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Music Brings Business to Downtown Bentonville

The Bentonville square filled with the sound of music Friday, and local businesses say bringing artists to the downtown area is paying off.
Bentonville, AR - The Bentonville square filled with the sound of music Friday, and local businesses say bringing artists to the downtown area is paying off.

Jonathan Ramsey kicked off this month's "Mid Way to St. Patrick's Day" First Friday celebration with a set of Irish folk tunes.

"Irish music in Northwest Arkansas... when I first came down here I didn't know what to expect," he says. "People just kind of embrace it. The Irish come out of the woodwork when their music's out. It's the time to shine."

Mayor Bob McCaslin says the Winter weather has slowed downtown foot traffic, but the square and local businesses filled up under Friday's clear skies.

"Winter has given us a break," McCaslin says. "People have been inside way too long and we're ready to crank things off."

Cher Evans of Downtown Bentonville, Inc. says the festivals are about bringing everyone together to have fun, but they're also a boost for local businesses.

"It shows that Downtown Bentonville has something for everyone," she says "This is where you can gather, have a good time, be with friends and have some great food."

Stephanie Planchon owns the Paisley Place on Main Street. She says bringing the tunes downtown equates to extra foot traffic.

"We stay busy until 8:30 or 9 o'clock," says Planchon says. "Downtown Bentonville, Inc. has really worked on trying to bring more artists, and music, just different types of artists downtown."

After seeing the musicians on the main stage attract the crowds, she partnered with the store next door to bring in bands of their own.

"The band usually draws a lot of people, just hanging out up front, just listening to the band," she says. "Who doesn't love music... It just kind of puts you in a more relaxed mood and helps you just enjoy life a lot."
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