Sweet Potato Festival and Spring Blue Grass April 3-5 in Oak Grove, La.

Sweet Potato Festival and Spring Blue Grass April 3-5 in Oak Grove, La.

Sweet Potato Festival Contact : Todd Nevels 318-282-1549
Sweet Potato Parade Contact: Linda Sumerell 318-680-9736
Blue Grass Festival Contact: Lingo Center 318-428-5282

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Fiske Offically Named To National Registry of Historic Places

Fiske Offically Named To National Registry of Historic Places

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La. were informed Thursday afternoon by the United States Parks Service that the Fiske Theatre has been approved and is now officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

“It is my honor not only the be the United States Representative but also a native of West Carroll to see the theatre I attended as a child be restored to such a stature that it has been over the last few years to be now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.” Congressman Vance McAllister said. “I commend Adam Holland for his leadership and all other community leaders that have contributed not only to restoring it to such prestige to be recognized, but also to what it has given back to a community that works so hard to maintain Louisiana’s core values that I am proud to call my hometown and birthplace.”

Congressman McAllister and Senator David Vitter both wrote letters of support to the National Parks Service on the theatre’s behalf supporting its listing on the National Registry.

“Words cannot express how big of an honor this is not just for the theatre, but for the Town of Oak Grove, our citizens and all of West Carroll Parish.” Adam Holland, W.C. Chamber Director of Special Events, and President of Holland Entertainment said. “This listing brings with it much distinction and prestige for the theatre and the town, as well as, the possibility for grants to preserve the building for our posterity.”

The Fiske is the first building in the City of Oak Grove to be listed on the National Registry. There are other buildings in town that may qualify for listing including the Legion Hut, OGHS Old Gym, and both the First Baptist and United Methodist Church to name a few.

“We are proud of Adam for all he has put into bringing the theatre back to her prime and this listing is just one more testament to the work he has done and the support that we as a chamber have received from countless people to make restoring the theatre possible.” W.C. Chamber President John Elliott said. “By having the theatre now officially listed on the National Registry we as a Chamber and the City can capitalize on this distinction and the theatre can become even more of an economic engine for our town than she already is by drawing tourist who travel the country side visiting historic places.”

The process of having the theatre listed on the National Registry began when the Chamber received the Tulane School of Architecture’s Dean’s Fund for Excellence grant in April of 2013 which funded a group of students and professors to travel to Oak Grove and study the architecture and cultural impact the theatre has had on Northeast Louisiana. The students published a book and used that information throughout the application process. Adam Holland, Doug and Rita Ainsworth along with Donald B. Fiske Jr. then represented the theatre at the November hearing of the Louisiana Historic Registry Commission where they voted unanimously to forward the nomination on the NPS.

“I’m very proud of the Fiske Theatre and the entire Oak Grove community for receiving this recognition. It’s a great tribute to Mr. Donald Fiske and all of the local leaders who have worked so hard to restore, update, and maintain such an iconic structure, and I’m pleased that it will be enjoyed for generations to come,” Senator Vitter said.

The current Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 featuring the Ultra-Moderne Art Deco style that was prevalent in movie theater construction of the time. It was designed by the late B.W. Stevens who also designed the Joy Theatre on Canal Street in New Orleans which is an almost replica of the Fiske. In 1951 it was named “The Most Modern and Well Equipped Theatre” in the United States that was constructed in 1950 by the Motion Picture Exhibitors Catalog.

The Fiske Theatre was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 1988 by its founder Donald B. Fiske and is currently operated by Holland Entertainment LLC. The Fiske is open each Thursday-Sunday showing a different first-run film each week.

