A&P awards $18,500 to gospel music event, Christmas parade

The Forrest City Advertising and Promotion Commission approved more than $18,000 worth of funding, during a regularly scheduled meeting this morning. The funds will be used to support an annual gospel music festival and the local Christmas parade.

A request was made to the commission by Miles Kimble on behalf of A Night of Singing in the Delta, a  gospel music event held annually at the Forrest City Civic Center. According to the request given to commissioners, Kimble requested $15,500 to cover the cost of the event, including television, radio and print advertising.

This morning, Kimble presented A and P commissioners with a photo album of events from previous years, showing what he said was a great success as a result of A and P funding. He said the event has brought in 800 to 1,000 people each year, many of whom have come from out of town.

"This has been a grand success over the years, due to the help of the A and P Commission," said Kimble. "The last several years, you all have been very instrumental in making it as great as it has been. We've reached capacity every year. Well over 600 people are coming from out of town… With A and P funds, we've been able to bring in Stellar Award-winning artists. And that's what people really like."

According to Kimble's request, there were funds left over from last year's event, which were used to reduce the amount requested this year. His request also indicated that some funds would be reimbursed if possible.

The A and P commission awarded $13,200 for the event last year.

Commissioner Larry Freeman made the motion to accept Kimble's request and award him the full amount. The motion carried unanimously. The event will be held in March of next year.

"I recommend we continue supporting this worthwhile project," said Freeman. "I've attended, and it's a sellout with large crowds. It brings in a positive revenue."

Also during the Tuesday morning meeting, A and P secretary Sheila Lieblong, on behalf of the Forrest City Area Chamber of Commerce, requested $3,000 of A and P funds to be used towards the Forrest City Christmas Parade.

According to the Chamber's request, the parade estimates to have approximately 3,000 spectators when it is held on Dec. 1. Lieblong told commissioners that the funds would be used to purchase advertising, plaques, banners, signs, as well as paying for judges, parade officials and portable toilets.

According to Lieblong, last year's parade included 97 entries and 12 floats.

Commissioner Dywarn Dawson made the motion to accept the request and fund the event in full. The motion carried unanimously.

A request to reimburse members of the A and P commission for purchasing breakfast for members of the Arkansas Welcome Center was withdrawn when commissioner Louise Fields suggested no payments should be made "after the fact."

Also during the morning meeting, Fields made a recommendation to fellow members on a replacement for the commission's seventh seat, which has long been vacant. Fields made the motion that Rodney Franklin, manager of Waffle House, be presented to the Forrest City City Council for approval. The motion carried unanimously.