By Marilyn Miller
Plans for Christmas and Mardi Gras celebrations in 2023 and 2024 highlighted the monthly meeting of the Downtown Development Commission and Minden Main Street Board of Directors Monday evening at Minden City Hall.
President Shawn Hatcher introduced three key items — a potential German Christmas Market, a Main Street Work Plan, and Mardi Gras activities.
“We’re toying with the idea of the German Christmas Market after the annual Minden Christmas Parade,” Hatcher said, opening discussion. He pointed out that this would likely be in 2024. However, he asked Main Street coordinator Taylor Wren to begin gathering ideas and pricing for new decorations immediately.
Wren agreed, stating that “We need to move toward German themes as we purchase our new decorations.” All agreed.
Among the ideas discussed were the availability of German-themed booths that can be set up for vendors (a 2024 project), a window-decorating contest for businesses (for ’23), and setting up singing groups for entertainment the night of the parade (’23). The Main Street Board is hoping to attract vendors for after the Christmas parade this year, but they will have to set up their own booths. The need for shuttles will be discussed at a later meeting.
All board members agreed that whatever plans are made will have to be syncronized with the Minden Greater Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Tourism. Wren said a meeting of all the participating bodies is planned for the near future.
MARDI GRAS 2024
Plans and ideas for the 2024 Mardi Gras season are being solicited from the board members, and a sponsor is being sought for the judges booth at the parade, as well as other sponsors. Hatcher suggested that a Mardi Gras Ball would be a good fund-raiser. Board member Larry Gipson urged the board to “look at the calendar NOW!” since there is so much competition for date/time slots. “I think we have time to have a Ball, though,” he added.
“If we’re interested in it, let’s pursue it,” Hatcher said, urging all Board members to send their thoughts to the Main Street office.
VINTAGE CAR SHOW
Larry Gipson gave a report on the Vintage Car Show, which will take place Sept. 9 in Miller Quarters Park. There is no fee to enter the show.
“We need a lot of help – volunteers for pre-registration, registration, set-up (at 5 a.m), concession stands, promotions, contests, entertainment, and breakdown,” Gipson said. He said contests like Hula Hooping and the Dance Off were popular last year and will probably return. Sponsors are also needed.
“I want our car show to be something different than the car shows down the road,” he added.
GAS UP THE BROOM
The Board members heard a report on the upcoming “Witches Ride” on Oct. 19 through downtown Minden, ending at Miller Quarters Park. Registration will be from 4-6. Registered riders are invited to a Block Party to follow the parade. Downtown businesses are urged to remain open late.
“I know some of the local churches don’t like that we’re having this, but nobody who is participating is practicing witchcraft,” board member Sarah Overall said. “Compared to the positive feedback we are getting, the negative is minute.”
Also coming up are the Fair Parade on Oct. 3, Webster Parish Fair, Oct. 3-7, Main to Main, Nov. 3-4, and the Christmas Parade, Dec. 9.
In other business:
- Wren reported that she is gathering information for a Main Street “Work Plan, and that she is putting together a Main Street pamphlet for the public;”
- Wren emphasized that “our focus needs to be on our businesses…we need to do everything we can to increase their foot traffic;”
- The next meeting will be Sept. 11 (unless the date of the Minden City Council meeting changes.
Attending the meeting were Hatcher, Wren, Gipson, Overall, Teresa Little, Kim Landaiche, Diane Silvis, and Tiffany Washington-Johnson.