Bunnies, Brunch, and Market-Ritas: Spring Market 2017

The weather is warm, the sky is sunny, the champagne is poppin’, and the ladies are shoppin’.

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The Junior League of Monroe’s latest Spring Market is happening this weekend, and of course the shopping possibilities are endless. With clothing boutiques and various other goods coming from all over Louisiana and other states, this is your one-stop shop. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Monroe Civic Center will be brimming with fresh spring apparel, but throughout the weekend, the Junior League hosts special events to make this sweet deal even sweeter.

  1. Shop ‘til You Drop!

This event is a fun, champagne brunch catered by The Coffee Bean in Monroe, with entertainment by Rod Allen Payne. Throughout this event, you can shop the market also. So grab your brunch buddies and make plans to be at the Civic Center on Friday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

  1. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

No statement is more true. Enjoy extended shopping hours at the Spring Market with door prizes and live entertainment by Mike McKenzie. Thurman’s Food Factory will cater, and you can also enjoy Market-Ritas throughout this event. This one takes place Friday, March 24 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

  1. Breakfast with Bunnies

Not sure if any other explanation is needed. On Saturday, March 25, from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., breakfast will be served! You can also get live bunny portraits made, and there will be story time as well as other activities for children. At $20 per family, this is a great event for your whole crew!

  1. 2017 Spring Market Raffle

Throughout the weekend, enter for a chance to win a $10,000 Sleepy Hollow HGTV Home Makeover. This fundraiser supports the Junior League of Monroe and their various activities in the community. Purchase a $20 ticket, and you just might win a magnificent home renovation!

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Along with the incredible shopping experience and the fun events, all proceeds from this event go to the Junior League of Monroe. Their mission is to continue to better our community, so every penny you spend at the Spring Market goes right back into our beloved city.

And that is a pretty good reason to shop ‘til you drop.

 

spring market

Coca-Cola Week at Biedenharn Museum and Gardens

A whole week dedicated to America’s favorite beverage? We’re in.

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An accurate representation of all the Coca-Cola we’ll be drinking to celebrate.

The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens will be celebrating its inaugural Coca-Cola Week Sept. 6-10. There will be a variety of events and fun activities including a look at the museum’s Coca-Cola collections, a display of Coke vehicles and a dinner featuring a Coca-cola based menu. Check the schedule below, and remember to mark these dates on your calendar!

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The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Musuem is your exclusive Coca-Cola Week headquarters.

Tuesday, Sept.6th

The week kicks off at 7pm with author Larry Jorgenson. Jorgenson will be discussing his upcoming book about various Coke museums and public collections of the iconic brand in the Education Building located behind the Coke Museum. This program is free and open to the public.

Jorgenson is a self-described “news dog”, who started working for a newspaper when he was only 13. He conquered the world of publication, radio, and TV news and now focuses much of his time on history. He recently completed a book on the history of Hot Wells, Louisiana.

Jorgenson’s upcoming book, The Coca-Cola Trail, is about the influential people and places that make up the history of Coca-Cola. People like Joseph A. Biedenharn, who in 1894, made a world changing decision and became the first to ever bottle Coca-Cola.

The book details the stories of the early independent bottlers throughout the nation, who had the vision and invested their efforts and money to create what is now the world’s best known product. With over thirty chapters, the book takes readers on the Coca-Cola Trail adventure. Accented by historic photos and interviews, the book pays tribute to those who really made history happen!

Now 122 years later, Coke is not only the number one soft drink in the world, but it is also an iconic image that represents family, fun, and home.

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Soda Jerk at Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum who is surprisingly sweet.

Thursday, Sept. 8th

At 6pm, Chef Pat Nolan will wow guests with delicious food prepared with Coca-Cola or other Coke brand product. A beautiful four course meal will begin before sundown. Guests can enjoy a flavorful menu of deep fried Coke and crawfish fritter, green salad with Sprite vinaigrette, Coca-Cola beef short ribs, garlic Cola chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, and Coca-Cola tres leche cake. Before each course, Museum Director Ralph Calhoun will present a taste of Coke history and trivia. Guests will be seated at tables of six to encourage conversation and fun. Music will be provided by the NELA Clarinet Choir directed by Scot Humes.

