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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Miranda May, a lead character in the Disney show "Bunk'd," will be visiting Siloam Springs on Saturday, June 16 for the Highland Park Shopping Center 50th anniversary celebration.

Highland Park Shopping Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 16 with food, family entertainment and an appearance by Disney star Miranda May.

May plays the character 'Lou,' everyone's favorite camp counselor, on the Disney show "Bunk'd," featuring the Ross family's summer adventures at Camp Kikiwaka. She will be at the shopping center for a public meet and greet from noon until 2 p.m. Free hot dogs and drinks will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and inflatables will be available for children.

Customers can enter a drawing at participating Highland Park stores for a chance to win a VIP meet and greet for a family of four with May, according to Mark Alexander, owner of the shopping center. The deadline to enter is June 8.

Alexander's father, Virgil Alexander, opened the shopping center in 1968 at the intersection of U.S. Highway 412 and South Mt. Olive Street. Mark Alexander took over management of the center about 20 years ago, he said.

Highland Park was one of the first shopping centers in Siloam Springs and has been home to a wide range of businesses over the years. Currently, the shopping center houses 21 businesses, including the Herald-Leader.

May said this will be her first trip to Arkansas and she is excited about meeting her fans in Siloam Springs.

"I'm excited to meet everyone and see everyone on Saturday (June 16)," May said. "Hopefully they are ready to get a hug and a picture and have a good time."

May grew up on a 160-acre farm in rural Ohio, riding horses and four-wheelers, fishing and running barefoot outdoors. She was also involved in 4-H and enjoyed showing her horses at the county fair.

She started acting at age 8, inspired by Lucille Ball's classic comedy.

"I started watching 'I Love Lucy,' and studied Lucy for a while," May said. "I went to my mom and told her I knew for sure I was meant to do what Lucy does. Being from that small town, it seemed a little far-fetched. Everyone else wanted to be farmers and doctors or nurses."

At the age of 10, May was cast in "The Heartbreak Kid," starring Ben Stiller, according to the Internet Movie Database website, She went on to earn a role in the film "Lower Learning," starring Eva Longoria and Jason Biggs, and her first television appearance began with a guest starring role on the series "E.R.," followed by a portrayal of the young Melissa McCarthy on "Samantha Who?"

May also started doing stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, she said.

When May got the role of camp counselor on "Bunk'd," she met with the show's creator and had a chance to insert parts of her real-life character into Lou.

"I'm from the country, Lou is from the country, I was in 4-H," she said.

There are some parts of Lou's character that are very different than May, such as the way she talks and walks, and her energy level, which is always at a 10.

Filming the show is a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, May said. She works five days a week, doing rehearsals and run-throughs the first three days, before filming the final draft on Thursday and Friday.

May has made many good friends on set, and she has become especially close with her co-star Peyton List, who plays Emma Ross. The two actors are two years apart in age, but share the same birthday.

As the two stars have grown to become forever friends, they have learned to balance each other's comedy, she said.

May's all-time favorite episode of "Bunk'd" is in Season 1, where they paid homage to the "Lucy's Italian Movie" episode of "I Love Lucy," where Ethel and Lucy stomp grapes together, by stomping cranberries.

"Peyton and I get to be Lucy and Ethel," she said.

Outside of her career, the 22-year-old May enjoys going to the mall and hanging out with friends. She also has found a new love for fitness, and enjoys anything that is fun and challenging such as kickboxing and hot yoga.

General News on 06/06/2018

Print Headline: Highland Park to celebrate 50 years

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