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Fiske Gets Nomination From State Now on to NPS for Final Approval for Registry

Fiske Gets Nomination From State Now on to NPS for Final Approval for Registry

(Photo Caption: Left to Right: W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth, Tulane School of Architecture Professor Dr. Andrew Liles, Donald B. Fiske Jr. and Adam T. Holland, Presient of Holland Entertainment at the Nov. 21 Louisiana State National Registry Review Board Hearing in Baton Rouge, La.)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Oak Grove’s own Fiske Theatre was approved in a unanimous decision for nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places, November 21 by the Louisiana State National Registry Review Board and is now waiting for notification from the United States National Park Service for final approval and listing to the National Registry.

“This is huge not only for the theatre, but for the Town of Oak Grove and everyone in West Carroll Parish,” Adam T. Holland, President of Holland Entertainment who operates the theatre for the W.C. Chamber said. “Being included on this list brings with it much prestige for the theatre and our town, along with possible grants for Historic Preservation.”

Holland was accompanied to the hearing in Baton Rouge, La. by Donald B. Fiske Jr., Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth, Chamber Director Rita Ainsworth along with Dr. Andrew Liles and Gabrielle Begue from the Tulane School of Architecture at the hearing on Thursday.

He presented to the review board a presentation entitled “The Fiske Theatre: ‘The Anchor Holds’,” which gave a brief history of the theatre, its architecture features and its story of overcoming the odds to become once again the No. 1 Independent Movie Theatre in North Louisiana.

“In 1988 Mr. Donald Fiske entrusted the chamber with the theatre so it would be preserved for our posterity,” Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “By getting it on the registry not only will it bring his pride and joy the national prestige it deserves for its architectural and cultural contributions to West Carroll Parish and the industry, but this will protect its integrity for the generations that will follow us.”

The Fiske Theatre is being nominated on the criteria of its Architectural Contributions to Mid-Century Theatre Construction and the historical cultural impact it has had for the citizens of Northeast Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas.

The Fiske Theatre was designed by the late B. W. Stevens of New Orleans and was named the “Most Modern and Well Equipped Theater” constructed in the nation in 1950 by the Motion Picture Theatre Exhibitors Catalog. The Fiske and her almost twin The Joy on Canal Street in New Orleans are the only two remaining theatres still in operation that were designed by Stevens. Though in a state of unrepair you can also see resemblances of Mr. Stevens work and the Fiske Theatre in the Joy theatre on US 80 in Rayville.

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ULM Choir to Perform Nov. 19 at Fiske

MONROE — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and University of Louisiana  at Monroe are pleased to Announce the Third Annual ULM Holiday Concert set to take place Tuesday night November 19 at 7 pm in the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La.

“This is always a great show,” W.C. Chamber Special Events Coordinator Adam Holland said. “Dr. Chandler always does a fantastic job putting a superb performance together and the sound of almost 80 voices blending together makes for a truly memorable evening.”

Tickets for the show are $15 in advance at Small Town Designs or can be purchased for $20 at the Box Office the night of the performance.

This will be the third time the ULM Concert Choir will headline a performance at the Fiske during the Holiday Season, the first two concerts were named “Christmas Between the Rivers,” but due to this year’s calendar at the university the show was moved up a few weeks and will be a blend of both Christmas music and other choral selections.

“We have really enjoyed coming over to Oak Grove to perform the last two year’s.” Dr. Chandler, ULM Director of Choirs said. “The support the people of West and East Carroll Parish have shown us has been wonderful and we see this as an opportunity to spread the goodwill of Northeast Louisiana’s university.”

This year’s show will feature a performance by the NOTORIOUS barbershop group who wowed the audience last year, the ULM Chamber Singers, and of course the ULM Concert Choir.  The event will also have solos, duets, and a special gospel performance from one of the ULM Fraternities.

The ULM Holiday Concert at the Fiske is presented by ULM President Nick Bruno and the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Holland Entertainment/Fiske Theatre, Fox’s Pizza, KWCL-FM, Johnny’s Pizza, The Radio People, Ziegler Music, The West Carroll Gazette and The Banner Democrat.

Proceeds from the performance benefit the West Carroll Chamber Special Events Fund and the ULM Choral Department.