Reservations are required for this amazing event. The dinner is $35 per person and seats can be purchased by calling the Museum Gift Shop at 318-387-5281 or stopping by.

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Vintage Coke Delivery Truck at The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum which is the perfect vehicle to drive around showing off all the Coca-Cola you just bought for Coke Week.

Saturday, Sept. 10th

The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens will not only offer visitors FREE ADMISSION but also excite them with Diet Coke and Mentos Blasts, at 11am and 1pm. Visitors will also be able to view and interact with classic Coca-Cola trucks, including a Model A Ford, a Model T from 1917, a Coca-Cola Panel Truck, and a 1946 Chevy Flat Bed delivery truck. Several Soda Jerks will be available to illuminate patrons on the 100th Anniversary of the iconic Coca-Cola contour bottle.

The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens is open Tues. thru Sat. from 10am to 5pm. Free parking is available on three sides of the museum. The main parking area is located on Speed Avenue near the main entrance to the Coke Museum. Tour information, maps and tickets are available at the Museum Store located inside the Coke Museum. An unloading zone for buses is also located on Speed Avenue directly adjacent to the Coke Museum. Adults $6 Students $4 (Under 12 years old) Annual Pass $20 (a great bargain) Tickets may be purchased in the Museum Store, located in the Coke Museum building at 2000 Riverside Drive (the corner of Riverside Drive and Speed Avenue).

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Executive Director, Ralph Calhoun, please call Mr. Calhoun at 318-387-5281 or e-mail at director@bmuseum.org.

6 reasons to escape to Monroe-West Monroe with your family in September

  1. ULM Football
    ULM football field
    ULM Football Field

    Start your 2016 Football season soaring while watching the ULM Warhawks fight their way to a season of victory starting with a home game at ULM’s Malone Stadium against the Southern Jaguars to kick off the season on September 3rd.

  2. Prep for Hunting Season
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Hunting bows

What better place to get ready for hunting season than in the heart of Sportsman’s Paradise!  Get your gear here at great local stores like TP Outdoors and The Honey Hole, or even from classic retailers such as Academy Sports & Outdoors or Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Looking for a way to get the kids involved? Come visit northeast Louisiana the weekend of September 17th for a Hunting & Fishing Day in Tensas Parish where the whole family can practice skeet and archery shooting as well as get their hands dirty with some live critters!

  1. Making New Family Memories
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Go-Karts at Excalibur

Break the back to school blues and take some time out to reconnect with your kids with a quick weekend away. Make new memories with your kiddos here by strolling through the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo and Splash Pad, doing some Go-Kart laps at Excalibur Family Fun Center, and of course, taking a photo op with a stop by the Duck Commander Warehouse!

  1. Trying Something New…Like Kayaking on a Bayou!
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Kayaking on Black Bayou

Not everywhere has bayous, and definitely not everywhere has ones where you can rent kayaks and canoes to go exploring! Make some new, adventurous memories as the temperatures begin to slowly fall while you experience a beautiful fall sunrise or sunset along Black Bayou.

  1. Escape from the world

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    Southern Escape

Well…sort of. Take one of the Southern Escape challenge courses with your friends or family as a time to get away from it all….literally. How, you may ask? Through hour courses, you are locked in a room and must creatively work together to find your way out. The catch? NO PHONES ALLOWED. But don’t we all need a mini vacation from our phones sometimes?

  1. Shopping…lots and lots of shopping.
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Shopping on Antique Alley

It’s true that Monroe is home to the second largest mall in Louisiana (Pecanland Mall), but there are plenty more places to shop as well! With hundreds of stores both locally owned and chain retailers, there is no shortage of shopping here! What better places to get your home ready for the fall season then at Walsworth and Company, Woodstock Furniture Revival, or at the regionally known and loved Paul Michael Company.

