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What's New for 2017 in Northwest & North Central Arkansas

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Back 40 Mountain Bike Trail, Bella Vista
Region: Northwest 
The Back 40 single track mountain bike trail in Bella Vista is a 40-mile trail system. The Back 40 Loop is the main trail within that system that circles the east side of the city. There isn’t really a starting point for the loop, but rather four trailheads for access — Buckingham Trailhead, Lake Ann Trailhead, Bear Hollow Trailhead, and Blowing Springs Park. The trails embrace the city’s hilly topography of bluffs, waterfalls, and deep wooded areas.
Additionally, the Back 40 is the first of a multi-phase project that plans for a total of 150 miles of natural-surface trail through the City of Bella Vista’s 45 square miles. The construction of the trail system is by NWA Trailblazers and has been fully funded by a $3 million grant to that organization from the Walton Family Foundation.
CONTACT: 479-876-1255, www.BellaVistaAR.gov.
Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, Bentonville
Region: Northwest
Brightwater is a world-class food learning and cultural center. Through its uniquely holistic programming, The Center offers academic and career training in cuisine and the culinary arts, food systems and service, traditional and artisanal food crafts, and entrepreneurial development.
CONTACT: 479-899-6925, www.Brightwater.org.
Darby Legacy Monument, Fort Smith
Region: Northwest
A 12 ft. bronze statue of WWII General William Darby, with him riding on his 1942 Harley Davidson motorcycle, is located in Fort Smith's Cisterna Park at the corner of North 10th street and Garrison Avenue.
CONTACT: 479-783-8888, 10th & Garrison, www.DarbyLegacyProject.com.
Downtown Murals, Fort Smith
Region: Northwest
A result of the Unexpected Festivals held in September, the annual 10-day festival of murals is lead by a team of world-renowned international artists who add modern vibrancy to the historic walls of Fort Smith's downtown area. Artist lineup will vary, each year, adding beautiful works of art that represent cultures from all around the globe.
CONTACT: 479-783-8888, www.646Downtown.com.
Lake Atalanta, Rogers
Region: Northwest
Lake Atalanta is a reservoir along Prairie Creek in Rogers. Used primarily for recreation, it was built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration. Today, Lake Atalanta is surrounded by the second oldest park in Rogers. The park contains a playground, picnic area, fishing piers,and walking trail. Just below the dam is a second city park, Lake Atalanta Dam Site, constructed in 1987. Lake Atalanta is part of the "Family and Community Fishing Program" for Arkansas.
Melba Theatre, Batesville
Region: North Central 
The newly renovated Melba Theater is now open for business once again and is celebrating 76 years. Located on Main Street Batesville, the Melba Theater is a single-screen movie theater that seats around 400. The Theater also features live events and private parties. Regular movie ticket prices are $4.
CONTACT: 870-569-8002, www.MelbaTheater.org.
Walton Arts Center expansion, Fayetteville
Region: Northwest
The Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville celebrated the grand reopening of its newly renovated facility on Nov. 19. The grand reopening celebration kicks off WAC’s 25th anniversary season.
The new expanded atrium will allow patrons to share the excitement, the insights and the beauty of what has happened on stage with one another. The new atrium transforms the relationship between Walton Arts Center, Dickson Street and the entertainment district with glass walls beckoning people inside. There are also now additional restrooms; a designated Starr Concierge Counter for patrons to easily access food, beverages and merchandise; the capacity to host seated dinners for 300 guests for weddings, corporate events and other gatherings downtown.
The Starr Theatre has also been renovated for bigger shows. Increased accessibility and amenities include updated technology and accommodations allowing the building to meet the production needs of 21st century shows, and increased accessibility will make the aged facility a friendlier destination for patrons.