City plans May shindig to celebrate 175th anniversary

While the actual date of Pine Bluff’s incorporation is Jan. 8, 1839, the city will celebrate its 175th birthday in style the weekend of May 2-3 this year.

Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said the May dates were selected in lieu of a winter celebration in order to take advantage of the anticipated warm spring weather.

“We realized that January was not a suitable time for activities so we started thinking about which weekend to set aside for the celebration,” Hollingsworth said. “We want to bring people back to the city with their wonderful memories to help us celebrate this milestone in our town’s history.”

“There will be a lot of great fun for families and those who want to reminisce and enjoy the weekend,” Hollingsworth said.

Friday, May 2, will feature an upgraded Music on Main event in downtown Pine Bluff with a wide array of music and entertainment, including fraternity and sorority steppers from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Saturday’s events include a 10 a.m. parade on Main Street from Harding Avenue to the Jefferson County Courthouse. A Civil War re-enactment is planned for 1 p.m. in Regional Park and at 6 p.m. a black-tie optional gala will be held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Hollingsworth said proceeds from tickets to the gala will go toward funding a new foundation that will provide educational incentives and scholarships to UAPB and Southeast Arkansas College.

“The gala will serve as the grand finale of our celebration and will be the beginning of many future citywide balls,” Hollingsworth said. “The foundation will target children who are at risk academically in grades K-11 to show them that we care and that we want to support and empower them. We will also be offering scholarships to the seniors.”

Sponsorships and tickets

Hollingsworth said no city funds will be used to fund the event and that instead there will be five levels of sponsorship for businesses and members of the public to pay for and promote the events. The registration deadline is April 1.

Tickets for the gala are $50 for adults and $25 for students.