Need any more reasons? We doubt it. But if you do, find out what amazing things you can shop for, eat, and discover while in Monroe-West Monroe along with a full calendar of events.

Downtown Gallery Crawl is Hot!

August is hot, hot, hot—and so is the art in downtown Monroe and West Monroe!

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Sunrise by Burg Ransom, featured at Sugar Gallery

As always on the first Thursday of every even-numbered month, people of all ages will visit with happy neighbors while reveling in live music, good food, and fine art. From 5 to 9 pm on August 4, all eight galleries (two in West Monroe and six in Monroe) will be open and displaying great art. Many of the artists will give artist talks, explaining the inspiration and technique underlying their creations.

The event is always free–the only expense is incurred if you decide to buy some original art.  A special treat at this Crawl is a limited-edition poster, based on a large collage by local artist Emily Caldwell and designed by Downtown Arts Alliance President Kelsea McCrary, which will be available at several galleries.

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The Musician by Mary May, featured at River Gallery

On the West Monroe (Antique Alley) side of the river, the River Gallery features West Monroe artist Mary May. She recently won first place for her painting “Pure September” at the 2016 Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston. Subject matter includes portraits and musical instruments, along with urban landscapes and family pets. May studied under Nicola Vigini, along with many other artists in Texas and Louisiana, as she has been a professional artist for the last 20 years. The River Gallery, Louisiana’s oldest and largest art co-op, includes up to thirty artists of all kinds; guests are welcomed with good food and live music.

Rick Sikes, curator of the Big Room Gallery on Art Alley in Monroe, presents well-known potter Gary Ratcliff, retired ULM art professor, as the lead exhibitor, demonstrating his pottery techniques as well as finished work. He will give an artist talk at 7 pm.  Other artists showing at the Big Room will be Emily Caldwell, Callie White, Alyssa Guidry Posey, Amy Ouchley, and Stephanie Jordan. Of course, good food and drink is always available at the Big Room.

ARENDER studio + gallery is proud to present Chad Schoonmaker, a Baton Rouge-based artist specializing in acrylic on canvas. This bright body of work is occasionally sealed with resin and varies in size with an option for every art buyer’s space. Chad’s inspirations are his wife Allison and son Sam. Chad says, “Some call art their ‘escape,’ but for me it’s more like home—my studio is where I feel most like myself.” His pieces give the viewers a chance to install a window into their own emotional landscape and experience. He will give an artist talk at 7:30 pm.

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Vickie by Nicole Duet, featured at Garret House

The Garrett House, next to the river on South Grand, is open again, newly renovated for the August Crawl, with Nicole Duet as the guest artist. Duet is an assistant professor of drawing and painting as well as the director of the gallery at Louisiana Tech’s School of Design. Curator Brooke Foy announces that Duet will give an artist talk at 6:30 pm.

On DeSiard Street, the Palace Gallery is hosting a North Louisiana native who has been a working artist since she could hold a crayon. Emily Ezell embraces both oil paint and chalk pastels to indulge her love for vibrant color and dynamic mark making. Ezell received her BFA in studio art from Louisiana Tech in 2008, and she will continue her education this fall when she moves to New York City to attend the New York Academy of Art’s MFA program.

Lazy Days of Summer” is the theme for the artists at Sugar Gallery on Art Alley. From Burg Ransom’s gorgeous sunsets to Melanie Douthit’s coastal-inspired creations, everyone can relate as summer winds down. Leah Reitzell’s textured Louisiana-themed paintings and Mary Thompson’s rural-inspired and travel-themed work always draw great interest. Scott Stone will be on the landing with his guitars adorned with seashells and stones he collected on the coast. Stacy Medaries will be back in the “red room,” so no one should miss out on the visual treat known as SUGAR!

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Farmer in Hat Market by Jonathan Clayton, featured at Rumo’s Gallery

Rumo’s Gallery, on Antique Alley in West Monroe, is hosting Jonathan Clayton, a photography student at Louisiana Tech. He spent time teaching English in China, and his National Geographic-style photos document his time there, with both black and white and color photography. The curator is Austin Bantel; owners of the gallery are Russell and Morgan Moore. Music, food and drink are always a part of the evening at this great place.

