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Chaffee Crossing hosts Spring Festival Saturday

Fans of Elvis Presley can count on a fun, old-fashioned atmosphere when they attend an upcoming festival.

Free and aimed at all ages, the Chaffee Crossing Spring Festival & Sixth Annual Elvis Haircut Day will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, 7313 Terry St. at Chaffee Crossing.

An Elvis Look-A-Like Contest, Elvis trivia and stories, food, helicopter rides, barbecue and chili cook-offs, free haircuts, musical performances, a Hula Hoop and Poodle Skirt competitions, games, prizes and more are planned to help area residents and visitors commemorate Presley’s famous “G.I. buzz cut” given at the museum back on March 25, 1958, said Ivy Owen, executive director for the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.

“This is an expanded version of the Hair Cut Day we’ve had for the past five years to commemorate Elvis Presley’s haircut, and it has free admission,” he said. “We are anticipating a large crowd for this event.

“Even in the rain and cold last year, we had a big, consistent crowd for the Elvis Haircut Day,” Owen added. “We originally were hoping for 1,500 to 2,000 people to attend this year, but according to the responses we’ve received so far, we will have a heck of a lot more people than that.”

Jimmy Don Peterson, son of the barber who cut Presley’s hair, will provide free “buzz haircuts” beginning at 1 p.m. A sign-up sheet will be available inside the barber shop, Owen said.

“This will be an exciting, family-friendly event for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

Helicopter rides over the Chaffee Crossing Historic District will cost $25. The Fort Smith Barbecue Society’s BBQ Cook-Off will be $5 per plate, while $3 taste kits and $3 “throw-down” bowls will be available for the Fort Smith Belch Chili Pod’s Chili Cook-Off. Those interested in competing in both cook-offs can visit www.chaffeecrossing.com; entry fee is $25 for the barbecue contest and $35 for the chili competition.

Live entertainment will come courtesy of Elvis tribute artist Brent Giddens, who will perform two sets of Elvis’ material from the 1960s and 1970s. Other performers include country musician Justin Edwards, the Riverblenders Barbershop Quartet and folk artist Peter Lippincott.

Also on tap are a beer garden for those who are 21 and older, as well as a Poodle Skirt Contest, a display of classic automobiles and a veterans-art display inside the district’s Cre8tive Building. Bruce Terri Catering will sell various festival-style foods, with proceeds from food and beverage sales benefiting the Chaffee Crossing Historic District, Owen said.

“The Spring Festival is still centered around Elvis’ buzz cut; it’s just bigger, better and more fun now,” he said. “We think that this fun event will have a great atmosphere and give the community a great thing to enjoy.”

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