Posted on August 10, 2016
Published by El Dorado News Times
By Jessica Stevens
The SouthArk Outdoor Expo, South Arkansas Community College’s largest fundraiser of the year, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the El Dorado Conference Center. Members of the SouthArk Foundation Board as well as Dr. Barbara Jones, SouthArk College President, spoke about the upcoming event at the El Dorado Rotary Club’s weekly meeting at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
Board President Greg Withrow said that the SouthArk Expo started out as a friendly outdoor meeting to help people to understand what the college was about and to attempt to generate scholarship funds for needy students in the community. “This has grown to be able to give back approximately $60,000 a year to the community for scholarships,” said Withrow. “Our college has a tremendous amount of nontraditional students. It’s people who have graduated high school, didn’t complete college, or never went for whatever reason. They went out into the workforce then mid-life decided to come back to college.” He said that these scholarships, like single parent scholarships, help these nontraditional students in particular. “It’s very rewarding to see how the scholarships make a difference in a person coming back and then finishing school,” he said. He continued —
“At the end of the day, that’s a positive for our community. El Dorado is a great place with a great quality of life and the college is a fundamental cornerstone to that quality of life.”
The 2016 SouthArk Outdoor Expo will be presented by Apex Ready Mix. The special guest host will be outdoor expert Steve “Wild Man” Wilson. Live music will be provided throughout the event by various artists including the Cummins Prison Band, Jimmy Lewis and the Eight Second Ride Band, and the Seth Walker Band. The day-long experience will also host a car show this year. The Maj. Ronald Wayne Culver Hero 5K Run-Walk will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Locust and South Washington Street.
Jim Tidwell said that they are still in need of teams and judges for the annual El Dorado Chemical Rib Cook-Off, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entry forms and competition rules can be found on their website at southarkexpo.com. A talent show, photo contest, model plane aviation, and a chainsaw carver will be other featured events. The El Dorado Police Department, El Dorado Fire Department and the Union County Sheriff’s Office will have some of their equipment on exhibit.
The Kid’s World will have something for all ages of children to enjoy including inflatables, a National Guard Obstacle Course, juggler and a stilt walker. The Oakridge Bow Hunters and Slingin’ Arrows will be on hand to teach children about archery while the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will also be there with the Scales of Justice attraction used to educate children on state wildlife. The Union County Animal Protection Society will have dogs and puppies available for adoption at the event.
“This is our premier fundraising event for the college,” said Dr. Jones. “The Expo has funded numerous scholarships and mini grants. It’s a wonderful way to not only have a community activity with people of all ages out but it also helps with recruiting.” Admission to the event is one canned or packaged food item which will benefit Turning Point of South Arkansas.