Why Pine Bluff? We've heard Pine Bluff described in many negative ways. Words such as scary, decrepit and dilapidated illustrate a small sample of the rhetoric that has surrounded our city for years. However, there are those of us who speak of Pine Bluff fondly. We don't view our city with naivety. None of us claim that Pine Bluff is perfect, but we see the beauty and excitement in dedicating ourselves to improving a place we love.

To those of you who are living in Pine Bluff but wish you could be somewhere else; if it's not your ideal community; if you think it could be better; if you don't want to stay but aren't going to leave, then why not change it?

At Pop Up in the Bluff on Saturday, change is exactly what the Pine Bluff Downtown Development Committee hopes to inspire on Barraque Street. Margaret Smith of Margaret's Unique Cakes, a Barraque Street business, describes Barraque as “forgotten.” However, Mrs. Margaret believes Barraque Street, as well as the rest of Pine Bluff, is coming back.

Pop Up in the Bluff is part of a nation-wide initiative called 'The Better Block Project.”

The whole event sounds like a blast. And there is no admission charge.

MK Distributors, one of the sponsors, will have a craft beer setup, and there will also be miniature golf and music throughout the event. Joy Blankenship, the director of Downtown Development, said the event will showcase the potential Pine Bluff has as a place “everybody will want to come to.”

Vendors will include Bob “Hubba Jubba” Moss; the Kiwanis Club; Go Forward Pine Bluff; Greg Newsom Art; Mountain Berry Yogurt/Doctor's Orders Pharmacy; BJ's Collectibles: Tie Dye Creations; the Pine Bluff Art League; Pine Bluff Country Club Chef Jamie McAfee (farm to table; Healthcare Plus; the Arts and Science Center; Pine Bluff Convention Center; Putt-Putt Golf; Shepherd at Tipton and Hurst Florist; A & E Graphic Design and Print; LaRich Media; Natural Bliss; Amazing Restorations; Tender “G” Barbeque; Kitchens of Wheels: the Property Shop.

When we look at our city, we see wonderful opportunities to work together and make our community a better place. During “Pop Ups,” areas in the community that have been abandoned or underutilized will be filled with local vendors to demonstrate the potential of the area. We hope that Pop Up in the Bluff will create a lasting change and help revitalize our community, one block at a time.

Someday, young college graduates, middle-aged parents, business owners, artists, hikers, hunters and musicians alike will call Pine Bluff home — not due to lack of options or misfortune, but because living here is their choice. Come to Pop Up in the Bluff to not only eat great food or hear live music, but to experience our community and envision the possibilities in Pine Bluff's future. Come to Pop Up in the Bluff to help us make that day a reality.