Pine Bluff is having a party, and you’re invited.
The city will mark the 175th anniversary of its 1839 incorporation on Friday, Jan. 10.
Special events are to be scheduled during the year, but an official two-day celebration is already on the calendar for Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3.
Special events coordinator Lanette Frazier of Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s staff said that a still-developing 175 Committee is looking at a birthday-themed Music on Main event on the night of Friday, May 2, to initiate the festivities.
A downtown Main Street parade is planned for the following Saturday morning. The city’s history will be stressed in the costuming of participants and decoration of floats.
“We’ll have opportunities for people of all ages to participate,” Frazier said. “We want the parade to showcase our past successes and future promise.”
Capping the celebration will be a formal citywide ball on Saturday night, May 3, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. An admission fee will help to offset expenses for the gala. All other events are to be free.
“This is a marvelous opportunity for Pine Bluffians to come together and commemorate our many achievements throughout our 175-year existence,” Hollingsworth said. “Our celebration will also give us a means of strengthening our focus on making our great potential for the coming years a reality. This is an exciting time for Pine Bluff.”
Jefferson County Judge Dutch King, a former Pine Bluff mayor, agreed.
“Just think about how long a time 175 years is,” King said. “It’s a very special achievement for the city, for all of us. Pine Bluff has a remarkable history, and I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it. This is my home, so it’s always been and will forever be dear to my heart. I congratulate Pine Bluff, and I hope everyone is as proud and pleased with this milestone as I am.”
Hollingsworth said that although the actual incorporation anniversary date is in January, she and others felt that because of the possibility of ice or snow, most occasions honoring the historic occurrence should be slated for warmer months.
The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum at 201 East Fourth Avenue will note the anniversary with an open house from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Cookies and punch will be available for visitors, and a program, book sale and autograph session featuring author Denise White Parkinson is set to begin at 1.
Parkinson, a Pine Bluff native who now resides in Hot Springs, wrote the recently published “Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery and Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta.” The book covers the life and suspicious death of Helen Spence of St. Charles in neighboring Arkansas County.
Parkinson’s father is Matt White, a popular, longtime radio personality who began his career in Pine Bluff. He may be more recognizable by his radio name — Sonny Martin.