Main Street El Dorado is outlining its agenda for the year, and the next 10 months will be jam-packed with events and activities that are designed to draw people downtown, including a growing trend that will be hosted in Arkansas for the first time.
Airstreams on Main Street will be camping out in Downtown El Dorado on Sept. 20 - 23 as part of the Urban Air: Wake Up … Downtown! campaign.
Airstream clubs are staging Main Street/urban camping events across the country to promote the Airstream lifestyle and to help stimulate economic development and vitality in small-town America.
With the slogan “Camping with a Cause,” airstreamers also use the Main Street events to give back to the community and to encourage social interaction among local residents and other air streamers.
In continuing efforts to bring unique and innovative ideas to El Dorado, Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado, said the organization leapt at the chance for El Dorado to be the first town in Arkansas to host an Urban Air event.
Brumley said the Arkansas Razorback Airstream Club approached MSE shortly before Christmas with interest in coming to El Dorado.
“A couple of their members have been to one in Michigan, and they enjoyed it and thought they’d try it for Arkansas,” she said.
Brumley said the club was eyeing cities across the state, and she sold them on El Dorado.
“They came down and met with me, and we felt it out, and I told them that El Dorado would love something like that,” she said.
The Razorback group returned later, and Brumley gathered community and civic leaders representing the Downtown Business Association, El Dorado Union-County Chamber of Commerce, Murphy Arts District, the city of El Dorado and Union County.
MSE board president Bruce Butterfield also participated in the meeting, noting that everyone jumped onboard and offered to support the event.
Brumley said Razorback air streamers are expected to arrive on the afternoon of Sept. 20 and park around the Union County County Courthouse.
She and Butterfield said MSE has a few ideas for overflow parking.
“They’ve come in and measured, and they can park 15 around the courthouse,” Butterfield said.
“We told them to bring however many you can get, 25, 30. They can park on Cedar Street, and other streets downtown that we’ve looked at,” he continued. “They’ll park on Main Street and spend three days in our downtown spending money.”
Butterfield said the Razorback group will also invite airstreamers from Louisiana.
He said MSE is planning complimentary activities for the four-day period, including live music on Sept. 20 and possibly a chili or spaghetti supper for Sept. 21.
MSE is also partnering with MAD and the DBA, Butterfield said, noting that MAD has committed to planning activities on Sept. 22 and the DBA is looking into options for special promotions and a meet-and-greet, in which attendees will be able to tour campers.
The Union County Fair is also slated for the same week, Brumley noted.
She said the Razorback club is considering hosting a canned food drive, in which attendees will be asked to bring canned goods that will be donated to local food pantries.
“They’re invested in putting it back into the community,” she said.
There have also been discussions on using $2 bills to track spending in downtown shops and restaurant while airstreamers are in town.
“You want to be different and give people a reason to come here because we have something they can’t see it somewhere else, with the idea being that if they come once and have a good time, they’ll come back,” Butterfield said.
MSE board members also reported that tickets are selling briskly for The Shoji Tabuchi Show: American Dream Tour, which will be held in the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium on March 11.
The show starts at 2 p.m., and doors open at 1 p.m.
Tabuchi is a country music fiddler who has built a loyal fan base with a family-oriented variety show at his eponymous theater in Branson, Missouri.
The act includes not only country music, but also several other musical styles — rock, gospel, rap, Cajun and others — and choreography.
Tickets are reserved seating only. Prices are $40 for orchestra (first 10 rows) and $30 for parquet (remaining house seats).
Brumley said balcony seating will be offered should the need arise.
“We’re still trying to see if we’ll need to open up the balcony,” Brumley said Tuesday.
Another new event Main Street will launching this year is a weekly social media program called, “This Week in Downtown.”
Brumley said the program will highlight the goings-on in downtown, an event, a business or a new merchant/resident, downtown living spaces, etc.
Planning is also ongoing for the 2018 Showdown at Sunset/Murphy USA Summer Concert Series on June 23, July 28 and Aug. 25, MusicFest XXXI, which is tentatively set for mid-October, and downtown holiday activities.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the Tabuchi show, call the MSE office at 870-862-4747 or www.mainstreeteldorado.org.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.