Posted on March 13, 2012
Originally published in The El Dorado News-Times on March 14, 2012.
St. Patrick?s Day is Saturday and Main Street El Dorado is gearing up for its annual celebration that will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Union Square.
MSE board members spent part of their regular meeting Tuesday discussing the particulars of the celebration.
Starting the festivities early, Teresa Golliher, chairman of the Patrick?s Day Celebration, arrived at the meeting dressed as a leprechaun with a green top hat and matching jacket, drawing a laugh from board members as she entered the Charles H. Murphy boardroom of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce
"Hey, you?re not supposed to laugh,? Golliher joked, adding that Saturday?s celebration "is going to be a lot of fun.?
Mark Givens, MSE executive director, said the event will include horse and carriage rides, face-painting, free kids? inflatables, and the popular Union County Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship.
Live music will be provided from noon until 4 p.m. by Red River Pipes and Drums of Shreveport, La.
"It?s an eight-piece band with kilts, bagpipes and big drums, and they will be marching around downtown,? Givens said.
The Rock, Paper Scissors Championship will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Corinne Court.
The winner of the $500 cash prize in the month-long "Pot-o-Gold? promotion, in which the downtown merchants participated, will be announced during the Rock, Paper Scissors Championship, Givens said.
He said merchants will also have the chance to win cash prizes ? $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place ? in the St. Patrick?s Day window display.
Board members also talked about the upcoming Bugs, Bands and Bikes Weekend, set for May 11 and 12 in downtown El Dorado.
MSE president Beth Chadwick said the weekend will get rolling on Friday night with a free, outdoor concert featuring the Grammy Award-winning country music act The Kentucky Headhunters.
Activities for Saturday will include the Main Street Poker Run, a motorcycle parade, bike contest, live music, crawfish and other vendors, Chadwick said.
Celebrity Grand Marshals for BBB will be R.J. and Pail Molinere of the History Channel reality show "Swamp People.?
Givens and Chadwick said MSE is planning a VIP meet-and-greet activity with the Molineres.
Chadwick also said planning meetings will soon begin for the 25th annual MusicFest, which will be held Oct. 5 and 6.
Givens said a MusicFest Volunteer Celebration held on Feb. 23 at the South Arkansas Arts Center "went very well.?
The event honored past, present and future MusicFest volunteers and served as a kick-off to this year?s celebration.
"We got a good start on getting volunteers for this year,? Givens said.
A concert featuring contemporary Christian artists Point of Grace and Bebo Norman was also deemed a success, Givens said.
The show, called "An Evening of Compassion,? was held on March 2 at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium.
Givens told members of the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission last week that the event sold 600 tickets, and while he said the number was disappointing and didn?t reach the sell-out status of a 2008 concert featuring Point of Grace at the auditorium, Givens acknowledged then that there were several other events going in the city during the March 2 weekend.
On Tuesday, he thanked volunteers and sponsors, including El Dorado Chemical Company and First Christian Church of El Dorado, for helping to make the concert a success.
Givens and Chadwick noted that the EAPC awarded MSE $33,000 to help promote MusicFest, Bugs, Bands and Bikes and Showdown at Sunset for 2012.
The commission awarded the funding last Friday as it sifted through its funding request applications for the year.
"They?ve been a big supporter of us for years. That?s how we?re able to do the marketing that we do,? Givens said Tuesday.
Givens said Tuesday that the EAPC now requires applicants to advertise events outside a 50-mile radius.
"The majority of our advertising has been done outside a 50-mile radius because that?s our goal ? to get people here,? Givens said.
Paul Choate, vice president of the MSE board of directors, said the Downtown Business Association may come to MSE for input and possibly financial consideration to reprint maps outlining the Union Square District.
Choate said the maps are the most widely used promotional tool for visitors to the city, as reported by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and El Dorado Conference Center.
He said about 2,000 of the maps remain."