I didn’t attend the first Bash on the Boulevard sponsored by the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce last year, but I did make it this year. Super organizer and Chamber Executive Director Alicia Gillen and her team did an outstanding job of pulling together over 100 vendors, including food, local businesses, churches, real estate reps and even few of the quirky kinds of booths you see at a state fair. I think the loneliest vendor was a “health coach.”

There were two kiddie rides, including a mini-Ferris wheel that required police and fire to rescue the riders when the power was temporarily lost at one point. There was also a climbing wall that stayed pretty busy.

There were plenty of vendors luring in kids (and grandfathers) with offers of candy and miscellaneous gadgets like pens, pencils, bag clips, etc. There were demonstrations for local dance and martial arts groups and the evening ended with a performance by the popular band Tragikly White.

According to Gillen, over 4,000 folks came through the gates for the event. My only complaint was the heat and the fact that the event was held on an asphalt surface in hot weather. Who would have thought it would be over 90 (felt like 100) degrees on Sept. 16?

Rhea Lana

Next door to the Bash was a Rhea Lana sale in the abandoned Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market space. I’m sure my female readers are aware of what this is, but it is not an event for men. Unless they just like to shop for clothing for children.

The entire space was filled to the brim with gently used children’s clothing of every type for every season. It didn’t take long for my anti-shopping genes to kick in and cause my heart rate to increase and produce nervous sweating.

I did a little research and found out that Rhea Lana is a national franchise with over 80 franchisees in 21 states. It is a consignment store that takes about a 30 percent commission for selling your items. I was amazed at their level of organization. I’m not sure where they get the stuff there and who brings it, but they had plenty of it. Now I know and won’t need to go back. Oh, you can get in on the action with a franchise fee of about $10,000 to $13,000.

Get behind the badge for 7 weeks

According to the Maumelle Police Department, it is sponsoring another Citizens Police Academy. The classes will last seven weeks, with classes held on Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Maumelle Police Department. Classes start Thursday, October 12, and conclude on November 30 — taking the week of Thanksgiving off. You’ll have a chance to learn about all phases of the Department, including patrol, investigations, K-9s, communications and school resource officers. Participants will be using the firearms simulator and will tour the Pulaski County Jail. Watch for the online application at www.maumellepd.org. Call Capt. Jim Hansard at 851-1337 for more information.

Foodie notes

As it stands, the new Chick-fil-A will open today. I predict huge crowds and lines around the building. I haven’t heard when the Sonic next door will open, but it appears to be ready except for a few landscaping details. The street connecting the liquor store, U.S. Pizza, Starbucks, Kroger and the new places is soon to be a busy stretch of pavement.

I noticed on Facebook that, Gigi, the matriarch and namesake of Gigi’s Soul Food Café, turned 87 last week. I’ve spoken with her several times and she is a delightful lady. She is usually in the restaurant at noon and always asks if I enjoyed the food. The restaurant uses many of her recipes. HBD Gigi.

Send me your foodie notes if you have any news to share.

Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.