Bold predictions for Fayetteville in 2010

Years from now, when the cyborgs of the future brain-scan the surgically implanted version of the Flyer, they’ll see that 2009 was a pretty eventful year for Fayetteville.

I mean, a lot has happened over the past 12 months. We inaugurated a new mayor. There was the announcement of a new bike rally, a new A&P commissioner, beer in retail and convenience stores, and a lottery. We even got a cupcake shop.

But 2010 is here, and if you ask me, it’s much more interesting to make predictions for the year ahead than write some boring recap of the year that was. Plus, if any of your predictions come true, you look like some kind of freaky bad-ass psychic, which is awesome.

We don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that 2010 is going to be another interesting year in Fayetteville.

Consider what we already know. We’re pretty sure Osage Creek Amphitheater is coming to town. We’re going to elect a new state representative. There’s going to be live music, drama at the city council meetings, and mayor Lioneld Jordan is most definitely going to reach the 5,000 personal friend limit on Facebook sometime over the next two months.

There’s plenty that we don’t know though. And with that, here are our top ten bold predictions for Fayetteville in 2010. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.

10. Arkansas’ football team will play for the national championship this year

Coach Bobby Petrino didn’t take long to right the ship that former coach Houston Nutt almost sank with drama at Arkansas. In just two years, Petrino has built an Arkansas team that is absolutely loaded with talent. At the end of the season this year, Arkansas sits just a few big plays, a couple bad calls, and one Alex Tejada kick away from a 9 or 10 win season.

The 2010 season is loaded with promise for the football Hogs. If Ryan Mallett doesn’t leave early for the big money of the NFL, Arkansas is poised to challenge for an SEC title, and everyone knows that whoever wins the SEC plays for the National Championship. Arkansas’ schedule lines up nicely for a big run this year, with perennial tough teams LSU and Alabama coming to Arkansas in 2010.

Florida isn’t even on our schedule, at least not unless we see them in the SEC Championship game. Feel free to book your tickets.

9. Bikes, Babes & Bling will happen. And it will be huge.

Like it or not, Bikes, Babes & Bling is going to roll into town in July of this year. A second bike rally in Fayetteville is about the last thing lots of you wanted to hear about when it was announced a few months ago. Some people, including Ward 2 alderman Matthew Petty even considered action to stop the rally from happening, but all indications are that come July, Dickson St. will be rumbling again.

My prediction is that the second bike rally will happen in Fayetteville, and it will be enormous from an attendance perspective, though I’m not sure it will attract the female bikers that it aims to bring to town.

Even if organizers can succeed in marketing the festival as a female-targeted bike rally, if anything can bring even more leather-clad, doo-rag wearing biker dudes to town, it’s the promise of potentially scoring with leather-clad, doo-rag wearing biker ladies. It won’t be Bikes, Blues & BBQ II: Summer Edition, but it will be bigger than any of you expect.

8. Paid parking is coming to Dickson St.

This is probably the least bold prediction of all the bold predictions on this list. We already know that the city is working on a paid parking solution for Dickson St. in conjunction with the Walton Arts Center and several Dickson St. businesses. We know that downtown parking is perceived as a big problem by all of those parties, and we know that most of them think a downtown parking deck is the only solution to the perceived problem.

Most of them also think that the best way to pay for a parking deck is to convert all the city-owned lots from free to paid parking.

Paid parking is common in the downtown or entertainment district of most cities around the country, and unfortunately for us, it’s gonna become a reality in Fayetteville in 2010.

7. Wakarusa will be even bigger in its second year at Mulberry Mountain.

Those of you who made the trek down the pig trail to Wakarusa this year probably noticed what a picturesque, perfect location the new grounds are for a music festival.

Guess what? So did the rest of the estimated 10,000 people who attended the festival from all over the United States, and those people are telling their friends.

The perception all over the country was that the new location is absolutely perfect. People were amazed at the scenic, tree-canopy-covered drive down the pig trail into the facility, they loved the enormous stage, the camping facilites on the Mulberry River, and more than anything, they loved the music. We’ve heard all kinds of rumors about who the festival will bring to town in its second year down on the Mulberry, and if any of them are true, Wakarusa is going to be even bigger in 2010.

6. John Pelphrey will land the recruits he needs to save his job, and bring the Arkansas basketball team back to respectability.

Arkansas’ basketball team has fallen on hard times recently. Coach John Pelphrey inherited a pretty decent team his first year in Fayetteville, but despite some highly regarded recruiting classes over the past couple years, Arkansas has remained in a serious rebuilding phase.

Combine that with off-the-court troubles, suspensions, injuries, and just about every other type of drama that you can imagine, and the Hogs are looking at another tough season this year. In fact, they’re right in the middle of it.

Something tells me, though, that John Pelphrey is going to get one more year to try and fix the troubled basketball program, and I think in his third year, we’ll finally see the talent, the up-tempo style, and ultimately, the winning that we all hoped we’d get when Pelphrey was hired for the job.

5. The Walton Arts Center will still be on Dickson St.

Despite speculation that our biggest, most prominent performing arts centers will be moving north to Benton County, the Walton Arts Center isn’t going anywhere this year.

In fact, Walton Arts Center officials have said so publicly on multiple occasions in the last year.

Even if the WAC expands into Benton County someday, that day isn’t going to be in 2010.

The WAC is going to stay where it belongs, on Dickson St. in Fayetteville.

4. The Duggars will move to Fayetteville, tripling our population by at least double.

Man, those crazy Duggars sure do have a lot of kids. Something tells me they move out of their Tontitown compound, into a bigger one in Fayetteville this year.

Real estate prices are down, and with the kids themselves now getting into the act, the population of the Duggar family is on the rise. Now’s the perfect time for the Duggars to move into the abandoned Circuit City location on Joyce St., or the Legacy building down on Dickson.

If this one comes true, all of our chances of getting on TLC will also be tripled by at least double.

3. Fayetteville will get a snow storm that makes last year’s ice storm look hilarious.

We’re due, y’all. We already got a white Christmas this year, but it’s been years since we got a giant snow in Fayetteville.

Plus, ice storms are sooooo 2009. This year, I’ll be taking my snowboard to the top of Mount Sequoyah because I’m saying we get a foot or more or snow before this winter is over. Book it.

2. First Thursday Art Walk on the square will become the new Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.

This one’s not all that bold of a prediction either. First Thursday has already become a huge deal. Since it started earlier this year, there’s already a good chance you’ll see just about everyone you know at either ddp gallery, the Fayetteville Underground, up on the Towncenter steps, or somewhere in between. As that event continues to grow with more live music, more street vendors, food, and other cool stuff, it’s going to solidify itself as another Fayetteville tradition. Next step, any chance we can relax our open container laws for one Thursday a month?

Somebody make that happen.

1. The Fayetteville Flyer will produce its first print edition.

Psyche. We’re not printing anything.

But we are entering our third year, and we’ve got big plans for 2010. I predict that we’ll triple in awesomeness by at least double.

Those are our predictions. What are some of yours?