As the year draws to a close, Faulkner County residents will have many opportunities to try out new restaurants. Panda Express recently opened on Oak Street in Conway while Dairy Queen opened its new location at North Broadview at School Drive in Greenbrier earlier this month.

Blackwood’s Landing and Tavern, 116 S. Harkrider (old Fish House), officially opened November 14. There’s a game room with pool table and foosball as well as a new outdoor patio. Live musicians perform onstage in the late evenings. Several new items, like steaks, have been added to the menu.

Other new restaurants are on the cusp of opening over the next few weeks. Hiring is underway and opening dates are near. The first opening date news to share is that the new Sonic Drive-in, 98 South Broadview, has announced it will open Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

Signage is up at the new Denny’s, 1-40 and Dave Ward Drive, and the website currently indicates that the location is open for pickup only. A full opening should be happening soon.

Steak n’ Shake recently announced that its Greenbrier location will be undergoing a renovation of its dining area, the first in the country to get this new design concept. The drive-thru will remain open throughout the project.

Arkansas Business reported this week that R.A. Wilson Enterprises of Hot Springs had purchased all 56 corporate-owned Fred’s stores in nine states, including 16 in Arkansas. Rick Wilson, president of the company, said the firm expected to invest about $110 million to buy and redevelop the properties and plans to lease them to “Fortune 500 retailers.” Wilson declined, however, to disclose names of these retailers at this time.

This week we look at some of the holiday Christmas activities scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Downtown Conway’s 10th Annual Small Business Saturday will be November 30, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The annual Chick-Fil-A Illuminate celebration at 900 Oak Street will begin at 3 p.m. with Smile with Santa (sponsored by Delta Dental), live music (Palmer Music Company), and interactive family-friendly crafts and games. At 6 p.m. Mayor Bart Castleberry will preside over the Conway Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

On Sunday, December 1, WunderHaus, 900 Locust, will hold its free 2nd annual Winter Market, 1-7 p.m. This open-air, European style arts and crafts market features live performances, kid-friendly activities, shopping and farm fresh food!

Conway Regional Health System, 2302 College Avenue, will hold its annual Tribute Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, December 5, 5:30-7 p.m. at the East Entrance. This event will include holiday music, cookies and cocoa, and visits with Santa.

Conway Human Development Center, 150 East Siebenmorgen Road will hold its 5th annual Polar Express train rides on December 4 and 5, 5-8 p.m. Cookies, popcorn and hot chocolate will be served. Santa will also be there for photos! This event is free and open to the public.

The 24th annual Greenbrier Christmas Parade will be Thursday, December 5, 6:30 p.m. The theme is “Christmas in Toyland.” BeJoyful BeJolly Christmas Expo will take place at the Greenbrier City Event Center Dec. 6-7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“A Mad Russian Christmas,” will be presented by the Conway Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, December 7, 7:30 p.m. at Reynolds Performance Hall. This event is sponsored by Conway Corporation and Palmer Music Company. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends! We are truly blessed to live in a wonderful, thriving place like Faulkner County!

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