, Feb. 4

Midst: Artwork by Nick Hobbs set

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas is hosting the exhibit “Midst: Artwork by Nick Hobbs” through Feb. 4, 2023. “Hobbs’ current practice is defined by small, highly detailed graphite drawings that interweave the everyday and the sublime in curated juxtapositions. He has been involved with amateur astronomy for over a decade, and it influences everything he does,” according to a news release. Details:

Through Friday, Feb. 24

Taylor exhibit addresses racism, prophecy

An exhibition at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas showcases the work of noted Memphis-based artist Madai Taylor. “An Elegy to America in Black and White II: The Artwork of Madai Taylor” features 18 pieces. Taylor’s exhibition addresses racism, and prophecy. The exhibition will be on view in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Feb. 24.

Saturday, March 11

SEARK announces gala

Southeast Arkansas College will host the Sock Hop fundraising gala March 11 at Seabrook, 6808 S. Hazel St., a SEARK college and community recreation center. The VIP reception is from 6-7 p.m. and the gala from 7-11 p.m., according to the newsletter of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Through Monday, May 15

SBA disaster loans available

Small nonfarm businesses in 75 Arkansas counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2023, according to a news release. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by excessive heat and drought that began on May 30. Details: Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email


Covid-19 vaccines, testing available

The Arkansas Department of Health, various pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the covid-19 vaccine, tests and other information about coronavirus. Details: Call the Arkansas Department of Health at (800) 985-6030, visit the website at or contact area medical professionals, according to spokesmen.


Unity Christian offers free financial classes

Unity Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC), 2712 S. Bay St., invites the community to its free Small Business and Personal Financial Education classes at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Recent subjects included “The Importance of Having a Financial Plan” and “Financial Literacy,” according to Stuff in the Bluff website. “You cannot afford to miss out on these life-changing classes. We are practicing social distancing and will have hand sanitizer wipes available,” according to the site. Anthony Armstrong is the senior pastor. Details: or (870) 329-1182.

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