Finally, back on Art Alley, Upstairs is pleased to exhibit a mixed bag of work in August.  Artists include Angela Genusa, exhibiting her collages incorporating vintage materials in witty and uniquely creative pieces, and Jana Giles, showing “Sublime,” a collection of intriguing photography from exotic places and well as close to home. The show also includes Kay McDonald and Anna Rowan’s collaborative sculptures, made from found objects. Upstairs is co-curated by Anna Rowan and Emily Caldwell.

The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, October 6, 2016.

10 Can’t Miss Summer Events in Monroe-West Monroe

By Janna J.

  1. Louisiana Music and Food Festival

May 21-Start summer 2016 off the Cajun way at the Louisiana Music and Food Festival. Come with an empty stomach and a full wallet to enjoy a Louisiana Saturday full of great shopping, amazing live music, and famous Cajun cuisine. Different genres of music will be performed throughout the day and night on both the RiverMarket and Bry Park stages. One moment you may be dancing the Cajun two-step and the next swaying along to the sounds of classic R&B, but no matter what type of music you prefer there will be something for everyone to enjoy at the Louisiana Music and Food Festival.

  1. Brewfest

June4-The 2nd annual Brewfest may be one of the most anticipated events of the summer. Last year’s event was wildly successful selling out before the event date. This year Brewfest is promised to be better than ever with over 150 beers from Choice Brands, Marsala Beverage, the Fort Miro Brewmasters, Glazer’s Distributors, International Wine & Spirits, Ouachita Brewing Co., Flying Tiger Brewery, and Cotton Port Brewing for tasting. There will also be music, food, and entertainment to make for a memorable night.This looks to be a sellout, so get your tickets soon!

  1. Downtown Cinema
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Downtown Cinema

May 28-Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a movie under the stars at the Downtown Cinema. This event is a perfect idea for a family outing, romantic date for two, or a night out with friends. You don’t even have to worry about the snacks; the Downtown Cinema has you covered with free popcorn and water.  Movies will be playing throughout the summer, usually on the last Saturday of the month, so take a break from the stuffy theaters and enjoy your next flick in Downtown Monroe.

  1. Living Fountain at the Biedenharn
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Living Fountain at the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

June 17 & 18-Watch nature come to life before your eyes as the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens presents the Living Fountain. This unique show will be back at the Biedenharn for the first time in 5 years. Witness the magic of a fountain coming to life before your eyes, with the use of music, lighting, live interaction, and water,

  1. Downtown Summer Art Festival

June 18-Celebrate the arts in the streets of Downtown West Monroe with the Downtown Summer Art Festival. Artist booths, live bands, food, and performers will be set up between Antique Alley and the river for the festival. Local artists will have their art on display and ready for purchase. Come see all things art at the Downtown Summer Art Festival.

  1. Miss Louisiana Pageant
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Miss Louisiana Pageant

June 23-25- Watch as young women from across the state compete for the title of Miss Louisiana 2016. This Pageant will be broadcast throughout the state, but there is nothing like seeing the competition first hand at the Monroe Civic Center. This event is a perfect outing for a girl’s night or a mommy-daughter date. Watching these outstanding young women inspire both young and old to never stop reaching for their dreams.

  1. Downtown River Jam

July 2-Downtown River Jam is back with the award winning Matthew Davidson Band live on the Skent-N-Dent stage. Various food trucks and a full bar will be on site.

  1. CenturyLink Star Spangled Spectacular Firework Show
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4th of July Fireworks by Jeremy Thornhill

July 2-No 4th of July celebration would be complete without fireworks and why settle for sparklers and pop rocks when you could be mesmerized by the Star Spangled Spectacular? The best spots in the Monroe-West Monroe area to catch the show will be the Downtown RiverMarket on the Monroe side or the across the river on the levee on the West Monroe Side. No matter where you are celebrating your Independence Day, make sure it’s a spot with a great view of the CenturyLink Star Spangled Spectacular.

