ART Around Town: Dancing Under the Stars & Christmas at the Dixie

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This Friday night, December 14, there are two opportunities to celebrate this joyous season with your loved ones. You can choose the event that most appeals to you, but in case you can’t decide, you can do both!

From 6-10pm, the new Esma’s Alley space at 112 E Park Avenue will offer Dancing Under the Stars-- a free, fun event where you can dance with your sweetheart and enjoy the holiday lights of downtown Ruston.  Rick Godley will be there DJing throughout the night, and the always entertaining Bluesaholics will be playing live tunes.

From small-scale gestures to large-scale events, Esma’s Alley seeks to foster a more inclusive civic life through monthly events. The coordinators aim to offer our community a place of art, music, excitement and delight for all ages and to provide enjoyment for all citizens and visitors. Some of their previous events include Halloween Movie Madness in October, and Young Makers & Entrepreneurs Day in August. 

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On the same evening and up just a couple of blocks is the Russ-Town Band’s 25th annual Christmas at the Dixie Concert at 7:30. Admission is free, but the audience is encouraged to bring either a toy to help fill Santa’s sack or some non-perishable food items to donate to Christian Community Action. The band will play traditional Christmas music to wish everyone “A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.

 The Russ-Town Band was formed by Lawrence and Jan Gibbs and Charlie and Anne Gaushellin in 1994. At the time, there was a need for summer and holiday entertainment in the area andthe “community band” movement was making a great comeback nation-wide. Ruston was beginning to develop plans for new entertainment venues that still thrive today. Thus, the Russ-Town Band was born! In addition to this annual holiday concert, the band also performs annually during the Louisiana Peach Festival, and at other special events throughout the year.

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The goal of Russ-Town Band has always been to improve the local cultural atmosphere of Ruston. The band is strictly volunteer, and they charge no admission at their events. They allow donations to be made for the Dixie and other organizations. The Russ-Town Band hopes to continue for many years as a testament to the love of high-quality band music in North Central Louisiana. 

 I hear people comment on how happy they are to see the cultural growth happening in our town, and they warmly say “downtown Ruston looks like a Hallmark movie set this time of year.” My encouragement to each of you is to go out and take advantage of these things! Shop with the small business owners downtown, and attend the events that people are organizing for your entertainment. I know we all need downtime, and we have family budgets to consider, but this weekend especially is a great opportunity to enjoy some free activities that will mark this season as a special one in your memory.