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Rayne Chamber finalizes plans for busy, final quarter of year

RAYNE - Board members of the Rayne Chamber of Commerce Plans discussed and finalized a number of events during the October monthly meeting, sure to keep the Chamber busy through the holiday season.
“With the cancellation of both the Mardi Gras Ball and Frog Festival due to COVID,” stated Chamber President Jeremy Lavergne, “I, along with the Board, see a number of smaller events planned to keep the Chamber operating until next year’s Frog Festival.”
With the cancellation of the two major fundraisers for the Chamber, Frog Festival and Mardi Gras Ball, the Board has been busy scheduling a number of smaller events for the upcoming months.
“The Chamber Board is really working well together as we come up with a number of ideas for projects and fundraisers that is not burdensome to the board, nor at a great expense to the public and our members,” stated Lavergne while hearing committee reports.
“I think this is really working well and will assist the Chamber to make ends meet until things calm down and get to some type of normalcy.”
Even though the Chamber’s annual Mardi Gras Ball has been cancelled due to COVID and the two hurricanes that hit this area, it is believed the Mardi Gras Parade and After Party may still be held. That will be decided by the Chamber as the date nears and what phase the state will in as it must adhere to restrictions as announced by Chairman Jamie Conques.
Chairman Marietta Sikat gave a report of the quarterly Rayne Marketplace held Saturday, Sept. 12, by the Chamber, co-sponsored by the City of Rayne. She stated a good crowd was in attendance with the Chamber making a small profit while providing the quarterly event.
Sikat, along with the Chamber’s Business Development Coordinator Jennifer Autin, the annual Holiday Market will again be held on Shop Small Saturday, Nov. 28, (Black Friday weekend), when Rayne businesses will take part in the second annual pre-Christmas special event. Market hours are between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Depot, in addition to regular shopping hours at local businesses.
Sikat noted the Chamber will handle all the food stations for the special event, while the vendor list is continuing to grow for what is sure to be another success for both the Chamber and local businesses.
Also in the works is the annual First Responder’s Breakfast during the month of November. Following discussion, it was decided that due to the COVID restrictions, this year’s event will follow a drop-off procedure as goodies will be delivered instead of a sit-down meal at a local establishment. Details will be announced once final plans are complete.
A Veteran’s Day observance and program is being planned by the Chamber who will be joined by the local Woodmen Chapter, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and City of Rayne. The program will be held at the Veterans Park, followed by light refreshments.
Lavergne gave a brief Frog Festival report, noting that the committee has worked on a grant for the new Folk Art attraction that will be housed on the Frog Festival grounds during the upcoming 2021 Frog Festival.
He also gave a report of the mandatory guidelines that is needed to be submitted by the Frog Festival to the State Fire Marshal’s office, complete with COVID guidelines and regulations that will be followed by visitors and workers.
An update was also given of the Virtual Political Forum co-hosted by the Chamber and City of Rayne planned Sunday, Oct. 18, between the hours of 6-8 p.m. for candidates running in the November election, including City Marshall Ward 1, District Attorney and judges. The candidates will be given the opportunity speak of their platforms and answer questions. The event will be available on a virtual platform that will be professionally live fed through Facebook by the City of Rayne and Rayne Chamber sites.
During Autin’s report of Chamber events, she noted the following:
• Chamber membership stands at 116 as of the date of the meeting with more to be added due to numerous business contacts and visits now being completed;
• A new website for the Chamber is being created with an update to be given as the website moves towards completion;
• Autin reported the Chamber Facebook page was up to 2,723 likes and members continuing to be added;
• Continuing the “Feature Business Fridays” Facebook feature, in addition to agriculture features during the month of October;
• Acadia Parish Tourist Commission meeting slated October 8;
• Due to the huge success of the Frog Kids Camp held during the summer, the Chamber will host a Halloween Kids Camp slated Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Chamber office;
• Tickets are continuing to be sold for the “Farm to Table” calf raffle offered by Ancelet Cattle Company. About half of the Chamber’s goal has already been met with Board members urged to continue with ticket sales. Tickets are also available at the Chamber office with the winner to be announced during the Holiday Market;
• In addition to other Chamber updates, Autin mentioned the featured artist of the month, P&A Creations was held with an interested crowd in attendance; and
• A report was given of the board room rentals for the coming month.
Under new business, Lavergne brought up the following:
• A “King Cake Pre-Sale” event is being held during the month of October with pickup dates of Oct. 26-28 to be held at the Chamber office;
• Nominations for business and volunteer organization of the quarter is needed for the upcoming Business After Hours; and
•The Board is working on some type of cook-off event to be held late November or early December for visitors to enter free of charge. Discussion was held of visitors able to purchase tickets for concessions and for a sampling plate of the cook-off. Details will be reported during the November meeting.
Announcement was made for the following events and meetings:
• Feature Business Fridays to highlight Thibodeaux Accounting, Digitech, The Bank, Hello Beautiful and Spray Tans by Allyson; and
• Reminder that bios are needed from all board members.
Board members in attendance were Jeremy Lavergne, Marietta Sikat, Crystal Underwood, Jamie Conques, Peggy King, Cynthia Oliver, Michele Veillon, along with Suzette Leonards and Mona Meche by phone.
The meeting was adjourned and a lunch was provided by President Jeremy Lavergne.

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