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Jaycees Parade Nov. 30 as Part of Small Business Saturday

OAK GROVE, La. — As its part of the Inaugural Small Business Saturday Celebration the Oak Grove Junior Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its Annual Christmas Parade set to roll down Main Street Oak Grove, November 30 at 2 pm.

“We are glad to be taking part and working with the other organizations in town,” Jaycee Parade Chairman Polly Smith said. “Everything about this event looks to be exciting and special for our town and other activities that will be taking place along with the Annual Jaycees Parade will make for a even more memorable day than normal.”

As always the Jaycees are seeking as all churches, school groups and civic organizations to participate in the parade by entering floats, and or classic automobiles (Pre 1983.)  Please note that ATV’s and Bikes/Trikes will not be allowed unless part of a float.

To participate in the parade please contact Polly Smith at 318-282-9894 to register as soon as possible.

Along with floats, the parade will feature the Queens from the Miss West Carroll Pageant, and other pageants local pageants; as well as Jolly Ole’ St. Nicholas will round out the parade with his first trip down Main Street this year.

The Christmas Parade is part of the Inaugural Small Business Saturday that is a collaborative event by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce, Town of Oak Grove, Downtown Development and all of our local independent merchants and business owners designed to encourage shopping at home this Holiday Season.  Along with the parade the event will include Open Houses and sales at many of the local businesses in town and a Ping Pong Ball Drop where the balls will have stickers for over $20,000 in prizes and discounts throughout town at the local stores.

“This has been amazing to see the cooperation between everyone striving to make this event a success.” W.C. Chamber Director of Special Events Adam Holland said. “Words cannot express the gratitude we have for everyone, and the other organizations who have contributed financially and with their skills to help us promote SHOPPING SMALL at our locally independent owned businesses this Holiday Season.  By Shopping Small we keep our tax dollars at HOME. ”

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Tulane and Chamber Donate Fiske Theatre History Book to W.C. Library

Tulane and Chamber Donate Fiske Theatre History Book to W.C. Library

OAK GROVE — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and the Tulane School of Architecture recently donated two copies of the book “The Fiske Theatre: A Case Study for the Preservation of Mid-Century Theaters in North Louisiana” to the West Carroll Parish Library in Oak Grove, La. in order for them to be available to the public for years to come.

A team of four students and two professors from the Tulane School of Architecture in New Orleans spent a weekend in Oak Grove this past April studying the theatre from the roof to the basement while at the same time interviewing local citizens who had memories of the theatre and going through the Fiske Family archives that are stored at the theatre and records at the Clerk of Courts office to compile this very in-depth book.

“This is something we as the W.C. Chamber wanted to do from the time we found out the depth of the project that Tulane was conducting at the theatre.” W.C. Chamber Special Events and Historic Preservation Coordinator Adam Holland said. “By donating these two copies to the library they will not only be available for the public today but for our posterity in years to come.”

The book takes an in-depth look at the history of Carroll Parish, the theatre and goes into details of the impressive architecture and the role it played in theatre construction throughout the Mid-Twentieth Century.

“We as citizens of Northeast Louisiana take for granted how important our theatre was and is,” Holland said. “When the ‘New Fiske Theatre’ was built in 1950 she was the model for theatre construction of her day with all of bells and whistles movie goers could only imagine being able to enjoy.”

The Fiske Theatre which was designed by Architect B.W. Stevens of New Orleans won the “Merit Award” from the 1951 Motion Picture Exhibitors Catalog for being the most modern and well equipped theatre constructed in the nation in 1950. B.W. Stevens also designed the Joy Theatre located on Canal Street in New Orleans which is an almost twin to Oak Grove’s Fiske.

