CAPC workshop focuses on Christmas promotion

Friday, September 6, 2019

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission spent much of its workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 28, addressing how to prepare for the holidays.

Finance director Rick Bright said the commission needed to continue its discussion on how to promote Eureka Springs in November and December. Bright said the commission had decided on a banner but it ended up being the wrong size.

“It’ll be longer than what’s up there now,” Bright said. “The width is different than what we thought. We were given the wrong measurements.”

Commissioner Susan Harman said the banner should be 60 inches long.

“Those historic banners –– they’re only 40 inches and they’re short,” Harman said. “I don’t think we’ll want to do 84 inches. I think that’ll be too long because then we’ll have people grabbing them and smashing them.”

Bright said former director Mike Maloney spent just under $10,000 to get decorating for Basin Park, including shooting star lights. The Christmas banner can be placed downtown, Bright said, even though the Eureka Springs Preservation Society usually puts a banner there to promote the Annual Christmas Tour of Homes.

“They’re not going to put up the Christmas tour banner this year, so we can probably put it right by Spring Street,” Bright said. “That will be a good spot for it there.”

Bright said the commission is considering working with a business in Northwest Arkansas to place and maintain lights during the Christmas season. A group of downtown merchants recently met with the business, Bright said, to get quotes on how much it would cost to decorate downtown Eureka Springs. Bright said it should cost around $400 per store.

“That sounds like a pretty decent price,” said commissioner Terry McClung.

“They’re going to do all the shops,” Bright said. “They come out, install them all and maintain them when they’re up. Then they come and take them down.”

Bright said the company provided mock-ups showing how the lights would look throughout downtown.

“They want it all to look the same,” Bright said. “Instead of one store having a barrage of color lights and the next store having bright lights, they want it cohesive all the way up Spring Street.”

Parks director Justin Huss said the parks and recreation commission is also considering working with the company. The parks and recreation commission spent nearly $14,000 to put up Christmas lights last year, Huss said.

“If we see this is a reliable person who will stock lights and put up lights, our needs for 2020 will diminish a bit,” Huss said.

Streamlining the process, Huss said, could help the parks and recreation commission purchase one new standout holiday decoration each year.

“We can get to where we can buy something every year with that $20,000,” Huss said.

Sandy Martin said the company offers lighting all year round, with the lights changing for each holiday.

“He’s got a program where you can change them all year,” Martin said. “That’s something he’d maintain.”

McClung said he wasn’t sure shop owners would get behind that.

“If you’re talking about the individual store owners doing $400, I could see that,” McClung said. “If you get up where it’s going to be $1,000 with a maintenance contract, you’d probably lose them.”

Bright said the merchants are hoping to brighten up downtown this year, saying they have discussed lighting up the music park on Main Street.

“That’s so it’s cohesive all the way down Main,” Bright said, “so it’s not just black and the train station is lit up. They’re got a good group of people together.”

“Hillside can light up too,” McClung said, “if they’ll do it.”

Bright said the lights would start appearing in November. They need to be put up early in the season, Bright said, so Eureka Springs can get a spot on the Arkansas Trail of Lights. Bright described some of the events happening over the holidays at The Auditorium, including a ballet performance and the annual Home for the Holidays community performance.

Harman asked if the commission is putting together a calendar of events to distribute in the community, and Bright said events coordinator Tracy Johnson is working on it. Chairwoman Carol Wright said she’s concerned that she doesn’t see very many Eureka Springs events in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“I’m not seeing us in there much,” Wright said, “and we’ve got some great concerts coming up.”

Bright said CAPC publicist Gina Rambo sends out press releases to the media frequently and Wright said she thinks someone should speak with the Democrat-Gazette to be sure local events are featured in the paper.

“We spend money with them,” Wright said. “Some of the stuff in there isn’t nearly as cool as what we’re doing.”

Wright said she wants to see the CAPC get credit for events the commission pays for, like the Basin Park Music Series. The Basin Park Music Series is a great example of an event that many locals attend, Wright said.

“We never get credit for it. I try to go on and say, ‘The CAPC paid for this,’ “ Wright said. “That’s the one thing that bugs me. If we’re doing this for a lot of the locals, I would rather they temper some of the things they may not agree with or want to argue with us about by saying, ‘Do you know who’s paying for this?’ “

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at The Auditorium.

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