Holiday-themed happenings help groups

The Clayton House and its gazebo are shown in this photo. The Gaslight Gala set for Dec. 1 at the historic mansion will help support the museums support museum programs, promotion and preservation. The fundraiser will feature carriage rides, cocktails, live and silent auctions, live music by RainKings and festive fare.

(Courtesy photo/The Clayton House - Carmen Taylor)
The Clayton House and its gazebo are shown in this photo. The Gaslight Gala set for Dec. 1 at the historic mansion will help support the museums support museum programs, promotion and preservation. The fundraiser will feature carriage rides, cocktails, live and silent auctions, live music by RainKings and festive fare. (Courtesy photo/The Clayton House - Carmen Taylor)

Gaslight Gala

The Clayton House Museum in Fort Smith will welcome guests for the Gaslight Gala tomorrow evening, which will feature carriage rides, cocktails, live and silent auctions, live music by RainKings and festive fare, organizers said.

The Italianate-style historic mansion was the home William Henry Harrison Clayton, chief prosecutor in Judge Isaac C. Parker's courtroom in the late 19th century. It "serves as a living history book of Fort Smith's elegant Victorian period during the city's frontier beginnings on the border of Indian Territory," according to the nonprofit organization's website.

Menu highlights include chef's choice butter boards; pork wellington carving station; ranch-infused chicken with chef's choice sauce; cheddar jalapeño biscuits; herbed potato gratin; whole green beans with butternut squash and toasted pumpkin seeds; and rosemary olive cake with lavender butter cream. Gala signature cocktails Poinsettia Punch and Christmas Cheer will complement the menu.

Proceeds from the evening will help support museum programs, promotion and preservation, Mila Masur, executive director, said Monday. Currently on the preservation agenda is a new roof for the historic house.

"The Clayton House has had a cedar shake roof since it was built," Masur said. "It will be replaced with a new roof to maintain the authenticity of The Clayton House."

A fire broke out when the roof was being repaired in 1969 and spread to and damaged other parts of the attic, which led to the condemnation of the house. However, "Julia Yadon and a group of concerned citizens stopped the demolition and formed the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation," which oversaw the authentic restoration that began in 1970, and "continues the legacy of maintaining the house."

The Clayton House opened in 1977 as a museum and "has been welcoming visitors from around the world since then," Masur added.

The historic house will also hold a Christmas open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 16. The free family event will include cookies and cider, live music and photos with "Judge and Mrs. Clayton."

The book "Homes with History" will be the subject of the next installment of the Clayton Conversations monthly lecture series and is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at the museum.

Hourly guided tours with interpreters are available noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Those boosting the benefit include Supporting Sponsor -- L & D Rentals; Contributing Sponsor -- First National Bank; Benefit Sponsors -- Ghan & Cooper Multi-Family; Hooks & Associates; and Friend Sponsors -- Nancy Ahlert; ArcBest; Beshears Construction; Jeff Burks for Arkansas; Jan and Bob Cooper; Jim and Kelle Kreutz; Forsgren Inc.; and Hanna Oil & Gas Company.

Santa Paws Bash

Good Shepherd Humane Society

An evening of dining, dancing, drinks, music, art and auctions at the Santa Paws Bash will help support the Good Shepherd Humane Society, Carroll County's only no-kill shelter.

Good Shepherd supporters will have the opportunity to purchase works from featured regional artists. Each of them donated an item to be sold in the evening's live auction. Participating artists are Mel Shipley, Pamela Winters, Josh Stout, The Nighttimers, Terri Wagner and Raymond Gibby.

The mission of the nonprofit organization is "to care for the stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats of Carroll County, Ark. -- placing as many as possible into loving homes; (to) promote responsible pet ownership and humane treatment for all animals (and) to help reduce pet overpopulation by promoting low-cost spay/neuter programs."

The organization fulfills its mission through programs, such as the working cat program "designed to place cats in safe environments where they are valued for their hunting skills" as barn cats, shop cats or "rodent control officer," according to the society's website. "Some of our cats aren't the cuddliest, but they are willing to work for food and shelter."

Good Shepherd offers a variety of ways for people to foster animals.

Options include the field trip foster for a day of hiking, walking around town or "just being around friends and family." Pawjama Program/Weekend Fostering offers overnight or weekend visits for those interested in spending time with a dog, but not yet ready for long-term fostering or adoption. Other options include long-term, emergency/medical and nursing mothers and litters fostering.

"Good Shepherd Humane Society has proudly served the needs of strays in the Eureka Springs area since 1974. Part of our mission is to help solve the pet overpopulation problem, and one solution to that problem is to make sure your pets are spayed and neutered."

The clinic houses a low cost spay/neuter clinic that offers additional services such as microchipping, vaccines and heartworm testing at the time of spay or neuter.

Tickets for the Santa Paws Bash are $75 for individuals. Event sponsorships are available for $550 for a table for eight and $2,000 for two tables for eight with priority table placement and sponsorship acknowledgments. All tickets include admission, dinner and two drink tickets.

Festival of Trees

The month-long Festival of Trees at Mount Sequoyah will conclude Dec. 9 with the Festival of Trees: 100 Year Celebration and Auction at the Mount Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville.

The second annual festival "is designed for our community to celebrate the holiday spirit on the mountain and raise funds to preserve the historic campus," the group's website reads. The festival features 26 decorated trees, 16 wreaths and other auction items available for folks to view and bid on from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays through the Dec. 9 reception and live auction.

The concluding cocktail reception will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with mingling and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $75. All proceeds from the event will go toward the preservation and growth of Mount Sequoyah, organizers said.

Other events slated as part of the Festival of Trees series include: Wampus Wonderland Holiday Craft Show, Dec. 2; Cookies and pictures with Santa, Dec. 3; and Caroling and Cocktails, Dec. 7.

The independent nonprofit organization's offerings include Camp Sequoyah day camp for children ages 5-12 throughout the summer and during school breaks; Creative Spaces supporting arts residencies; the Fenix Youth Refuge Experience (F.Y.R.E.) after school program for students ages 12 – 18 who identify as part of the LGBTQAI+ community and allies; swim team and pool; and tennis, according to the website.

Structures on the 400-acre campus afford accommodations ranging from individual rooms to houses to dormitory-style group lodges.

Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center was founded in 1922 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South Central Jurisdiction, as a summer retreat, spiritual center and faith-based training facility west of the Mississippi River.

The city of Fayetteville pledged 400 acres, $35,000 in seed money, connections to all city utilities and construction of a road to the mountain top to recruit the center to this location, according to the website.


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Gaslight Gala

Who: The Clayton House

What: Carriage rides, festive fare, signature cocktails, live music, live and silent auctions

When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1

Where: The Clayton House, 514 N. 6th St., Fort Smith

Attire: Christmas casual

Information: (479) 783-3000 or

Santa Paws Bash

Who: Good Shepherd Humane Society

What: Dining, dancing, drinks, music, art, auctions

When: 5 p.m. Dec. 9

Where: Inn of the Ozarks, 207 W. Van Buren St., Eureka Springs

Tickets: $75 or $550 for a table for eight

Information: (479) 253-9188, or

Festival of Trees

Who: Mount Sequoyah Center

What: Tree and wreath auction, cocktails, hors doeuvres, mingling

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9

Where: Mount Sequoyah, 150 Skyline Dr., Fayetteville

Tickets: $75

Information: (479) 443-4531 or