  1. Zoobilation

August 6- Hip Hippo Hurray, it’s finally Zoobilation day! Join the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo as they host Zoobilation 2016: Hip Hippo Hooray. This family fun day will start off with a Zoo Run 5k walk/run/fun run through the zoo and Bernstein Park. After the Zoo Run, be prepared for a fun day filled with animals, education, boat rides, arts, and music. Don’t forget about the ZOOasis Splash Pad to cool off from the summer heat.

  1. Red Grape Stomp Fest
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I Love Lucy Look-a-likes at Landry Vineyards

August 27- Landry Vineyards‘ Outdoor Concerts are known for their wine, food, music, and fun but if you only choose to only attend one this summer make sure it’s Red Grape Stomp Fest. This unique event is unlike any other in the area. Guests are encouraged to come dressed straight out of the 1956 I Love Lucy episode “Lucy’s Italian Movie”, and prizes will be awarded to the best Lucy impersonator. You will even have a chance to stomp grapes just like Lucile. Music for the evening will include a mix of Classic Rock and R&B music that will have you, family & friends dancing all night. Make sure you pack your lawn chair, blanket and picnic dinner and enjoy the outdoor show.

With these events, summer 2016 is sure to be one for the books. So turn off the Netflix, get off the couch, and enjoy a day in beautiful Monroe-West Monroe. Find information on these events and many more happenings in Monroe-West Monroe on our Calendar of Events.

 

5 Reasons to check out Geeks Along the River

by Lindsey W.

Geeks Along the River at the Monroe RiverMarket is the Saturday in Monroe. Below is a list of 5 things you can’t miss.12717555_980816378659880_6904244874018903717_n

  1. Show off your costume design skills at the Cosplay contest. How well can you represent and embody your favorite characters?
  2. Do you have a four-legged friend that you want to join in the festivities? Geeks Along the River is also hosting a dog cosplay contest for your furry friends. Just bring a donation for the River Cities Humane Society for Cats.
  3. Local rock bands Ensilenced and All But Brave will perform that afternoon!
  4. Come show off your gaming skills at the Magic: the Gathering and Super Smash Brothers tournament! There is a $15 entry fee. You can pre-register HERE.
  5. Vendors will be set up for geeks and non-geeks alike to shop around. Come see what all the river market has to offer!

The market opens at 10 am and contests begin at noon. Game tournaments will begin at 11 am. For more information, check out their event page HERE.

 

 

5 Reasons you can’t miss the Louisiana Crawfish & Gator Festival

By Lindsey W.

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Crawfish & Gator Festival

The 2nd Annual Louisiana Crawfish and Gator Festival returns to the Ike Hamilton Exposition Center in West Monroe this weekend from May 4 – 8, 2016. And here are 5 reasons why you can’t miss this festival:

  1. Kachunga and the Alligator Show! You’ll be on the edge of your seat with this action packed Man vs. Alligator show. They will perform three shows every day of the festival.
  2. Music and dancing! The festival will feature John Anderson and Jo El Sonnier, as well as many local country bands and singers including Mustang Sally, Mike McKenzie, and Dave Gore to name a few. Click HERE for the full line-up.
  3. Fun for the kids with Rock-It the Robot and the petting zoo! Rock-It features lights and music with life-like facial expressions and movements. The petting zoo will feature rabbits, goats, kangaroos, and pony rides.
  4. Fireworks! The Crawfish & Gator Fest will go out with a BANG with a fireworks show to wrap up the week’s events.
  5. Crawfish! It’s Louisiana. What other reason do you need?

Admission is $10 for Adults and $3 for Children 12 and under. Special admission price on Wednesday is $1. Rides are $1.50 each and armbands for rides are offered Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Bring the whole family! There is something for everyone at the festival.

Schedule:

Wednesday: Open 4 pm to close
Thursday: Open 2 pm to close
Friday: Open  4 pm to close
Saturday: Open 10 am
Sunday: Open 11 am

For more information, click HERE to check out their website.