Living Local in historic downtown Van Buren will kick off its 2017 events Thursday with an Easter egg hunt and entertainment.

Living Local is an initiative designed to invite more people to partake in the businesses on Main Street in downtown Van Buren. Featuring festival-style events, Living Local will include shopping, entertainment, food and music.

It is a joint venture of The Old Town Merchants Association, Van Buren Original and Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Thursday’s Easter egg hunt for children ages 3 to 8 will begin at 6 p.m. in Blanche Moore Memorial Park. Candy will be provided by Kim Pierson of Retirement Planners, according to Alan Foliart, president of TOTMA.

On April 13 at 6 p.m., Renee Barrow Farmers Insurance will sponsor an egg hunt for pre-school age children with special needs.

Foliart said the Easter bunny will be visiting with shoppers during Living Local on Thursday and April 13 as well as Aug. 8 and 15.

“The bunny will be handing out eggs that will contain special discounts and candy,” he said.

Living Local entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday will include BBQ Bill and the Smokin’ Chickens in the 800 block, music on Stage 9 in Blanche Moore Memorial Park in the 700 block, William Ierma at Boom-a-rang Diner in the 600 block and guitarist Shawn Rogers in the 500 block.

Also, Kim Pierson will offer a 10-minute discussion, “Living Smart101:What Is the Affordable Care Act?”, at her newly remodeled office at 810 Main St., at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. on Thursdays during April.

Living local participating merchants are Polish Pottery, Farmers Insurance - Renee Barrow, The Soap Factory, Chapters on Main and Retirement Planners/Kim Pierson in the 800 block, Mozart Studios, Willy Nilly, Cinders and Smoke, Main Street Interiors and Marcia Cooksey Interiors in the 700 block, Attic Treasures, Metro Gallery, Boom-a-rang Diner, Western Arkansas Legacy of Fine Arts, The Blissful Pup, Firefly Boutique and Gifts and Natural Treasures in the 600 block and High Society, Country Junkie and Creative Furnishings by Jean in the 500 block.

Foliart pointed out several merchants will be open late other nights.

Chapters on Main at 816 Main St. will feature entertainment on Friday nights, including Aug. 7 when acoustic guitarist Ryan Chisolm will perform. The new dessert waffles also will be available.

On Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m., the Community S will perform its rendition of “Guys & Dolls” on the deck at Chapters on Main.

Living Local will celebrate Earth Day April 20 and will host its Spring Art Walk on April 27.

Foliart said Living Local will feature different themes throughout the year.

He pointed out Old Timers Day is scheduled for May 19-21 and will include the second annual Lip Snyc Battle.

“Lip Sync will give local non-profits a chance to win money for their organizations,” Foliart said. “Last year was a big success and we are hoping to help the participating non-profits this year.”