TEXARKANA — Re-imagined this year as a bi-state date night downtown, Dine on the Line on Friday, Oct. 4, brings farm-to-table goodness, live music, a beer garden and wine to the party.
From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Main Street Texarkana's 5th annual Dine on the Line will feature a delicious dinner with a live music backdrop of tunes from local band Chasing Rita and North Heights Junior High School's jazz band.
Of course, look for the traditional, communal toast across the state line to continue this year around 6:30 or 6:45 p.m. This year, local producers will supply the food while several downtown restaurants will serve it, everyone seated at a dining table stretched across both sides of the state line.
This event requires a bit of pre-planning, however. Tickets must be purchased in advance by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. One of the different aspects this year is that it truly is more of a "date night" atmosphere rather than a festival.
"That's one of the things that's different about this year. We will not have the vendors. It's not so much of a festival theme as we're calling it more of a date night," said Ina McDowell, Main Street Texarkana's executive director.
"It's going to be a nice dinner. It's a farm-to-table dinner that we are getting meats and breads and vegetables from area providers. So it will be a nice meal. It's going to be served this year," McDowell said. "We'll have volunteers that will be serving."
She said the focus is on local talent, local food and local businesses. Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Linda Teeters, assistant mayor for Texarkana, Ark., will lead the toast and make it a two-city symbol of cooperation.
In the past, specific restaurants have made meals with their ingredients, but this time there are several area vendors participating to bring their food. Meat will be sourced from Sullifarm, Lick Creek Meats, Capers n Conns and Dutch Spring Farm with additional ingredients supplied by Binning Farm and York Pecan. Graham Slam Bakery will have desserts.
"It's still going to be a collaboration of downtown restaurants that are actually preparing the food," McDowell said, noting they've worked with Gateway Farmers Market and Texarkana, Texas, Farmers' Market to prepare.
While there won't be vendors or a dedicated children's area, the idea is more along the lines of a sit-down dinner where diners are served. Jazz music will be played to open the festivities as people sit down and eat. Plus, Chasing Rita perform after the jazz band, starting soon after sunset—around 7 p.m.
"We're so excited about having them. Of course all the people in that band are local people," McDowell said.
Over in the beer garden, look for the Four States Fermenters and Pecan Point Gastropub & Brewery, each offering beer. Wine will be available, too, while Mountain Valley Spring Water provides water.
The event is also connected to the unveiling of the new, colorful Dr. Pepper mural going up on the side of TLC Burgers & Fries. That's in the morning, 10:30 a.m. Dr. Pepper staff will attend, and Dine on the Line-goers can drink up later in celebration.
"Dr. Pepper is going to be providing the little 12 oz. bottles of real sugar Dr. Pepper for everybody," McDowell said.
In addition to the dining, bike tours of historic downtown will be available. They will include murals in the downtown neighborhood. They start at 5:15 p.m.
Funds raised for Main Street Texarkana go to programs like the revolving loan fund, where Main Street Texarkana provides low-interest loans to downtown businesses and building owners.
"This year we've also been able to, if you've noticed, have new planters in the downtown area that are going to be going all the way down Broad Street ." McDowell said. "We also do grants to people, so the funds portion of them may go to that."
One project they'd like to see funded is improvements on downtown crosswalks, she said. That is on their wish list. "We've talked about additional murals in the downtown area. Lighting, we'd love to see more lighting in the downtown area," McDowell added.
(Tickets: $40 per person or $75 for two. Presale tickets are available at dineontheline2019.eventbrite.com. Attendees must buy tickets in advance. More info: www.mainstreettexarkana.org/dine-on-the-line.html.)