The Fiske is on the agenda for the November 21 hearing of the Louisiana Historic Preservation Board’s meeting to be considered for nomination to the Nation Registry of Historic Places which will put her in the same league as such structures as The Myrtle Plantation in St. Francisville, Bedienhorn Gardens in Monroe, and the Old State Capital Building in Baton Rouge

The chamber also has copies of the book available for $20 by calling the chamber office at 318-428-8283 or by sending an email to westcarrollchamber@gmail.com.

The funding for the study conducted by Tulane was provided by the Tulane School of Architecture Fund for Excellence Grant in 2013.

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Chamber, City, Downtown Development and Jaycees Present Small Business Sat. Nov. 30

Chamber, City, Downtown Development and Jaycees Present Small Business Sat. Nov. 30

OAK GROVE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and the Oak Grove City Council have joined forces with Oak Grove Downtown Development and the Junior Chamber to promote shopping at small businesses this Holiday Season as they together, as one team, announce Small Business Saturday, November 30, in Oak Grove.

“This is HUGE!” Adam Holland, W.C. Chamber Director of Special Events said. “This is going to be a prime example of how good things can happen when we come together and work as one. Our goal in hosting this event is No. 1 to promote spending your holiday shopping money at our local independently owned stores and secondly to bring all of our economic development organizations together do demonstrate what can be done when we work as a team.”

Small Business Saturday is going to be a one day event, which has a sole purpose of promoting shopping at home, at local independently owned shops. To accomplish this goal the local merchants have pooled their money together to purchase advertising both locally and regionally which could not be done adequately alone. The Oak Grove City Council has also contributed up to $500 in a matching grant to promote the event. The local businesses will each be hosting open houses, great sales and other events individually in their stores.

“I am new to the street but think this is wonderful,” New business owner Rebecca Kovac said. “When Adam came to me with the idea I was sold from the start, this can be the beginning of great things with us all working together to promote shopping at home.”

The Chamber and Special Events Director Adam Holland are providing the framework and organization for the event and assisting the local businesses in attaining the tool kits provided by American Express, who began this event nationwide in 2010.

Downtown Development and the Oak Grove Jaycees are joining the team to provide entertainment and activities to draw people to town. Downtown Development will be hosting live entertainment in the Downtown Courtyard and a rumored appearance of “Jolly Ole St. Nic” and the Jaycees have agreed to change the date of their annual Christmas Parade to coincide with Small Business Saturday.

“Excited is not the word for it,” Vicki Clarkson of Downtown Development said. “We are thrilled to be part of the magic that is taking place Downtown. We have tried hosting events by ourselves during the Holiday Season in the past, but now that we have the buy-in from the small businesses, and all of our organizations are working together this is going to be great. We thank the Chamber and Adam for his leadership and vision for bringing us together to make this event happen.”

As lagniappe for the event for the first time in over 25 years Adam Plunckett of Monticello Flying Service will fly over Main Street at high noon and drop Ping Pong balls with over $50,000 in prizes and discounts to our local small businesses on them.

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by the credit card company American Express as a way to promote shopping at locally owned independent small businesses on the Saturday following Black Friday which is the busiest shopping day of the year for the major chains. In 2012, 103 million Americans shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday spending $5.5 billion with their hometown merchants.

“We want to thank all the consumers, public officials, community organizations, chambers of commerce and corporate partners who are part of the movement,” Kenneth I. Chennault, chairman and CEO of American Express, said in a statement. “By supporting small businesses across America, they are helping to create jobs, boost the economy and preserve our neighborhoods.”

AMEX also awards its users by giving them a $10.00 one-time credit to their account when they use their AMEX card at a registered Small Business on Small Business Saturday.

“Our goal as a chamber is to promote and enhance the economic well-being of our community,” W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “We have been trying for years to bring the community organizations, our merchants and public officials together, it is great that this year we have all teamed to work as one and hopefully this will be a very profitable day for our local business community.”

A complete list of participating small businesses will be released soon; as well as, information on how you can register to receive your $10 credit for participating if you are an AMEX user.

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